Spotlight Developer’s Kit

Just dug around a bit and see that Apple will be providing a Developer’s Kit to extend Spotlight’s search engine to other applications.

But the search engine also works contextually within applications such as Apple’s Mail, Address Book and System Preferences—and Apple is giving developers at WWDC a software development kit to help them build Spotlight into their own applications.
eWeek, June 28th

I guess they’re going to reach out to their developer’s community to connect Spotlight to the internet. This should be interesting.

Current Events

SUV No Swimee


Meanwhile in Hawai’i – Pat Campanella gave his wife Mimi driving lessons and she overcompensated to avoid an oncoming car sending their Toyota Highlander through a neighbor’s fence, across the patio and into the 80-year old’s pool. The couple got out fine, a little shaken and wet but otherwise uninjured.

I can imagine the husband shouting as they flew across the yard, “The brake! The brake! No the the left pedal, LEFT!”


Wall Street Journal picks up scent

Front Page of yesterday’s Marketplace section has two stories, side-by-side, picking up on the meme of universal search with a graphic of two bloodhounds trying to get their way into a PC. One covers the announcement of the beta MSN search interface announced yesterday and the second looks at Apple’s Spotlight utility for desktop search. Both articles pose the theory that each of these companies are edging into the search space as a key differentiators. Microsoft’s approach is to create a better portal to the internet and Apple is working on getting an integrated desktop search out the door ahead of Microsoft’s Longhorn launch which promises better desktop searching.

If Microsoft is launching a better internet search engine to couple to their improved desktop search tools launching with Longhorn, and Apple is bundling better desktop search with Spotlight, the only thing missing is Apple integrated with an internet search engine. Apple’s Safari browser already integrates Google without the need of a separate toolbar – wonder what will happen to Sherlock which was Apple’s first attempt to embed internet searching into the desktop? Will Apple build its own, partner with a partner like Google, or reach out to the developer community to add on to Spotlight internet search integration?

Not exactly an admission, the article about Spotlight digs in to ask if either Google or Yahoo are looking at getting into the desktop search business themselves,

Google, which has become synonymous with finding information on the Internet, is working on its own tool for searching a PC, according to people who have talked with the company. A Google spokesman declined to comment on any product plans. Analysts say Yahoo may also get into desktop search. “If we think that’s something we need to do, we’ll look at it,” a Yahoo spokeswoman says.


MSN Search Preview

Microsoft announced a new, cleaner UI that clearly identifies paid advertisers and provides drop down access to predefined content sets such as News, Stock Quotes, Movies, and Shopping. This is part of a $100 million investment that Microsoft has made in this space which clearly underlines the importance Microsoft is placing on getting this experience right.



Just got back from a night out with some friends that took us to a pig roast in Bucks County, PA. The event was the first in a series of Summer parties put together by the “Guerrilla Grill” group and this one was to promote Dish Catering. Along with fine food was a setup of a beach in this farm field where they brought in sand, beach chairs, and towels and a movie setup where we could watch the film “Jaws” – the boys in the photo were relatives of some locals that were up visiting from Tennessee and took the time to get into costume.



Apple announced the next version of their OS, codenamed “Tiger” which has an improved local search feature called “Spotlight” with the marketing tagline of, “Find anything, anywhere. Fast” Although it is limited to an index of local files and does not extend searches to the internet, it promises an improved index of local files and their metadata that builds dynamically in the background so that it is constantly updated. Spotlight is being released with a documented API so one can assume that Apple will leverage its developer community. It’s only a matter of time before someone publishes extensions to open web search engines.


The Google Supercomputer

One node in the discussion of the internet as a new platform is the meme of Google specifically as this platform. The notion gained legs with announcements of Orkut, the social software site affiliated with Google and later touched a nerve with the announcement of Gmail, Google’s online email service. This discussion was kicked off in April 2004 by Rich Skrenta, CEO of in a well cited post, The Secret Source of Google’s Power in a post whose comments section is now outgrown the original post
. . . expanded by Jason Kottke in his post, GooOS, the Google Operating System
. . . referenced by Jon Udell in his Strategic Developer column,
. . . and summed up by Tim O’Reilly

Gmail is fascinating to me as a watershed event in the evolution of the internet. In a brilliant Copernican stroke, gmail turns everything on its head, rejecting the personal computer as the center of the computing universe, instead recognizing that applications revolve around the network as the planets revolve around the Sun. But Google and gmail go even further, showing that once internet apps truly get to scale, they’ll make the network itself disappear into the universal virtual computer, the internet as operating system.

