Thursday, August 25, 2005

Google: Delivering the Web to Your Desktop

Google has released its new desktop with Sidebar tool application, which has been developed with the concept of allowing the web to be delivered to you. It was designed with a "convenient, one-glance access to all sorts of personalized information" in the form of the sidebar. Google's Sidebar Feature includes the following plug-ins: Email, News, Weather, Photo, Stocks, Web Clips, Scratch Pad and Quick View.

Google's Sidebar Plug-In Features

Google's sidebar features have a mixture of the old and integration of new features for a more personalized twist to the desktop environment. The Sidebar Email plug-in is compatible with Google's Gmail service as well as Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape Mail, Thunderbird, and Mozilla Mail. To prevent private email from showing up on your Sidebars quick view, Google has supplied a filter option that allows users to filter emails based on words found or not found in emails, as well as the "To","From" and "Subject" field elimination.

Google's Sidebar News delivers articles related to those that you have read using your sidebar and browser; Google will then analyze the article(s) that users have read and deliver related stories. For personalized and better fitting results users have the option to select the "Do not show me items like this" box, therefore tweaking the results as time goes on. Additionally, Google Sidebar has a Web Clips plug-in, which updates every half hour - This tool reads RSS and Atom feeds from websites and automatically adds the most viewed posts to your tool, you can remove the auto-addition if you prefer to manually add feeds.

A couple of other handy plug-ins to the side bar are the Scratch Pad and Quick View. Scratch Pad automatically saves all the notes you type with out having to manually save them and the Quick View files web pages that you most often visit and files you access often. There are options to each of these that will take it a step further for user convenience.

Google's Quick Find

Google has not only developed an extremely personalized and user friendly sidebar, they have integrated a great feature in the desktop known as Quick Find to locate files from your computer and launch applications quickly and easily from one location. Google's newly expanded search capability allows you to search emails, files on your PC and network drives with one simple search query. As soon as you start typing in a file name it will produce all possible results extracted from Emails, Word or Excel documents and all other formats that shares that file name, unless specified to specific file format/type. You can personalize how you'd like your results shown to you whether it be via relevancy, file format or by date; you may also delete any file from appearing in your results by removing it from the index if you so wish. Google automatically indexes Email, Chats, Web History, Word, Excel, PowerPoint Documents, PDF and Media files, Contacts, Calendar appointments, tasks, notes, journal, text files, and web pages, during the initial set up of this application.

Privacy concerns have been a topic of conversation; Google has addressed this by offering the option of encrypting the search index and data files, as well as options for you exclude files and web pages from being included in search results. So you do have to go in and tweak it abit to better suit your preferences. Google's search software relies on the Windows Encrypted File System.

Currently Googles Desktop is available in English for Windows XP and Windows 2000 SP3 and up.