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October 6, 2007

Google Desktop Gadgets on Your iGoogle Page

Google Desktop and iGoogle are two sides of the same story. Google Desktop started as a search engine for files from your computer, then transformed into a personal agent that shows tiny bits of information from your computer or from the web: news, weather, notes, system stats, email alerts. iGoogle expanded the classic Google homepage with news from your favorite web sites and little applications that gather interesting information from the web. While most iGoogle gadgets can be run inside Google Desktop, it's not possible to add Google Desktop gadgets to your personalized homepage because a web application cannot interact with a software, or at least not without a plug-in.

Google Desktop 5.5 (Windows-only, beta) makes it possible to add gadgets written for the desktop to your iGoogle page. You can choose Desktop gadgets from the directory, install a plug-in that connects your browser with Google Desktop and have gadgets that interact with your computer on your iGoogle page. For example, the music player lets you search for music on your computer and plays it for you. The system stats gadget shows interesting statistics about your computer usage, like battery, RAM or CPU.

The screenshot below shows an iGoogle page with four Desktop gadgets and a Google Desktop sidebar that includes the same gadgets. While it may seem redundant to have the same gadgets in two places, this allows you to disable the sidebar and still see some of the gadgets in your browser. For now, the performance is not very good and your iGoogle page will load more slowly.

Another interesting update in Google Desktop 5.5 is that the desktop search engine is deactivated by default and Google Desktop only indexes filenames. This seems a pretty big departure from the initial purpose of the application: a desktop search engine. You still have the option to enable the "enhanced search" in the setup, but this reminds me of the way Microsoft treated the indexing service in Windows XP.

Google also removed the specialized search engines from the Quick Search Box, improved the Outlook search, changed the setup and added a way to repair a broken installation.


  1. Compatibility between the two types of gadgets... Always welcome.

    One thing I would like to see is a better google desktop search for linux... I can even understand the hell that it might be to create one for so many different flavours of linux. But google in the beginning of the year promised more linux applications...

    We are all waiting. :D

  2. Google Desktop Search needs to improve the presentation of the results. So far, I'm more satisfied by Windows Desktop Search results as it has a better UI. The bad thing with WDS is it doesn't highlight the search term.

    Neither of them is perfect now, but if Google improves the search result presentation (don't stick to the Web Search result style and remember that I'm searching my files), it will win.

  3. >> the performance is not very good
    >> and your iGoogle page will load
    >> more slowly.

    It is really possible that it's getting more slow??? :-o lol

    I tried iGoogle several times, but even CNN is faster loading that Google's personalized page...

  4. It depends what you have on your iGoogle's page. If you add gadgets that load content from other web sites, it's not Google's fault that the page loads slowly.

  5. Another attempt to blur the boundary between Web and desktop. What about security?

    As desktop programs always get write access file systems, if the Web channels get a hole, your PC will get exposed to the world, especially when so many Web gadgets got developed without much security concern. I wonder how easy that a web gadget could communicate with a desktop program under the supervision of Google Desktop.

    I just don't want to get more security headache.

  6. Hi, I've installed the gdesktop beta - now I'm writing from my fresh xp installation. After installing this xp didn't load, and it couldn't be rapaired. I don't know why did it happen and hope it was just a unique problem but I wouldn't advise to try it while it's a beta.

  7. Hi,
    we r use google gadgets in windows 2000.In this operating system google gadgets are fixed in desktop window but when we use windows xp professional that time google gadgets are not fixed in desktop.We want to google gadgets always be open in desktop window & when open other files that time no hidden gadgets from this file.

  8. How DO I get my personal options back on my moon phase mod.? The GT hrs from.To get my location?

  9. The best thing about having desktop gadgets in iGoogle is that gadgets are generally designed for the desktop. Lets take an example having the media player remote on your iGoogle allows you to play music files found in your machine without launching up the full media player. google desktop does this for in the background.


  11. is there no way to contact igoogle?

  12. Google desktop is really excellent for am able to view news,local temperature on line. Getting updated makes me feel good.
    One thing that strikes is the screen display which is small.
    Is there any option to increase it?