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On Windows XP I used Google Desktop Search which provided full text searches on files and emails with a preview of results, like a Google search. It indexed files when needed.

I'm looking for something like this on OS X Snow Leopard. Spotlight and Finder search don't produce a preview. Google desktop isn't the same thing on the Mac.

What can I use?

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i think LaunchBar has this feature, when doing a search you can press spacebar to look at a preview – user78429 May 28 '11 at 6:22
did you try QSB ? – Ye Lin Aung May 28 '11 at 6:23
LaunchBar and QSB, don't seem to do this, here's a screenshot of what I'm looking for… – Jules May 28 '11 at 6:33
Google Desktop Requires Mac OS X 10.4, For 10.5+ we recommend Google Quick Search Box – Jules May 28 '11 at 8:09
@Jules Yeah, they ditched that in favor of the QSB. The feature you need has been requested for a long time but I don't think there are huge changes to come for the QSB. – slhck May 28 '11 at 8:45
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It's not quite the same thing, but you can use the Finder's search window (Option-Cmd-Space) and use Quick Look as your preview. When you have a Quick Look preview open, you can use the Up and Down arrow keys to scroll through the results without having to close and reopen the preview.

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It's still not as easy as seeing a short preview for each result – Jules Jun 1 '11 at 7:35

OSX Lion provides quick look like previews right in the spotlight menu in the top right corner.

And choosing "Show All" brings up a finder window that offers quick look via space bar.

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Recoll might be what you're looking for:

enter image description here

It's coded for Linux but should run fine under Macports.

You can find more information on the installation here.

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