Google Desktop was launched in 2004 as a desktop search tool, but it started to include support for widgets in 2005. "Google Desktop is a new, easier way to get information – even without searching. You can think of it as a personal web assistant that learns about your habits and interests to identify and present web pages, news stories, and photos that it thinks you will be interested in," said Marissa Mayer.
While Konfabulator is the real innovator, Google Desktop combined widgets with search and focused on personalization. Here's a small comparison table:
| || Google Desktop || Yahoo Widgets |
| Platforms || Windows 2000/XP/Vista || Mac OSX, Windows 2000/XP/Vista |
| Setup size || 1.7 MB || 11.6 MB |
| Terminology || gadgets || widgets |
| Default widgets || Gmail, clock, To Do list, news, feed reader, sticky notes, photos, weather. || Yahoo! search, maps, notepad, address book, mail, photos, Flickr, Calendar, Weather, Finance, digital clock, CPU monitor, widget gallery. |
| Total number of widgets || 360 ||3884|
|Rendering|| In the same process as Google Desktop. || Each widget has its own process: as a result, Yahoo Widgets is more stable, but also uses more memory. |
| What you can do with widgets || || |
| What's unique || || |
| Performance || Google Desktop also indexes your computer, so it has worse performance. If you disable desktop search functionality, you'll reduce memory usage. || The latest version improves memory usage. The performance is similar to Google Desktop without desktop search. |
Yahoo Widgets is for people who want to spread a lot of information chaotically on the desktop; there are plenty of sleek widgets to choose from. Google Desktop is for organized people: it lets you search you computer as well as the web, it shows a sidebar that's visible all the time and personalizes the gadgets automatically.