Google Comes to the Desktop

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2004-11-01 Print this article Print

Google Desktop Search aims to make life easier by extending the company's excellent Web searching to the desktop—and it does, as long as you're a user of Microsoft products.

When it comes to looking for e-mail and files using Microsofts search functions, Ive always found the process sluggish and ineffective.

Google Desktop Search, a free download released last month, aims to make life easier by extending the companys excellent Web searching to the desktop—and it does, as long as youre a user of Microsoft products.

Once installed, Google Desktop Search—a 400KB applet—created an index of my files that allowed me to search within Microsoft Office and within text files on my hard drive, Outlook e-mail, AOL Instant Messenger chats and Web sites Ive visited.

Click here to see screenshots of Google Desktop Search. Although I found Google Desktop Search made it a lot more efficient to search through Microsoft Word documents, there are two things I really wish the application could do. As a user of Mozillas Firefox browser, I was disappointed to discover that Google Desktop Search supports only Microsofts Internet Explorer. (The Web browser interface, by the way, looks exactly like Googles Web site.) I also think enabling the application to search through Adobe Acrobat documents would be a capability that plenty of users would like to see.

Security and privacy concerns about Google Desktop Search have been brought up, particularly with regard to the ability to read Web-based e-mail and look at financial statements from cached Web sites.

Go to for more information.

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As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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