Mac wish: I want Spotlight to search ALL my stuff, everywhere

The internet is my computer. Really.

From my perspective, from how I work with and store information, I’m coming to rely on web-based services at least as much as I rely on software and storage in my little iBook laptop. My content, literally, is all over the place.

I adore the powerful Spotlight desktop search feature of my Mac’s OS X Tiger operating system. It’s so easy for me to find anything stored on my laptop.

The trouble is, a lot of my content (most of it, actually) isn’t stored on my computer, so spotlight doesn’t index it and can’t search for it. For instance…

I use Google’s Gmail as my primary mail program. I keep track of cool or relevant stuff I find online via Furl and I create this weblog in WordPress, which lives on my web host’s server. For The Right Conversation, I, Reporter, and other blogs I use the hosted service Typepad. I maintain several private project-related wikis on Seedwiki. I’ve been dabbling with CoComment, Flickr, MySpace, and Google Calendar. And I participate in several web-based forums, too.

Alas, my Spotlight doesn’t shine on any of that.

I would really love it if, as Apple creates the next generation of OS X (Leopard), they would build in the ability to connect Spotlight to my account on any online service I’d like to index.

Right now there are some hacked-together patchwork solutions, like delimport (which I couldn’t get to install, unfortunately). Now, I’m all for creative independently-produced tools, but for something as basic as being able to search all of my data and content, I’d prefer that to be handled from one place. And I don’t want to install a separate tool or extension for each service.

I’d think Spotlight should be able to do that. Does anyone know if Apple is working on that?

3 thoughts on Mac wish: I want Spotlight to search ALL my stuff, everywhere

  1. Thanks for the tip on delimport. I was able to get it to work. What’s confusing is that double clicking doesn’t visually do anything – not even an icon bob – but my bookmarks now show up in spotlight searches. Perhaps it was working and you didn’t realize it?

    Without a specific plugin to mount a website as a local drive, spotlight won’t be able to do what you are asking. Also, spotlight wouldn’t serve results for that website if it was no longer mounted as a local drive. What we would need in this case is for a way to tell Spotlight to index a specific website and save links to the files, much the same way delimport adds your bookmarks to your index. It’s really a great idea. I hope Apple implements it.

    I did find searchlight, which allows you to search for and access your files off your home computer from work, but that’s not really the same thing.

    The Splintered Mind – Overcoming Neurological Disabilities With Lots Of Humor And Attitude

  2. This might be a bit off-topic but have you checked out the Scrapbook extension for Firefox? I have recently seen that and I have been using it to ‘capture’ pages that I keep as reading materials 🙂 It keeps the pages in ‘folders’ you define. Pretty handy.

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