August 22, 2005 8:55 AM PDT

New Google desktop tool offers customization

Google has rolled out a beta version of its desktop software, adding such features as "Sidebar," which offers a personalized panel of information such as e-mail, stock quotes and news.

The software, unveiled on Monday, also includes a scratch pad style tool for taking notes and tools for searching one's desktop and Microsoft Outlook inbox. Called Desktop 2, the software can be downloaded for free from Google's Web site.

Google search bar
Credit: Google
Google's Floating Deskbar.

With this move, Google is stepping deeper into territory held by Microsoft--which has its own notepad and search features--and Yahoo, with its My Yahoo personalization efforts.

The Google software contains three major components: a toolbar that runs in Outlook; Sidebar, which shows up as a vertical panel; and "Quick Find," which is designed to let users find files on their hard drives and launch applications.

Quick Find, which shows up as part of Sidebar or as a more compact "Deskbar," can also be used to search the Web.

People who opt for the compact view can have the Deskbar sit in the Windows taskbar, or they can choose a "Floating Deskbar" that can be dragged anywhere on the desktop. A button on the right end of the Deskbar lets the user expand Desktop to the full Sidebar view.

The Sidebar pane is designed to automatically update itself based on users' interests, as expressed by the Web sites they visit, with little or no manual configuration. Among its many windows, Sidebar offers the scratch pad tool, weather data, news, RSS and Atom feeds from the Web, links to open browser windows and an e-mail preview.

The Outlook toolbar, meanwhile, purports to let people search through their e-mail from an embedded toolbar, without leaving Outlook.

"Google Desktop is a new, easier way to get information--even without searching," Marissa Mayer, product management director for Google's consumer products, said in a statement.

21 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Any Better Than 1.0
I wasn't all that impressed with Google Desktop Search 1.0. I wonder if this version is really any better. I've been using Copernic for several months without much complaint.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing innovative
GDS 2.0 borrowed ideas from
-- Yahoo Widget/My sidebar
-- Blinkx
-- DesktopSearch
but everything is not as good as competitor's appications.
Posted by TanNg (31 comments )
Link Flag
Google OS
Another step toward the Google OS
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not quite OS
to be realistic, i don't see why google would actually bother creating an OS in the traditional sense, dealing with hardware issues, file input/output, etc...

rather, what they are building are the capabilities to have a platform-independent interface, which you can use from any operating system. windows of course bundles the interface with the operating system, so does mac, and unix/linux distributors have joined that game, but if you leave the interface platform-independent (i.e. web/standards based) then the OS becomes irrelevant really.

everyone can still enjoy their fully integrated OS packages from Microsoft and Apple, but those have-nots, those on the other side of the digital divide, can pick up any free OS they can get their hands on, and as long as it has a standards-compliant web browser, they have, in essence, a "Google desktop", accessible through the browser.

brilliant really... hopefully this represents an end to corporate domination of OS interface. now if only someone could come up with an online Office package.
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
Innovation on Tap
Google continues to impress me with their constant
innovation. The sidebar is quite useful and only
in its infancy.

Is there any other company out there that is even close to Googles level of innovation? If you think so, I would really like to hear about them.
Posted by joepwro (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy
Sun -> Java
Apple -> GUI Pioneer
Microsoft -> Makes software that the common joe uses
Palm -> Made keyboardless organizers practical
ARM -> Made RISC CPUs for desktops
Intel -> CPUs
AMD -> Conviced the world to buy 64-bit chips without software for them....

What had Google done that no-one had done before? In most cases they just do what has been done before, just better. If that is innovation then Microsoft probably the most innovative company in the world...
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Innovative?
They copied it from others
Posted by TanNg (31 comments )
Link Flag
Um, Innovation?
This isn't the first 3rd-party sidebar app, dude. There are others that you can download and install today, and Google's version is pretty much a direct rip-off of Longhorn's sidebar.

Kinda funny how when Google copies someone else, they're "innovative", but when Microsoft does it they're vilified for it.
Posted by (127 comments )
Link Flag
Sidebar?
Can it be that I'm the only person out there who hates the idea of a sidebar? Keep the desktop area clean, don't clutter it up with useless "extras."
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are not alone
I already know where I want to go and what I want to do, so do not need anything extra to clutter my desktop. I certainly do not need anything to search the hideous monstrosity of Microsoft’s Outlook inbox, when Eudora will immediately search all of several mail boxes (both in, out and otherwise) that have been configured for it. Add to that Google’s "Quick Find" and Sidebar panel designed to automatically update itself, and there will probably be extra garbage running in the background.

So I appreciate News.Com’s article on Google’s desktop tool because it gave me enough information to let me know that I do not want to even try such a thing. However, I imagine that the tool will be downloaded by the masses, simply because it is FREE!!!.
Posted by BR-549 (20 comments )
Link Flag
lots of extra space
but what is the point of having a clean desktop with one or two icons on it? anyway apple had the right idea with their "widgets" which appear only when mouse is on 1st or last pixel column. so both sides win.. clean desktop, and instant access to many functions instead of navigating multiple layers of folders/menus.
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
Its Cool
It's pretty cool, no need to discourage every new good thing that comes up on the market, Innovation is one thing, even if Google is IMPROVING previously attmepted stuff, that's a goooooood thing. Be positive. I like it, I like my desktop clean too, I wasn't going to keep it if it just sat there on the right side of my desktop, but it's got an autohide feature, which makes it all very simple. All my news, Cnet, Wired, Gamespot, Slashdot, Cnn in one place plus a notepad, plus everything else, plus extra plugins u can download, that's just.....nice. Kudos Google.
Posted by Sikander (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Didn't work
Am I the only person in the world who had trouble with this product? I installed it and it completely slowed my PC down even when it wasn't indexing. Had to take it off.
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Integration with Other Application
Hi,

Iam Developing a application, within which i want google search should be integrated, same as it work with outlook express.
Is there any possiblity to do so ? Please help

Regards,
Shashi
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.hitechend.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.hitechend.com</a>
Posted by shzshi (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
New Google Desktop Tool...
Awesome. Thanks for the article - In my opinion, Google is making life easier.
Posted by MorganLighter (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.