Apple Mac OS X v10.4 – Tiger Review - Spotlight Review

So let’s look at how Tiger is different to Panther by examining the headline features that Apple is promoting with this release.

Undoubtedly the biggest feature of Tiger is its new Search technology, Spotlight. Simply put, this is a system-wide search that finds everything related to your search phrase in record breaking time.

It accomplishes this by indexing every file that is on your computer. Every image, MP3, PDF, email message and Office document has key features stored in a central database that Spotlight can run through and find details of.

A simple example: perhaps you are working on a project called ‘Project Xenon’. By clicking the blue magnifying glass at the top right of the screen and typing ‘Project Xenon’, you will be immediately presented with a drop-down list of the top matches for that phrase across your system. You might get emails with the phrase in the subject line, or Word documents that reference the project in their body text. Address book contacts for people working on the Project team will come up, as will images that have been put in your Project folder in iPhoto. And because no search technology is ever perfect, you might get some MP3s by the Alan Parsons Project.

The search is ludicrously fast, finding results as you type. The technology is also well-deployed across the rest of the OS, with the built-in Mail client using it to make email searches a heck of a lot faster than on any other mail client on any platform.

Of course, the usefulness of the feature will perhaps depend on how organised you are. If you always know where your data is, you might not have a need for it, but it can nonetheless be an easy way to get at the data on your system in a quicker way.

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