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April 3, 2007

Google Desktop for Mac

Even though MacOS has Spotlight for desktop search, Apple users wanted Google Desktop. Well, now they have it.

The Mac version only includes the desktop search features and indexes these file types:

- PDF, TXT, and HTML files
- email from Gmail, Apple Mail, and Microsoft Entourage
- iChat transcripts
- Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files
- metadata for audio and video files (such as artist and album information)
- Address Book contacts, system preference panes, and file names for most other files including applications
- file types that have a Spotlight plug-in.

Here are some similarities and differences between Google Desktop and Spotlight:

- Google Desktop and Spotlight search your hard disk for information. You can continue to use Spotlight even after you've installed Google Desktop.
- Google Desktop honors Spotlight's "Privacy" settings to prevent certain items from being indexed.

- Google Desktop lets you search the text of webpages you've visited.
- You can search text from old versions of your documents, or even from deleted files.
- You can search your Gmail files even when you're not online.
- In your browser, search results from your computer are integrated with search results from

TUAW installed the software and has a nice review (screenshots included):
Installing Google Desktop is as easy as you would expect it to be: download the DMG, open it, and double click the icon to install. However, the application that launches when you double click that icon is also new. It is the Google Updater, your one stop shop for all Mac Google apps. The Google Updater gives you the opportunity to download and install Google's other Mac apps (Google Earth and Picasa Uploader) while you wait. (...)

Overall, Google Desktop is a worthy addition to any Mac. Does it trump Spotlight? Well, Spotlight has a lot going for it. It is built into the OS, developers can build applications with hooks into it, and there is no need to install anything to get it working. That being said, if you use Google's full suite of products, Google Desktop is the desktop search for you. The integration with Gmail and is killer.

Google will probably bring the rest of the features and the rest of their apps (Picasa, Google Talk) to Mac, now that they have a dedicated Mac team and a CEO on Apple's board of directors.

Download link - Universal app for MacOSX 10.4+

{ Screenshot licensed as Creative Commons by lostdude. }

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