Jon Udell later extends his musings in a later column,

The gigabyte slice of the Google file system available to Gmail beta testers will, in many cases, surpass the testers’ own corporate disk quotas for email.

Put that way, one can begin to see a world where the Google index is the broader file systems that points to “things out there” where our email, web pages, and social networks are all inputs into that file system. Jon goes on to explain this world where Google owned the operating system and what such a unified file system that continually indexes everything on your local PC could do:

Bayesian categorization: My SpamBayes-enhanced e-mail program learns continuously about what I do and don’t find interesting, and helps me organize messages accordingly. A systemwide agent that’s always building categorized views of all your content would be a great way to burn idle CPU cycles.

Context reassembly: When writing a report, you’re likely to refer to a spreadsheet, visit some Web pages, and engage in an IM chat. Using its indexed and searchable event stream, the system would restore this context when you later read or edited the document. Think browser history on steroids.

Screen pops: When you receive an e-mail, IM, or phone call, the history of your interaction with that person would pop up on your screen. The message itself could be used to automatically refine the query.

I guess I’m ok with this, so long as it’s not trying to sell me ads based on its findings!




The quote below is from a note sent to my father who, after living over 25 years in Japan, is amazed at the overt confidence of the advertising he sees on video tapes I send him from America. If you think corporate American advertising is overt, you should see New Jersey! The difference between the East Coast and West Coast is dramatic but at least you know what you’re dealing with here. “Have a nice day!” on the East Coast may be rare but at least they mean it. On the West Coast it could be code for, “Get lost!” On the flip side, people here are always trying to dig at you just to let you know they’re paying attention. Wear the wrong shirt to work and you’ll hear about it for weeks. I still haven’t worked up the nerve to bring out the Oxford given to me by Izumi with the embroidered Mickey Mouse silhouette since the last time – good grief!

Yes, American culture is certainly more confident, even more so in NJ where I have learned the expression “bustin’ your chops” which means what someone just said to you may have been a total dig, really inexcusable, and perhaps even offensive but they said it anyway as a sign of affection and endearment.

I just finished watching the third season of The Sopranos and the tension between truth, dare, and humor keeps that show humming along a dramatic thin line where you never know when someone’s going to take it too far and all hell breaks loose. Takes issues like I’ve discussed above to the Nth level and then shines a spotlight on them to see what melts. Great television.


Google Search Appliance 2.0

First launched in 2002, the Google Search Appliance is a rack-mounted unit designed to crawl and index intranet pages for enterprise search. Combined with OS-level integration points such as the Google Deskbar, the appliance is the bridge between an index of your PC hard drive and the internet. While Google has not yet announced an integration into the PC level index space, several third party vendors have announced the ability to add adaptive crawl technologies integrated with Microsoft Windows and Office. Most notable is Lookout which even looks like a Google knock-off.

The GB-1001 is a rack-mounted two-unit (2U) appliance that can be licensed to search up to 1.5 million documents at a rate of 300 queries per minute.

Our entry level license indexes up to 150,000 documents and costs $32,000 for a two-year license with hardware, software and technical support all included. Pricing scales upwards based on the number of documents.

A list of published customers.


URL is the new command line

Flash forward to where we in this debate today. John Gruber points out in his post The Location Field Is the New Command Line, that web-based applications are leapfrogging hardware-specific applications, despite their inferiority.

What they’ve got going for them in the ease-of-use department is that they don’t need to be installed, and they free you from worrying about where and how your data is stored. Exhibit A: web-based email apps. In terms of features, especially comfort features such as a polished UI, drag-and-drop, and a rich set of keyboard shortcuts, web-based email clients just can’t compare to desktop email clients.


With web-based email, you can get your email from any browser on any computer on the Internet. “Installation” consists of typing a URL into the browser’s location field. The location field is the new command line.
from Daring Fireball

He concludes that Microsoft missed the boat by targeting Netscape. It’s not the company that was a threat, not even the browser, it was the applications that were enabled by the URL concept that is a threat to the Windows monopoly.