I installed Google Desktop on my laptop today. I was immediately thrilled with it. Previously, I had been using Yahoo Widgets, but I started to get concerned about the amount of system processes involved and its memory usage. Google Desktop uses less memory than Yahoo and all aspects of the program run as a single system process. Google also makes a Mac version of this product, but I have not tried to use it. Considering my Mac has Dashboard and Spotlight built-in, I don’t see a need right now for Google Desktop on that system.
I primarily downloaded Google Desktop for the Sidebar widgets. Luckily, my laptop has a widescreen, so the size of the Sidebar without hiding isn’t too space consuming. The Sidebar is slick and shows the local weather conditions, email snippets, a news feed, a notepad, a picture, custom rss feeds, and a Google search box. I am using Gmail for my email already, so setting up the email section was easy. Bear in mind that Gmail is not required. When it comes to the picture, I was at first concerned it may be a waste of time, but it does look really good sitting in the sidebar. I don’t have many pictures stored on this laptop, but I easily added a photo feed from my Flickr page. It works perfectly and pictures are streamed directly to my desktop. The RSS section is also cool. I dabble in some RSS feeds here and there, both in my browser and also online on Google Reader. I rarely think to check any of them. Now with RSS built-in to the Sidebar, I can add my favorite feeds, such as Netflix New Releases and they will appear automatically.
The desktop search portion of Google Desktop is the main purpose of the program. It automatically indexes emails, chats, photos, web history, and more in a variety of different file formats. I haven’t put this feature to the test so far since I only installed the application this morning. I have made good use of Spotlight on my Mac, so I have begun to see the benefits of such an application. I’m sure to make good use of this program.
I think Google Desktop is a winner for the Windows desktop. If the Sidebar does become too cumbersome, which I do not expect, I can enable the auto-hide feature to tuck it away when I am not using it. For now, I want it to be in full-view, so I can read my RSS feeds and see my photos stream in. I am very happy. If you are a Google user and already make good use of a Gmail account, you’ll be sure to love Google Desktop.