Thursday, November 10, 2005

Google Desktop

One of my favorite features in Mac OS-X Tiger is Spotlight, Apple's killer desktop search tool. It blows away the Find feature in Windows for usability and speed. Earlier this year, Google introduced Google Desktop, which offers similar functionality for Windows users.

After installing Google Desktop, it offers you the opportunity to configure it. You can set it to integrate with your Taskbar, as a floating searchbox, or as a sidebar. I have GD installed on Bagend and my Dell at work, and am currently using it as a sidebar. In the sidebar I have subwindows for Email, News, Web Clips, Scratch Pad, Maps, Quickv View, local weather, and a Todo list.

Following configuration, GD needs some time to index your hard disk. It does this when your PC is idle, so you won't see a performance hit due to GD running in the background.

One advantage of GD over Spotlight is that it will search and index Thunderbird email, even IMAP folders. Spotlight will do this for, but not Thunderbird. GD can also be setup to index a Gmail account. GD will also index your Outlook email, whether it's on an Exchange server and cached locally, or in a .PST file, and adds a plugin for searching from within Outlook. I find this very valuable because Outlook's built-in search is weak, in my opinion.

As with most other things from Google, Desktop is free. Based on my use of it the past couple of days, I definitely recommend it for Windows users with a lot of data.

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