Sherlocked. It’s a word that often gets thrown around after Apple casually integrates a feature offered by some other software into one of its operating systems. Its origin goes back to a time before OS X’s Spotlight feature when Sherlock was the Internet and file search software offered by Apple. Watson, at the time, was a third party utility by Karelia Software that offered very similar functionality, and one of Apple’s versions of Sherlock closely resembled the popular Watson.

Yesterday Apple introduced a more powerful version of Spotlight on OS X after quite a while of letting the feature remain unchanged. The easiest way to describe the updated version of Spotlight is to compare it to the popular Mac utility Alfred. For this reason, several Alfred users voiced concern about Alfred’s fate going forward, enough people that its creators addressed Alfred’s place in a Yosemite world on their blog:

A few users have voiced concerns that Spotlight in Yosemite looks more like Alfred, and wonder whether this changes anything for Alfred and his future.

What you have to remember is that Spotlight’s primary objective is to search your files and a small handful of pre-determined web sources. Meanwhile, Alfred’s primary objective is to make you more productive on your Mac with exceptional and powerful features like Clipboard History, System commands, iTunes Mini Player, 1Password bookmarks, Terminal integration, fully bespoke and customisable user-created workflows and much, much more.

Their message is very similar to last year’s WWDC when Apple introduced its iCloud Keychain which closely resembles a specific feature of 1Password and similar apps. 1Password has since shipped several updates adding new features to its software on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and it sounds like Alfred is planning to do just the same.

In fact, we’ve been working on some pretty special and truly amazing new features that you’ll hear about over the next few months. We think these will blow your mind and can’t wait to tell you more.


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7 Responses to “Creators of Alfred say OS X Yosemite’s Spotlight is not another case of the Sherlocks”

  1. I use Alfred on daily basis and the new spotlight is no threat to Alfred. The powerful workflows they have since 2.0 has made me very productive.


  2. If it was Sherlock vs Watson at the time, Apple should have rebranded Spotlight to Bruce this time!
    Bruce vs Alfred, here we go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tallest Skil says:

    Of course he says this. He doesn’t want his company to be bankrupted.


    • Robert Nixon says:

      It’s obvious from your ignorance that you’ve never used Alfred, so I’m unsure how you justify this snarky response. Alfred’s scope is much broader than Spotlight’s, even in Yosemite. Alfred is not just a search tool(although it covers that base very well), it’s a workflow tool.


  4. Tim Jr. says:

    If anything, giving users a taste of a basic features with the new Spotlight could lead them to Alfred and it’s advanced features..

    I’m not a big Spotlight person.. don’t use Alfred.. but I might well once I see if Spotlight works for me..


  5. Can we just bring back Find File which allowed us to actually find files. I have never found files using Spotlight. Macs used to have the BEST search, now it’s just a joke.