Monday, September 7, 2009

Spotlight Still Blows, but less so

A few months ago, I mentioned that by comparison to Windows 7, Spotlight blows. I complained that Spotlight didn't index the meta tags in files. The example I gave concerned a favourite local band, The Kramdens. I wanted to be able to type "The Kramdens" into Spotlight and see a complete list of their songs within my library in Spotlight's search results. Well, under Snow Leopard, I'm half way there.

Now, in Spotlight, I do see a list of the Kramden's songs - but only the ones I've played since upgrading. Well, since I like the Kramden's, that's not a big stretch. But, according to iTunes, it will take me over 16 days of continuous of continuous playback to play through the whole library. That seems like a rather slow way to build an index.

And isn't the whole point of search to help you find things that you may have forgotten about? What's the point of only indexing things I've already decided to play. It's the things I haven't thought about playing that search is supposed to help me with.

In Windows search, you have the power to control exactly what gets indexed, when it gets indexed and where it puts the index. By default, Window's Search indexes all the important meta tags in all my files without prompting. And it does so with no perceptible performance cost. So why doesn't Spotlight?


  1. mdimport -r /System/Library/Spotlight/Audio.mdimporter

  2. Spotlight searches on anything the "importer plugin" brings in... If the file contains useful metadata, or text content, that should always be included. (See /Library/Spotlight and /System/Library/Spotlight for plugins)
    Developers can write their own importers for custom formats.

    Try running "mdimport -d 4" on a file to see just how much stuff Spotlight ind exes.

    As an example, if you type "from:thommango" in the Spotlight Menu, the query will be narrowed to things sent to that address...