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Author Topic: Needing a utility to search multiple programs at once  (Read 4456 times)


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Needing a utility to search multiple programs at once
« on: October 20, 2017, 01:38 PM »
I'm looking for a search tool that would enable me to search every program I use at the same time, bringing up relevant results. Something like Google Cloud Search. The idea would be to have a single search bar, that would search such diverse programs as Todoist, Microsoft OneNote, Telegram Messenger, Google Drive, Gmail,  etc. all at approximately the same time, so no matter where I have put a vital bit of info, I could find it.

Since all the programs I have mentioned can run in a browser, perhaps a solution could be devised that would search multiple webpages at the same time. You could perhaps have each app open in its own tab. The ability to search desktop apps at the same time, such as Windows Explorer, would be great. There are already  programs a little similar to this such as Copernic and X1 Search, but they're not flexible enough for me.

I wonder if such a program might even have marketing potential, if it could be customized to where people could search any place they wished, since search is pretty much a fundamental part of the computer world nowadays.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 02:50 PM by screenshots »


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Re: Needing a utility to search multiple programs at once
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 04:04 PM »
I highly doubt you will EVER see something like this and it has to do with one thing -- the fact that most of the desktop programs you're going to want this for store their data in their own binary format database files.  In other words, unless said programs offer some sort of open query API, and hardly any of them do, you cannot get at the data.  If you cannot get at the data, you cannot search it.


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Re: Needing a utility to search multiple programs at once
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 04:19 PM »
Yeah, and until such a time in the future that there is established some kind of unified API for all such programs, you are asking for something that would be incredibly time consuming to write and maintain.


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Re: Needing a utility to search multiple programs at once
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 06:46 PM »
Windows Search is supposed to be this kind of universal API - it uses IFilter plug-ins to be able to index different types of content.  Several IFilters for common file types are installed by default, but applications are supposed to install their own in order to make their files universally searchable.  I don't know how often this happens.  I know that there are plug-ins for Office files and Adobe provides an IFilter for PDF.  Foxit even sells one for use on a server for $700! https://www.foxitsof...roducts/pdf-ifilter/

MS publishes APIs for using the Windows Search Service, so it's available to 3rd party apps. At least for Win7 and Vista - I'm pretty sure it's still there in Win10, but I don't follow that stuff too closely anymore, so it's possible that MS has removed it or moved on to some other fancy new API. I vaguely remember some 3rd party search utility (or maybe the search function of a 3rd party file manager) using the IFilter plug-ins to help with its searching (that might have been just a fancy way of saying it use the Windows Search Service to search).  But I can't remember what 3rd party program that was.

It's not the program I was thinking of (I pretty sure), but it turns out that PowerGrep takes advantage of IFilters:

I'm not sure how successful Windows Search is - I'm sure an awful lot of people use it (perhaps without really realizing it) since it powers the native Windows Search widget on the desktop, but there are also a lot of articles explaining how to disable it so it doesn't bog down your system.  I can say that I personally rarely use it.