Saturday, June 19, 2004

Useful indexing

Jon Udell writes about the possibilities of full scale indexing of the desktop computer.

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.

He is speculating on the possibilities if Google crawled and indexed all the data on our machines. Ignoring the privacy issues for a moment, having an indexed db of all the data that has come and gone in our machine would be very useful. When preparing the Digest, I regularly think back to conversations on icq, or some email I saw, that I wish I could find. Essentially a drill down google search on data that I have already seen and read.

The Dashboard ideas that have been floating around for a while are an attempt at this. The difficulty with indexing large amounts of data is being able to ignore the fluff, and pick out the important bits to highlight. I do that by hand when reading through the kde-cvs list emails.

The unified environment of KDE presents an opportunity to do this right. Each application could have hooks to an optional indexing library. And some way of presenting the found data that is unobtrusive but useful.

Of course, it comes back to the machine intelligence.

Informative blog. Check out my kde blog.
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