Google Desktop

Google Desktop 5.9.1005.12335

This download is no longer available. This could be due to the program being discontinued, having a security issue or for some other reason. You can download these alternatives:

Info when you want it, right on your desktop

This program can no longer be downloaded. Take a look at Copernic Desktop Search instead. View full description

PROS

  • Search results in web page format
  • Large choice of gadgets
  • Can cross index from multiple machines
  • Share panel items with friends

CONS

  • First time indexing is long
  • Intrusive
  • No logical “OR” or substring search support

Very good
8

This program can no longer be downloaded. Take a look at Copernic Desktop Search instead.

The Google Desktop application allows users to search their desktop content quickly and easily. Praised for its ingenuity and criticised for its intrusiveness, Google Desktop brings the power of Google’s search engine technology to your PC.

After installing the application, you’ll have to give it some time to index the files on your PC, including emails, photos, chats, contacts and calendar events. Google Desktop will index the first 10,000 words in the first 100,000 documents on your PC. The application supports the majority of file types and you can decide which ones to index, or omit protected files, using the preferences menu.

In its latest version, which is compatible with Windows Vista, Google Desktop has been given a new transparent look, providing a pretty sleek feel to your PC. Your search results will appear in your browser (in the familiar Google web page format) and a small preview button allows you to view results without actually clicking on the corresponding link. Results are as precise as we’ve come to expect from Google searches, however we were slightly disappointed to learn that the application doesn’t offer logical 'OR' support or substring search. On another note, Google Desktop is not limited to your PC as you can cross index content from multiple machines and share some panel items with your friends.

Google Desktop is not only about search, though. Joining a marketplace already occupied by Apple’s Dashboard Widgets and Yahoo! Widgets, Google Desktop can be fitted with any number of little gadgets. These mini apps perform all kinds of functions, from fetching your mail to jotting down notes or checking up on your local weather. There are hundreds of gadgets to choose from to customize your desktop bar. Our personal favorites are: Google Translate, the Skype plug-in to check your credit and call your contacts, “Am I Blocked” to find out who’s blocked you on IM, Workspace to quickly move between tasks, System Stats to monitor your PC and Games, a selection of Flash games like Tetris and Moonlander.

When running, we found Google Desktop to use up around 30 MBs, but that can quickly increase if you add more gadgets to it. The application is also constantly re-indexing your files to incorporate your modifications and new elements. However you should rarely feel your PC slowing due to indexing.

When you’re dealing with Google, however, you know the main criticism will be about security. Because Google Desktop indexes all your documents, you’re basically opening up your PC and all your personal files to the Moutain View company. What some users fear is that Google could one day take advantage of that access or that a bug in the application would allow malicious users to infiltrate your PC and steal information.

While the intrusiveness of Google Desktop will give some users pause for thought on installing the app, Google Desktop is highly effective and simple to use. The gadgets you can add to its sidebar may not all be essential, but many of them are quite fun and original and let’s face it, the sidebar looks good. Give it a go if you think your PC is a mess and you need quick access to anything.

Changes

  • Improved Sidebar and Google Gadgets

Instantly find your e-mail, files, media, Web history, and chats. By making your computer searchable, Google Desktop Search puts your information easily within your reach. It frees you from having to manually organize your files, email, and any web pages you have viewed, giving you more time to do what you want.

You can:

  • Get all your personalized info in one place with Sidebar
  • Launch applications and search instantly with Quick Find
  • Find all your email, files, photos, web history, Gmail, and more
  • Search conveniently in Outlook with the Outlook Toolbar
  • Developers can write plug-ins for the sidebar

Google Gadgets

Want a clock on your computer desktop? How about a calendar, a WiFi indicator, a TV, or anything else you can dream up? Say hello to Google Gadgets. These interactive mini-applications can be anything from games to search tools to media players, and they can be any shape and size – use a weather globe to show you the latest forecast. We’ve got a lot of ready-made gadgets you can add to your desktop, but they’re also so easy to create that you can probably figure out how to build your own.

You can also save your gadget content and settings online to protect your info from computer crashes and be able to access it from your other computers by logging into your Google Account with Google Desktop. For instance, you can now ‘synch’ the To Do list on both your laptop and your desktop.

Richer Google integration

Google Desktop is more fully with the rest of Google. For instance, you can now add some Google Gadgets from your personalized homepage into your Sidebar, or anywhere else on your desktop You can also view upcoming birthdays with the Orkut gadget, see what’s popular on Google Videos, or access your Google Calendar from your desktop.

Personalize your desktop

Google Desktop will recommend new gadgets and can also automatically create a personalized Google homepage for you based on the subjects you’re most interested in. For instance, if you’re constantly doing searches on new movies, Google Desktop can automatically recommend a movies gadget to add to your desktop.

— User reviews — about Google Desktop

  • jeepck

    by jeepck

    "A MUST have desktop search - Best Desktop Search program"

    Google Desktop is the absolute best way to find files on your computer. Easy and fast. A MUST have on your computer. ... More.

    reviewed on January 9, 2014

  • TimmiT6969

    by TimmiT6969

    "SUCKS ADWARE?"

    this is BS it had a detection in avg and it also installed itself as soon as i opened the .exe without clicking agree(a... More.

    reviewed on November 10, 2013

  • djmajkowski

    by djmajkowski

    "need dashboaed styled Mac OSx for WinXP, V & &64b"

    Can this Google daskboard toolbar be styled be be very narrow with minimal text info. etc. that can be docked at top or ... More.

    reviewed on August 19, 2011

  • cedyoung

    by cedyoung

    "Google Desktop"

    I like Google very much and almost all their applications and resources, like Picasa 2, Gmail and its online search engi... More.

    reviewed on June 6, 2007

  • elbartoli

    by elbartoli

    "Soaks up too much"

    Indexing your entire hard drive might sound like a good idea, but really, how often are there things there that you ever... More.

    reviewed on May 18, 2006