Spotlight vs Alfred

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by LNYMRKO, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. LNYMRKO macrumors regular

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    Nov 8, 2010
    #1
    For a long time I've been a user/supporter for Alfred and actually had the normal Apple-Space key combo set to Alfred and rarely used Spotlight at all. Now with Spotlight's overhaul in Yosemite it becomes an app launcher and basically everything that Alfred previously did..

    What are your thoughts? If you had been using Alfred also, are you switching back to Spotlight now?
     
  2. Dulcimer macrumors 6502a

    Dulcimer

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    Nov 20, 2012
    #2
    I was trying to switch to Spotlight since Apple made so many improvements, but the lack of third-party plugins makes it fairly useless. You can't even do a Google search from it (but you can use Bing…). So I redownloaded Alfred and am sticking with it.
     
  3. pingssgp macrumors newbie

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    Oct 19, 2014
    #3
    Spotlight was an app launcher even in Mavericks. I was an Alfred user who found myself only using it to launch apps, and dropped it after Mountain Lion. With mavericks and yosemite, spotlight has become far more powerful and is enough for all my needs.
    That, and I'd rather have fewer apps on my Mac.

     
  4. leman macrumors G3

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #4
    I was also surprized that there are no spotlight plugins. It would make a lot of sence for Apple to introduce Spotlight Extensions. Hopefully next OS X
     
  5. silvetti macrumors 6502a

    silvetti

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    #5
    If any of the extra features of Spotlight would work for the rest of us not living in US, UK, Germany... that would be nice...
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    If all your are doing is launching apps and web searches, I can see dropping Alfred. But for me Spotlight does not even begin to match what I use Alfred for. Things like file management and all the workflows in Alfred.

    There were a couple earlier threads making this comparison here and here more recently. I posted some example of Alfred usage in those threads.
     
  7. deviant macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Alfred all the way. Spotlight is dumb. Example - i need to VNC a lot to my macs. In alfred you just create vnc://ipadress: port custom search and alias, then just cmd+space and type vnc and boom, connected. It saved me SO much time i can't even tell :)
     
  8. djtech42 macrumors 65816

    djtech42

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    #8
    Like people have said, Spotlight doesn't have workflows or useful custom searches, so it still doesn't replace Alfred. If you are just using Alfred to launch apps, you can easily switch to Spotlight.
     
  9. KALLT macrumors 601

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #9
    I never got into Alfred and I always ended up ignoring and eventually deleting it. Spotlight is good enough for my needs and at least it has become a bit smarter with certain queries too. However, for some reason Spotlight isn’t as quick or useful anymore. You could see more results before at a glance.
     
  10. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I'm an avid user of Alfred v1 with the power pack — is there a good reason to move to v2 and pay again?
     
  11. kamuix macrumors regular

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    #11
    I like Alfred. I use it a lot for opening apps, google, and definitions. Pretty useful app.
     
  12. simon48 macrumors 65816

    simon48

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    #12
    The power pack needs to be repurchased?
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    Here is a summary of the V2 updates, but as a V1 user that moved to V2, I would say Workflows is the biggest change that made it worth the update for me.

    http://support.alfredapp.com/workflows

    Yep.
     
  14. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Thanks! I may take the plunge then.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #15
    http://www.packal.org

    There is sort of an unofficial Workflow repository here to get you going. :)
     
  16. dz-015 macrumors newbie

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    #16
    I fall into the category of "power user" but I find Alfred redundant because I already know my way around OS X. Customising Alfred with workflows just takes up extra time for me, usually with little good reason. People rave on about workflows but on the rare occasions when they actually try to demonstrate why they're supposedly useful, it rapidly becomes apparent that it's just duplicating functionality that can already be quickly achieved some other way.

    For example, one guy was saying how he uses it to quickly VNC into other Macs. Well, you can already do that quickly by hitting Cmd-K in Finder where you'll find a list of your common connections already stored, so manually updating these in Alfred just to save a one-millisecond keypress seems pretty pointless to me.

    A couple of other people have demonstrated workflows which show your current battery life. What's the benefit of this when that information is already present in the menu bar? Some others have shown how they've painstakingly set up workflows for searches on specific websites. Why bother with that when there are quicker ways of achieving it in a web browser which don't require any faffing about (e.g. Safari now remembers sites you've been to which have search engines, so for example you can search for The Terminator on IMDB simply by hitting Cmd-L in Safari and typing "imdb terminator").

    If you're new to OS X and haven't learnt the quick ways of doing things which Apple have already provided then maybe Alfred gives a handy shortcut if you can be bothered to spend time customising it; but otherwise I consider it surplus to requirements. For finding files, launching apps, and other similar quick tasks, Spotlight does the job well.
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #17
    The new Spotlight is better for math than Alfred or the old Spotlight and does conversions. Alfred still wins for everything else and I particularly like its hooks with 1Password.

