Search Out Files Across A Network With Google

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

In theory, going paperless is a great idea. In practice, however, the biggest obstacle, at least in my office, is not the work to convert documents into electronic files; it’s finding them afterward and retrieving them. We try to get everyone in the office to agree on a unified way to name files and place them in the correct folders, but often, when people are in a hurry, they file them incorrectly. We priced document-retrieving software as a way to solve that problem, but it was too costly. Any suggestions?

I mentioned that concern to one of my frequent correspondents, Jeff Lenning, president of Click Consulting in Seal Beach, Calif. He suggests using Google’s new desktop search engine, which is free. Although the original version of Google Desktop Search (GDS) can search only one computer, a recent enhancement gives it the ability to search a network’s shared drives. With the assistance of a third-party plug-in, GDS even can read and index Adobe ( .pdf ) files. In addition, by installing another Google plug-in, other computers in the office can even search your organization’s server computer. Now that is great news for those seeking quick searches across a network.

To run these services, first download GDS from http://desktop.google.com . It’s best to install it on your file server, although it can be installed on any Windows computer that has access to the network. Next, so GDS can read the Adobe format and index those files, install the plug-in OmniPage Search Indexer, also from the Google site. Finally, so all the computers on your network can access GDS through their Web browser, install the DNKA plug-in, also available at the Google site.

You’ll find other third-party plug-ins there, too. For example, if you want to be able to index Microsoft’s Access database files, load the AccessCrawler plug-in.

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