Apple Mac’s Spotlight May Be Holy Grail of Desktop Search

    January 12, 2005

I’ve been speaking to some journalists about desktop search and they all want to know what desktop search means for the search engines.

Why did Google, Yahoo et al launch desktop search applications?

The most likely reason is to preserve brand loyalty and maybe even attract some new users away from their competitors. But what about the pending launch of Apple Mac’s new Tiger operating system and their Spotlight (pdf) desktop search technology?

Apple could be hunting for a bigger prize. Sure, they could benefit from the hype and would want a product that would stop Mac users from using any third-party search solutions, but if Spotlight can live up to the hype, Apple could get what it really needs: more Mac users.

Could Spotlight be the greatest of all the desktop search offerings?

With the launch of the Mac mini, Apple is already demonstrating that they hope to stretch the glamor associated with the iPod, to other Apple products. I’ve long considered whether to buy a Mac, if for nothing else than it’s multi-media capabilities. If, when the new Tiger OS launches, it becomes standard on the mini Mac, you could see this long-time Windows user, dipping his toe in the elite world of Mac users (which would really bring down the average IQ of Mac users, I’m sure). For less than a Dell, I can get a crash-proof computer, with fantastic media apps and what looks like, a great desktop search tool.

At $499 for a Mac with a powerful operating system and the capabilities of Spotlight, Apple’s foray into desktop search could lead to a greater prize than just a share of the desktop search audience, it could mean a few extra percentage points in the operating system wars.

Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world’s most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at