LaunchBar 4: Wow

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 12th, 2004 • 11:12 pm

The feature list for the upcoming version 4 of ObjectiveDevelopment’s LaunchBar utility (now in beta) is pretty impressive.

I’ve written about LaunchBar before. It’s already a great little application and I personally simply cannot do without it. (Well, OK, I can, but I feel strangely “naked” when working on a machine where it is not installed.)

The “What’s New?” list includes predictable improvements, such as “Live index updates” (a new Safari bookmark becomes immediately available via LaunchBar, whereas until now you had to wait until the next index rebuilding process) and new index scanners for your iTunes Music Library, System Preferences, etc.

LaunchBar also introduces “sub-searches”, which are a reasonable compromise in an operating system that is still far too application-centric. (Sub-searching lets you invoke an application and then browse the list of recently opened documents in that application.) In a similar vein, “context searches” work by selecting a search context first via an abbreviation (“EA” for “E-mail Addresses”, for example) and then performing a search within that context.

These are just some of the new and improved features. The complete list makes for very impressive reading. I hear that LaunchBar has some competition (I haven’t tried this QuickSilver application myself yet), and that can only be good.

But what’s really exciting about all this is that it means that innovation is still taking place at a very fundamental level, i.e. at the very core of how we interact with our computer. In a computer industry that has, in many respects, become very stagnant, this can only be good news for computer users.

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