“‘We all have a million file folders and you can’t find anything,’ [Apple CEO Steve] Jobs said during his keynote speech introducing Tiger, the next iteration of Mac OS X, due next year. ‘It’s easier to find something from among a billion Web pages with Google than it is to find something on your hard disk,’ he added,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired.
“The solution, Jobs said, is a system-wide search engine, Spotlight, which can find information across files and applications, whether it be an e-mail message or a copyright notice attached to a movie clip. ‘We think it’s going to revolutionize the way you use your system,’ Jobs declared. In Jobs’ scheme, the hierarchy of files and folders is a dreary, outdated metaphor inspired by office filing,” Kahney reports. “In today’s communications era, categorized by the daily barrage of new e-mails, websites, pictures and movies, who wants to file when you can simply search? What does it matter where a file is stored, as long as you can find it?”
“Take for example, Rael Dornfest, who has stopped sorting his e-mail. Instead of cataloging e-mail messages into neat mailboxes, Dornfest allows his correspondence to accumulate into one giant, unsorted inbox. Whenever Dornfest, an editor at tech publisher O’Reilly and Associates, needs to find something, he simply searches for it,” Kahney reports. “Apple is applying the same reasoning not just to e-mail, but to all the files stored on a hard drive.”
Kahney reports, “Ken Bereskin, Apple’s director of Mac OS X product marketing, said Spotlight has been a couple of years in development — before Panther — and incorporates several complex system technologies. Bereskin said the system was inspired by the speedy search engine in iTunes, which instantly returns results as soon as the user starts typing: whether the match is in the song’s title, album, genre or artist fields. ‘We noticed that people just search all the time,’ he said. ‘We asked if that could be applied to everything: contacts, calendar, e-mail and the contents of your hard drive.'”
Full article here.
More information about Apple’s forthcoming “Spotlight,” a new system-wide metadata search engine coming in Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” can be found here.