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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:

Similar:
- 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.

Different:
- 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 Google.com.

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 Google.com 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. }

3 comments:

  1. Betalogue says it's lousy.

    << In spite of its name, the "GoogleDesktop.dmg" image file does not contain the entire application. It just contains a 3 MB installer application, which in turns downloads what it needs from Google's servers. I hate these multiple-step installers that prevent you from downloading the entire application at once as a single file. As the end user, I should have complete control over what I download and when I download it. Google, like Adobe, appears unable to grasp this concept.

    When mounted, the "GoogleDesktop.dmg" image file is a volume that contains a single application called "Double Click to Install Google Desktop.app." Oh dear. Memo to Google: An application is an application—not a billboard to display messages intended for the user. I really do think that, as long as you call your installer application (if you really have to have one) something like "Google Desktop Installer.app," any sensible user will know that he's supposed to double-click on the application to open it.>>

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  2. I am as much a Google Fan as I am a Mac Fan, but Google Desktop has left me a bit disappointed compared to the windows version. As far as I can tell , and i admit I could be wrong here, but there is no sidebar, no widgets, is is simply a desktop search box. I was looking forward to Google Desktop Mac becoming available but now that I have downloaded it, It has left me wondering why. :( Here's hoping that the Mac version of Picasa is better.

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  3. I believe, thinking about a Picasa4Mac, that there is no place for it. Picasa and iPhoto are so-so-so similar applications, and since I installed the Picasa Web Albums plugin for iPhoto I haven't missed anything.

    In the very deep, both applications are equal (even in their "I keep my own copies of the photos" philosophy), but iPhoto has the plus that is completely integrated with the rest of Mac OS X.

    I don't critique Picasa (nevere! I love it in Windows) but I think that two very similar applications shouldn't fight in the same arena, but complement each other in different plataforms.

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