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July 7, 2007

Google File Search

Web pages are useful, but if you've ever wanted to find a specific file on the web, you noticed it's not very easy. Fortunately, search engines like Google could be used for this tricky task.

Sometimes people create a web site, put some files in a directory, but forget to add an index file. So they end up with an unprotected directory that lists all of its files and subdirectories, when directly accessed from a browser. If someone links to the directory or submits it to Google, it becomes available to anyone who performs a search.

Because these directory listings are built using similar templates (depending on the web server), you can add to your query the most distinctive traits:

* The title starts with "index of" -> add to the Google query: intitle:"index of"

* They typically contain these words: "parent directory", name, "last modified", size, description -> you can add to your query "parent directory", for example

* Since most sites use Apache servers, you could also add Apache, that appears in the footer of a listing for Apache web servers


To find the page from the screenshot, you could use a query like:
intitle:"index of" firefox 2.0 rc1 source

Of course, you could use this idea to find any kind of file from a PDF e-book to an MP3 podcast or song. Some of the files are shared by breaking a copyright law, so you must you use your judgment before downloading them.

But finding files using this technique is too complicated, you'll say. First you have to enter a very complicated query, then visit all these strange-looking web pages and perform a new search in the current page to actually find the file. Then there are so many dead links and disingenuous webmasters that try to trick you with fake pages.

Some people with too much time on their hands built web apps that make it easy to search for files using Google. Briefli builds the query internally, loads the first results from Google and displays the links to the files on the same page. Moreover, the files that actually match your query are highlighted. To play the MP3s inline, you could add the del.icio.us bookmarklet to your browser and for Office files and PDFs, use Docufarm.



A site optimized for finding and playing MP3 files is mp3Salad. It lets you play all the MP3 files from a directory using a simple Flash player and even export the entire listing as a playlist.

The avalanche of file hosting sites brought a new to search for files: restrict the search results to one or more of these sites. Some examples of popular file hosting sites: esnips.com or megaupload.com. This custom search engine lets you restrict the search to 127 file hosting sites.

And then there are BitTorrent sites. Because they're so many, this custom search engine is useful to search across the most popular ones.

Google actually indexes some of these files, mostly Office documents, PDF files, text files. You can restrict a Google search to a file type by using the filetype: operator in your query (examples: bash linux filetype:pdf restrict the search for [bash linux] to PDF files). This way you can search inside these files and not only in a listing of filenames.

For files residing on your hard disk, a desktop search engine like Google Desktop (Windows/Mac/Linux), Windows Vista's search, Mac's Spotlight are great and should be used before searching on the web.

Maybe one day Google will come up with a nice file search engine that indexes unprotected directories, FTP servers, file hosting sites, torrent sites. But probably the legal challenges outweigh the advantages of a such a search engine (Yahoo has a music search engine, but only for China).

36 comments:

  1. A nice site for doing specialized Google searches is http://g2p.org/

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  2. I'm leary of that 'cause it sounds like an easy way to find some malware too.

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  3. Fedho.com crawls the files on the Internet and also allows users to share files and upload files.

    http://fedho.com

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  4. as per your suggestion to find generic pdf documents, the filetype:pdf operator is sufficient.

    but if you are looking specifically for ebooks, then you are better off with a google custom search engine for ebooks such as the ebook searchr

    -el boco

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  5. hey guys! , you forget about another rapidshare search engine (rapidlibrary.com) :

    this guys have their own crawler, 600.000 files database, fast and relevant search results...

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  6. www.quicksearch.info - quick search rapidshare files

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  7. also www.loerking.com is a very nice google based filesearch engine... have fun^^

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  8. http://Loadingvault.com will definitely make it easy for you to search rapidshare files instead of using complex Google operators.

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  9. A new site - fileshunt.com. It almost started to work.
    Fileshunt.com has incredible speed of searching rapidshare links in the internet.
    http://fileshunt.com database includes all rapidshare links.

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  10. UPDATED March 27th 2008
    Use this Accnt'Generator to find a working rapidshare premium acc't

    http://rapidshare.com/files/103050216/RS_PREMIUM_ACCNT_GEN.rar
    this was tested on March 27th and its still working. when you find

    an account that works change the password from options in ur premium zone

    RAPIDSHARE IS THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO DOWNLOAD SO GET YOU ACCN'T TODAY FREE

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  11. i use www.gegereka.com

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  12. http://www.filestube.com is also very good rapidshare search engine

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  13. A good, all round Google searcher can be found here.

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  14. http://www.findthatfile.com

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  15. You can do rapidshare file search with http://fileknow.com/

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  16. It's easiest searching files by writing filetype: and the type of your wanted file

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  17. I really think, that Download Files Using Clever Searches is a more than useful tool.

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  18. Briefli is dead. Check out www.briefli.com if you don't believe me.

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  19. also the best rapidshare and megaupoload search engine is http://fileonfire.com just take a look and thank me later :)

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  20. www.youfilesearch.com is best!

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  21. I have come across http://www.frontaddress.com and it is fine.

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  22. As I know Kvaz is the most large Rapidshare file searcher.

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  23. try this one too its great ... rapidshare search engine

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  24. Another rapidshare search engine - Uploading Search

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  25. File Search is great. It combines both filespump and filestube search results.. its great

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  26. Google is useful for shore, but I think it is much easier to use one of existing search engines. Try for example http://www.usemeplz.com , bet you'll find it very useful. You just have to type the name of the file you need and press "enter" and thats all.

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  27. Aslo http://www.btscene.com/ is a great torrent indexer.

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  28. i use http://pdfsearcher to find ebooks, manual or documentation. it can search also in PDF text itself to find correct files.
    great article

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  29. i always use www.skoopio.com to search for files, mp3s and movies, it's quite good as you can choose specific file types and specific domains.

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  30. If you want to search files easily with google go to http://googlefilefinder.com

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  31. http://www.findfiles.net/ is better

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