OK, it’s Friday so it must be time for another Google announcement – and here it is: rather than integrate the web into the desktop like Microsoft, Google have instead chosen to integrate the desktop with the web.
Google Desktop is the company’s latest product aimed at revolutionising the way we search for information. Simply, it’s an applet that indexes files on your PC and allows you to search for them in a web browser using the same clean Google interface used to great success in their web product.
The applet is available as a 400k download from the company’s main site and works with Windows XP and 2000 (SP3 and above). The applet initially builds an index of the files on your PC, the index is subsequently updated when you’re not using you computer to ensure that its performance isn’t affected, though Google recommend at least 128mb of RAM and 500mb of free disk space.
Desktop Search is even available as an option from your standard Google Search page, meaning that you can find things on the internet and your PC at the same time. Results are returned seemingly instantly – a speed advantage gained through not having to download them from a website.
Google Desktop will happily search through and return Outlook emails, text files, HTML, PowerPoint Presentations and documents in a range of other formats. I was delighted when my first search brought me an email, nicely presented in the browser, that had only just arrived and I hadn’t even opened in Outlook yet. Better still, you can hit Reply on the result page and an email window will launch, so you don’t even have to go back into your email client. Items can be removed from results so that repeat searches don’t bring them back.
Currently in beta, Google intend to add more features to Desktop Search with better algorithms and file filters – now, where’s that browser, guys?