Google Desktop Is Gone

Screen Capture by Marziah Karch

This article reviewed a product that Google discontinued. The review is no longer relevant. 

One of the most irritating things about Windows is the extremely slow and inefficient search function. Imagine being able to run a Google search for items on your computer and getting results in a fraction of a second. With Google Desktop, you can do just that.

The Setup

Google Desktop must catalog your hard drive, before it can search it.

It can do so during idle time, which doesn’t seem to slow down the computer. You could also elect to get it over with quickly and have it search while the computer is still active doing other things. I didn’t notice an appreciable difference in processing speed either way, but I have a computer that’s less than a year old, so you may have different results.

Searches

Once Google Desktop has cataloged your hard drive, Searching for files and folders was never easier. Google Desktop looks like the Google web browser, and like the web browser, typing in a keyword search yields instant results that are ranked by relevance.

Google Desktop searches for more than just file names. Google Desktop can find email messages, documents, video files, and more. Google Desktop searches through the contents of the file to find relevant keywords. It also scans metadata, so it could find all songs from the same artist, for example.

You could find related files you forgot you had.

Gadgets

The downside of Google Desktop is that it also installs Google Gadgets. If you like extra gadgets or gizmos on your desktop, you may enjoy them, but I found them to be annoying.

Gadgets are very similar in concept to Yahoo! Widgets. They’re mini-applications that do everything from checking the weather to displaying unread Gmail messages as flowers in a flower pot.

You can customize the Gadgets you’d like to use, including the same Gadgets you’d use on Google Personalized Home Page.

Sidebar

Gadgets usually rest in Sidebar, which is displayed on the right side of your computer desktop. By default, it floats over other applications. If you have a small monitor or use applications that use a lot of screen real estate, such as video editing suites, you’ll want to toggle off the Sidebar float option.

If you find a Google Gadget particularly useful, you can drag it away from the Sidebar and position it wherever you choose on the desktop.

Deskbar

The Deskbar is a search box that rests in the Taskbar. You can also use a floating Deskbar if you’d prefer.

Overall

Google Desktop searching is amazing. It really brings missing functionality to Windows. The Google Gadgets, however, are not quite as useful. They would be better left inside Google Personalized Home Page.

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