OS X Yosemite first look: Spotlight search

Posted:
in macOS edited June 2015
As the Spotlight desktop search service nears its aluminium anniversary, Apple has turned up the power on the magnifying glass to put more information at users' fingertips in OS X Yosemite.




What initially began as a function designed to delve into the furthest reaches of the desktop has evolved in Yosemite to search across Apple's vast ecosystem of services and answer almost any question that can be thrown at it.

Aside from reimagining the search interface as a translucent overlay in the middle of the screen, the most noticeable change in Spotlight is the addition of a QuickLook pane next to the search results. Any file that can be viewed using QuickLook can be previewed within Spotlight, making finding the correct file much quicker.



Some results, like those from the App Store or Wikipedia, appear in the Quick Look pane in a more structured way. Wikipedia results pull the first paragraph from the linked article, for instance, while App Store results include thing like app ratings. Oddly, choosing an App Store result currently opens the App Store's web preview rather than the App Store itself.






Spotlight's calculation functions have also been improved, adding a number of new unit conversions such as distance, temperature, and currency. The currency support appears limited, however -- Spotlight readily converted U.S. Dollars, Euros, and Japanese Yen but failed to recognize less-popular currencies like Vietnamese Dong.






All calculations will use the QuickLook pane to display results, though conversions with more than one possible answer will use the extra space most effectively.




As in previous editions, users can choose which sources to include in Spotlight searches, and specific folders can still be excluded. The default result order can also be changed by dragging each category up or down.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    That's a lot of things I currently use Google for. Cutting out the opportunity to have my search for facts and data sidetracked by an advertisement really hits at Google's core business.
  • Reply 2 of 40

    I have this romantic notion of only having the latest and greatest iPhone and an iPad as my only tech devices in my home/life.

     

    I.e., no iMacs or laptops anymore. Probably a little optimistic on my part right now. :)

     

    I have to say I was so impressed with Monday's Keynote, especially OSX Yosemite that I may put off the above scenario for the time being and buy a new 27" updated iMac in the Fall. I would not mind the a new iMac still being my digital hub along with the iPad, iPhone, iCloud, TimeCapsule and ATV.

     

    Best.

  • Reply 3 of 40
    sneathsneath Posts: 10member
    I love the new Spotlight but the first thing I thought when I saw the demo during WWDC14 was "Wow, looks a lot like the Alfred App for OS X".
  • Reply 4 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Swinson View Post



    That's a lot of things I currently use Google for. Cutting out the opportunity to have my search for facts and data sidetracked by an advertisement really hits at Google's core business.

    Good. I personally, as matter of practice, try to avoid all things Google. No offense. :)

     

    Best

  • Reply 5 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    That's a lot of things I currently use Google for. Cutting out the opportunity to have my search for facts and data sidetracked by an advertisement really hits at Google's core business.

    I find myself still using Google for quick calculations because Google will let me use the 'x' for the multiplication symbol. It's also lets you use the '÷' symbol over the '/' without skipping a beat. However, it is much improved over the previous setup and the large text is nice; I just need to get used to using ?-Space to save time.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    prokipprokip Posts: 171member
    This is great stuff !!!

    Now also with DuckDuckGo as an alternate search option it's time to oil off Google search completely.

    "Do no evil" - my ass, to quote Phil Schiller (but in a different context.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    The Apple Sherlock is awkward.

    Apple should bring back the great Mac 9 (Classic) search engine, or implement something decent like HoudahSpot.
    http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/21333/houdahspot

    Even better: with the possibility to search also not-indexed volumes like EasyFind does.
    http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/11076/easyfind
  • Reply 8 of 40
    chudqchudq Posts: 43member
    Another tip about calculation in Spotlight: press Command C to copy the result. Very handy if you want to get result without using calc. The copy in Spotlight also apples to file. You will get the full path of the file. This feature in Spotlight for ages.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppeX View Post



    The Apple Sherlock is awkward.



     

    Yes, the new Spotlight is really Sherlock 4  ;)

     

    Sherlock 2

     

    Sherlock 3

  • Reply 10 of 40
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


     

  • Reply 11 of 40
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Is that graphic right? Does Spotlight still given minor information like a file's creation date but not where it is?

    Crazy! When I search for a file, I may not want to open it. I want to find out where it is, so I can, for instance, move it somewhere else. That's the essence of a search. Yet I've not been able to find out how to do that in the current Spotlight and that's apparent not in the new version either.

    Apple seems to think we want to use Spotlight in lieu of finding something. Often we want to use it to find it. Duh!
  • Reply 12 of 40
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 199member
    As with a lot of things MacOS you could try the cmd/alt keys, I seem to remember one of them displays the location of the file and the other when clicking on the file will open the finder in the right directory all ready to copy it !
  • Reply 13 of 40
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 199member
    Of course you can also probably simply just drag the file from the menu somewhere for a copy, I dont have my mac handy but im sure that should work
  • Reply 14 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Spotlight has had a QuickLook pane next to Spotlight since at least OS X Lion.

    I like the new layout though... I think. (Sometimes I use the current Spotlight QuickLook to compare to something that's alreay in the middle of my screen, and Yosemite will require me to move things out of each other's way.)
  • Reply 15 of 40
    aizmovaizmov Posts: 989member
    Why did they change the UI? I don't like the floating field UI. Couldn't they keep the current UI? Will I be able to use it when I'm running a fullscreen app without having to switch to the desktop?
  • Reply 16 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    aizmov wrote: »
    Why did they change the UI?

    They felt it needed improving.
    Couldn't they keep the current UI?

    Of course.
    Will I be able to use it when I'm running a fullscreen app without having to switch to the desktop?

    Yes. You can scroll windows behind it.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    Yosemite will be a mountainous upgrade.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    bigmigbigmig Posts: 77member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Swinson View Post



    That's a lot of things I currently use Google for. Cutting out the opportunity to have my search for facts and data sidetracked by an advertisement really hits at Google's core business.

     

    Yeah, I got an Android phone back in 2012. For the most part it was terrible compared to iOS, but the one thing that was good was the integrated search field in the browser address bar, complete with auto-suggestions. I was glad when search got revamped in iOS 7 Safari to work this way.

     

    What Apple has done is the next logical step here. The reality is that most searches are "easy" searches, like the Spotify example above. In those cases, why should I have to go through the clunky process of seeing the Spotify suggestion on the phone, clicking through to the search engine, and then clicking through to spotify.com. It's much smoother to just take me straight to spotify.com. So now the tables have turned, and Android's browser search experience is clunky compared to iOS 8.

     

    It will be interesting to see whether Google feels forced to match the new experience. Obviously it's terrible for them because it cuts out ad views on google.com. Even worse, it basically commoditizes the search engine – for this type of experience, you really don't care whether the link is coming from Google, Bing, Duckduckgo, or any other reasonably competent search engine. So they may just stick with the clunky experience.

  • Reply 19 of 40
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 826member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post



    Is that graphic right? Does Spotlight still given minor information like a file's creation date but not where it is?



    Crazy! When I search for a file, I may not want to open it. I want to find out where it is, so I can, for instance, move it somewhere else. That's the essence of a search. Yet I've not been able to find out how to do that in the current Spotlight and that's apparent not in the new version either.



    Apple seems to think we want to use Spotlight in lieu of finding something. Often we want to use it to find it. Duh!



    You can hit CMD+Enter and open the Containing Folder in Finder instantly.

  • Reply 20 of 40
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post



    Yosemite will be a mountainous upgrade.

     

    It will inflict sheer terror on Microsoft and Google and interest in their platforms will drop.

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