OverviewHave you ever wished you had the Mac 'Spotlight' functionality on your iPhone? I was recently turned on to two applications available through Cydia (only available for jailbroken iPhones). One called QuickGold and the other Searcher. For those of you who aren't acquainted with 'Spotlight' for the Mac, it's a quick search feature where you can type in whatever you're looking for and get an instant list of Applications, Contacts, Emails, Documents, Pictures, Music, pretty much anything and everything on your computer that is related to what you typed.
QuickGold and Searcher both bring this functionality to the iPhone.
FunctionalityWhile the two apps may appear relatively the same, they actually differ greatly in functionality. QuickGold launches with a simple tap of the Home button while on the SpringBoard. To launch Searcher you locate the icon and tap as with other applications. The UI for both applications is relatively identical. They both contain a search box at the top and a results list below. The only noticeable difference is the Settings field on the top left of Searcher, whereas QuickGold currently has no available options.
Searcher QuickGold The only other interface difference is that Searcher seperates results into categories or sections similar to the functionality of the Mac Spotlight, and QuickGold just displays the list as a raw unsorted list.
ComparisonEven though the two applications purport to do the same thing, and look similar, they are far from identical. QuickGold has an advantage in the area of launching. I love being able to hit the home button and instantly getting a search field as a means of opening the app. I use both Vista and Leopard, the 'Start Menu' and 'Spotlight' features are basically the only way I launch applications anymore. QuickGold: +2 QuickGold does live filtering of the search results. As you type in your keyboard the list is constantly updating to show results matching your input. Searcher requires you type a word or part of a word and hit the 'Search' button to display matching results. QuickGold: +1 Searcher's results list is very well laid out, categorizing results by item type. QuickGold displays a very raw, unsorted list, which would be cumbersome to navigate with a lot of results. Searcher: +2 Searcher has configurable options. You can select how many results to display in each section, as well as which sections to show on the search results. Say I'm not interested in seeing matching SMS messages -- I can simply disable the SMS module in the Searcher configuration page. QuickGold has no configurable options, what you see is what you get. Searcher: +2
Searcher Searcher QuickGold's search bar lists "apps, contacts, phone #s, websites". I tested each of these and could not get it to find any phone numbers or websites. I attempted both bookmarked sites as well as sites that would be in my history. Searcher's modules include contacts, SMS, notes, events, Safari Bookmarks, and Safari History. All of Searcher's categories seem to be functional except the events, which would not match anything in my calendar. Update: zataang, QuickGold's developer, has clarified the "phone #s, websites" functionality for us. Typing in a phone number or a web URL and tapping 'Go' will dial the number or launch Safari and navigate to the URL respectively, not search for instances of them on your iPhone. Searcher: +2
QuickGold Searcher gets a bonus point for the way it displays contacts in the results list. QuickGold brings up each contact's phone number as a separate item, whereas Searcher lists the contact itself as an item and selecting the contact will let you choose which phone number to dial. Searcher: +1
SummaryWhile I love the idea of being able to quickly find an app or dial a contact, I think QuickGold falls a bit short on delivering full fledged 'Spotlight' functionality. There are no available options to configure, such as what types of items to include in search results, or how many search items to display at once. We'd love to see this app grow -- I think it will require indexing of some sort in order to add results for email, websites, calendar appointments, etc. If you just need a quick way to launch an app, or dial a contact, then QuickGold is great, but if you're looking to search your SMS messages, emails, web history, etc., you will want to check out Zac White's Searcher. As for me, I am going to keep both around. QuickGold gives me the functionality I miss from Vista in being able to start an application by simply pressing one button and keying in a few letters. Searcher, however, is far superior in its search capabilities, but requires more time and effort than QuickGold for quickly dialing a contact. Searcher also has no ability to search for apps, though I expect this is a quick future 'module' addition.
QUICKGOLD:Bonus Feature Rating: +5
- Usability: 5 / 5
- Value: 3 / 5
- Utility: 3 / 5
- Aesthetics: 3 / 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
SEARCHER:Bonus Feature Rating: +7
- Usability: 4 / 5
- Value: 4 / 5
- Utility: 5 / 5
- Aesthetics: 3 / 5