    Word of warning: the new Spotlight sends all your search terms out on the Internet by default -- this isn't good if you are using your Mac for business.
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #18
    All I can say is I don't think you are familiar with some of the workflows that are available.

    I agree some of them just mimic what could be done in Terminal or with an Applescript, but even for those it makes accessing the feature much easier.

    But there are workflows that I can't think of any way you whould mimic the behavior easily in OS X.

    I'll just throw out two examples of Workflows I use.

    I use a workflow for Pocket that allows me to quickly find a Pocket bookmark and copy it to the clipboard to post here in the forums.

    In the example below I brought up the workflow and started typing "time" and found my link then hit fn-enter to copy the link to clipboard. Short of using the Pocket application and searching it, or going to the Pocket website, there is no faster way I have found to locate these bookmarks and clip the link.

    [​IMG]

    To post the screenshot above I brought up Alfred and typed in "up" and hit enter and my screenshot from the desktop was uploaded to Imgur and the link put in clipboard so I could paste it here.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #19
    I tried this and got a google search result. I only found it works as you describe when already on the IMDB site. OTOH "⌥Space imdb terminator", using Alfred, did take me to the search results at IMDB.
     
  20. Wheelie4 macrumors regular

    Wheelie4

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    #20
    After you type "imdb <search term>" look at the first result below that. :)
     
  21. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    I have Alfred assigned to [command]+[space] and Spotlight relegated to [command]+[shift]+[space] — so I can get to either pretty quickly.

    Yep. I think there are two things you need to uncheck to disable this:

    Disable "Spotlight Suggestions" and "Bing Web Searches" in System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results

    Also, apparently, as I just read here at this shady-looking URL (https://fix-macosx.com)

    "Safari also has a 'Spotlight Suggestions' setting that is separate from Spotlight's 'Spotlight Suggestions'. This uses the same mechanism as Spotlight, and if left enabled, Safari will send a copy of all search queries to Apple.
     
  22. dz-015 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #22
    As I said, Safari now remembers sites you've been to which have search - sites which you HAVE BEEN to. After you've visited IMDB once, Safari will remember, so from that time onwards you can just type "imdb terminator" and Safari will search on IMDB. You don't need to actually be on the site after the first time you've visited it. This all happens automatically - no fiddling with workflows required.
     
  23. dz-015 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #23
    I understand how powerful Alfred is, and it's interesting to see the examples you've posted. You evidently have plenty of utilities you like to use, and you're happy spending time configuring your various tools to work well with each other.

    The point I'm making is: I don't think all this is worth the time spent on the configuration, for the time you save as a result. Unless you upload a lot of screenshots per day to share on forums or wherever, your second example just isn't worth the bother and the time taken to configure the workflow for the couple of seconds it saves over just dragging the screenshot into a Dropbox folder then right-clicking to get the link (or whatever) - I think weeks would go by before the handful of seconds saved exceeds the time you spent configuring Alfred.

    Pocket to me seems like one of those relatively pointless services which just duplicates stuff already in OS X - why not just use the equivalent features in Safari/iCloud/etc., it saves you wasting more time fiddling about.

    There's a danger of getting caught up in utilities - you can waste an enormous amount of time convincing yourself that more and more utilities are important, then you find you need more and more utilities still to effectively manage the first lot of utilities you started using, and I think Alfred is very often a symptom of that. Ultimately it's far more efficient, IMHO, to simply learn to properly use what comes in OS X, since if you do that you'll save a huge amount of time and won't need to get caught up in all this endless fiddling about and configuring ever-increasing numbers of utilities.
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #24
    Seriously, both the Workflows I gave as examples take all of five seconds to install. You DL the file and click it and it installs and they work. There is nothing to fiddle with.

    I gave gave two good examples of how a Workflow is far easier than the equivalent task without the Workflow, then you want to change the debate by saying I should not be using Pocket or Imgur?

    We'll just agree to disagree here I think.
     
  25. dz-015 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 18, 2010
    #25
    But the time taken searching, researching, installing, updating, configuring and generally managing all these tools and extensions adds up, and that's without taking into account the fact that companies change their APIs on a regular basis, which means that you have to keep updating your tools and extensions to stay on top of the API changes, and so forth... From what I've seen and heard of Alfred use, I think it appeals to those who like to get heavily involved in tinkering. I'm not convinced it actually does much to improve one's productivity; in fact I think it may even hamper it sometimes.

    Agreeing to differ may be the best conclusion to this argument though, sure.
     

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