Google Desktop Review

The first time we tried to install Google Desktop, it wouldn’t work. A few months down the line, the glitch is fixed and we can at last review Google’s first Mac-specific product.

Google Desktop, which is available in a definitively different version for Windows, is a search tool for your local files. Mac OS Tiger already has Spotlight though, so why would you need a second tool? Google power is the answer. Google Desktop installs a database powered search engine on your machine, that indexes everything on first installation, then quietly updates in the background from that point on. And we mean, everything.

On its first boot Desktop takes some time to index your machine. On our test it took two hours. Still, it does this unobtrusively, without any impact on your other apps. Once that’s done, a double click of the Command key launches Google Desktop’s search box. Using it couldn’t be easier. Enter search terms and Desktop returns a list, citing filename and location – much like Spotlight.

Delete a document, then search for the same terms again and you’ll find a cached version – just like Google’s online search. It can be configured to search Gmail accounts and one very cool feature is that when you search google.com – results from your machine appear at the top of the list.

OUR VERDICT

Google Desktop is as fast as Spotlight, with a couple of features that trump it. Is it necessary though? Gmail users will benefit from integration, but otherwise, Spotlight does the same job.

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