Google today launched the second version of its beta Google Desktop software. This tool allows users to search for information, whether it's on the web or stored on their computers. By combining desktop search with an intelligent sidebar that learns the user's habits and interests, users receive all the information of interest to them in one convenient location.
"Google Desktop is a new, easier way to get information -- even without searching," said Marissa Mayer, director of product management for consumer products at Google. "You can think of it as a personal web assistant that learns about your habits and interests to identify and present web pages, news stories, and photos that it thinks you will be interested in."
Major new features include:
Sidebar: Provides convenient desktop access to a variety of
personalized information including email, news, weather,
photos, stocks and RSS and Atom news feeds. Sidebar appears as
a small vertical window on the side of a user's screen that
includes a series of "live" content panels.
Sidebar is personalized automatically based on the user's
interests as expressed by the websites they visit,
requiring little to no manual configuration.
Additional features include a scratch pad to type and save
notes and a quick view of recently or frequently visited
Quick Find: Enables users to search their hard drive to find
files and launch applications as fast as they can type. Using
Quick Find, users can type a few letters or words and the top
results pop up instantly. For example, a user can launch
iTunes just by typing "itu" into the search box and selecting
the application from the list of results.
Outlook Toolbar: Enables Microsoft Outlook users to search
all of their Outlook email directly from an embedded search
box and results list, without having to leave the application.
Additional enhancements include extended search capabilities for additional file types and content including MSN Messenger chats, network drives, Outlook data (contacts, appointments, tasks, notes and journal) and Gmail, enabling users to search their Gmail messages even when they're not online. Google Desktop 2 now enables hard drive encryption for stronger security and faster search via advanced filtering options.
In addition to the application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable developers to create plug-ins for desktop search, Google Desktop 2 now offers APIs that enable creation of new and innovative applications for Sidebar. For example, a plug-in that adds a "to-do" list to the Sidebar is already available. Plug-ins developed with these APIs will be made available for download at >http://desktop.google.com/plugins.
Google Desktop 2 is available in English, with additional language support to follow shortly. It's currently available for Windows XP and Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 and above and can be downloaded over here.