While I love the idea of Spotlight, Apple’s system-wide search utility, the reality is that it’s always been too dog-slow to be of much practical use as either a search tool or a program launcher (I’ve turned to the excellent Quicksilver for that). Maybe Apple realizes that, too: in Leopard, they’ve added some features that have the potential to make it much more attractive — much like some of the expanded capabilities of Google’s search bar.

Take this little tidbit, for instance, from David Pogue’s email newsletter, wherein he describes a sort of mini-calculator feature in Spotlight:

The Spotlight menu (upper-right corner of the screen) is also a tiny pocket calculator now. Hit Command-Space, type or paste 38*48.2-7+55, and marvel at the first result in the Spotlight menu: 1879.6. You don’t even have to fire up the Calculator.


Spotlight also (smartly) brings up applications that match your search criteria instantly — documents and other files come up later, making it potentially much more useful as a program launcher.

Finally, Spotlight now support Boolean searches, so you can look for things like “receipt AND iMac” or “report NOT biology.”

Now let’s hope Apple’s engineers have put similar effort into speeding up Spotlight’s performance.