This article was published on November 12, 2014

Flashlight extends OS X’s Spotlight in a great direction


Flashlight extends OS X’s Spotlight in a great direction
Owen Williams
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Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

OS X Yosemite comes with a killer upgrade to Spotlight, the operating system’s search tool, that makes it easier to search web content as well as files and apps on your computer. Despite the update, there’s still room for it to get better, which is where Flashlight comes in.

Flashlight, which is still in alpha, is an app that extends Spotlight’s search capabilities to include more plugins and richer functionality while searching.

For example, when searching for ‘weather in Auckland’, Flashlight shows a rich animated weather widget with the forecast almost instantly.

weathers

You’re also able to do full web searches via Google and Wolfram Alpha to get answers on almost any question, without needing to open a browser. The utility of this is clear within a few moments of using the app.

Screen_Shot_2014-11-12_at_11_57_50_am

Flashlight also has a number of other plugins, such as the ability to directly run terminal commands in Spotlight, ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ search, Pig Latin translations and more.

The creator of the tool, Nate Parrott, said on Product Hunt today that he wanted to make a weather widget but “discovered Spotlight didn’t have an API. So I made one, by injecting code into the Spotlight process.”

Flashlight is much more than it appears on the surface; it’s actually an unofficial API for Spotlight which will allow other developers to integrate plugins easily.

Eventually it may mean that more plugins than just those bundled will be available, but for now Flashlight extends OS X’s Spotlight in a great direction.

Flashlight is free, as it’s still early days and requires OS X Yosemite.

➤ Flashlight [OS X]

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