Since everyone was raving about Quicksilver this week, I broke down and gave it a spin. Quicksilver is similar to Launchbar; they’re both keyboard-driven shortcut tools for OS X. You just hit their activation key and start typing, and they’ll search for an app or a bit of data or whatever, and try to show it to you.
I’m kind of liking Quicksilver, which is odd, because Launchbar never did it for me. I’m probably the only OS X person around who has tried it and given up on it. Anyway, the thing about Quicksilver is that it does a nice job searching everything–it knows about Address Book entries, web bookmarks, web history, developer tools and documentation, applications, email addresses from old email, and a pile of other things, and it’ll search through it all instantly.
Its one big downside for me right now is its memory use. On my Powerbook, it’s using around 50 MB of RAM right now, which is more then a little excessive. Admittedly, I have almost all of its options turned on, but that’s still way more then I’m willing to lose for a program that I’m not going to use much. So, the big question is am I going to use it enough to make it worth it?
If anything, this may turn out to be one of those programs that I never knew I needed, but after using it for a few days my needs have grown past what it can provide. I can see a ton of things that I’d love in a Quicksilver-like interface that I doubt it’s going to provide. I’d really like a fast full-text email search, for instance, and a fast document search. More then anything, though, I’d really like to be able to use Quicksilver as a quick way to enter Google queries. Instead of tracking down Safari and clicking on the Google box, I’d love to be able to hit Command-Space and type my query. It probably wouldn’t be that hard for Quicksilver to use Google as the Search of Last Resort, but it’s not exactly what they’re aiming for right now.
Of course, the holy grail would be Quicksilver’s incremental search combined with Google–just start typing, and it’ll start flipping through web pages that match. I’d kill for that. Of course, it’d make Quicksilver’s 50 MB footprint look like chump change.
For now, I’m still testing Quicksilver. It has its good points and its bad points. After a couple days of use, I’m still not very attached to it. Most of my favorite tools, like NewNewsWire and iView Media Pro were habit-forming almost immediately. I’ll probably stick with Quicksilver for now, and see what new betas turn up.