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It seems as though Google has done it again: released a product that is sure to send ripples through the software development and web development communities. Wall Street didn’t care -- Google stock is down, but that’s not the point.

The new “intelligent desktop standalone application that Google released on Monday features a fast loading handy sidebar, complete with modules that check stocks, email weather, and news. Hell, there’s even a “scratch pad for writing down notes. I hate geeks.

Speculation has been flying over what’s next. Is this going to integrate into a potential Google web browser? What about the new Google Operating system – is this part of it? My inclination is to say, no, its not part of either. However, I do see this as leading to more and more downloable pieces of software from Google. (As Google hones in on industry rivals like Yahoo and Microsoft.)

Google Desktop will likely integrate with Picasa, a photo sharing technology acquired by the search giant not long ago. (Currently the deskbar can display photos, but not with the help of Picasa.) I would also bet, that when Google Desktop 2 comes out (as the recently released application was a beta), it will include tie-ins to the Google mapping and local technology.

Perhaps one of the modules will be, “Driving directions, and “Find local businesses. The current application integrates with many important programs, including Excel, Outlook, Word, and others.

There’s also the whole matter of “search, afterall, that was the initial point behind this product. The software searches through emails, text documents, previously viewed web pages, and more. It’s actually kind of incredible.

However, this paranoid blogger will not be using Google desktop anytime soon. The search technology really freaks me out. I’ll stick to the old fashion way, hitting CTRL+F.

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Last Post by IGeovani
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I tend to agree with you, I don't like the idea of all this information about me being so easily accessible. I know the information doesn't really leave my computer, but it still sorta freaks me out. Also, the fact that I don't live alone means that someone could find out much more easily what I am doing on my computer (something I'd like to avoid).

In the past the google bar hasn't worked with Mozilla Thunderbird, which is my email client along with gmail (die outlook). I'm not sure if it works with Firefox either though I'd assume that it does. Really I get along just fine without the google bar. I don't think I really need it. If it came from just about any other company people would probobly jump on it for being spyware (but thats another issue).

I am getting somewhat tired of all this speculation about what Google is going to do next. I've heard them all: Google Browser, Google IM, Google OS, etc. Google is fundementally a search and advertising company. Why would they try to enter those markets. They are already completly saturated. They would be extremly unlikely to succeed in any of them. People forget Google is a business, and it's goal is to make money.

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"Google is fundamentally a search and advertising company"

Let's call that 'information distribution' shall we? The internet is a medium of information delivery. There's not much doubt, unless you're the world's greatest skeptic, that Google and Microsoft are currently engaged in a pretty serious battle for 'control' of the internet.


"The search technology really freaks me out."

Yep, it's a tad scary all right, but I'm trialling it at present and I have to say I'm impressed. I've lots and lots of data stored here, which often needs to be found, referenced, consulted or whatever else, and I'd have to admit that this search tool beats hunting for it with time honoured techniques! I've never found it easier to consult data that I just KNEW I had somewhere or other!

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I agree with benna that I don't like the idea of Google having access (at their discretion) to everything on my harddisk.
While they may not at the moment do so, there's nothing to prevent them from turning this thing into the biggest piece of spyware in existence and marketing it as "social engineering software" to "easily share documents with friends and make new friends online" so the punters will rush to it like moths to an open flame.
Google is getting far too invasive and intrusive for my taste, and I've already taken the first steps towards staying independent from them which is rejecting all their cookies.

Yes, they have impressive technology. But the possibilities for them abusing that technology are far too great and the results of such abuse far too lucrative for them to make me use it.

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I can't explain why, but I have some apprehensions, just as others have already expressed. I can't say I'm paranoid about privacy or that I'm worried about Google becoming another Microsoft (whatever that means).
Something about it just doesn't ... feel right. I know that's highly subjective and I can't really put my own finger on it, but I'm staying away from it, at least until I can define what it is that makes it feel kinda creepy!

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Took a while to cataloge everything on this PC and I'm damned impressed with the functionality it adds. Don't want to wade through reams of email messages looking for the job instruction the boss sent you a month ago?

Got it in a couple of seconds!

Don't want to wade through the program menu for that system utility you installed and only use every once in a while?

Type the name in the search box and click on the program icon!

Expecting a message to come in and want to attend to it as soon as it arrives?

Flick your eye toward the 'email' section of the Sidebar and you can keep track of what's coming in as you work!

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I should add that Google has posted loads of plugins on the Plugin page for the product.

All of these have been developed by 3rd parties.

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Hey, wait a minute, Catweazle! This thing can really search programs menu items too? That's actually pretty cool. For that alone I might have to at least give it a try.

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Tried, and Denied.

I decided to try Google Destop 2.0 Beta. After about 5 minutes, I uninstalled the program. Why? It has nothing to do with the, no doubt, fabulous features. The reason is the user interface.

The Google Desktop violates a fundemental tenant of user interface design: it overrides the choices the user has made.

We're given the choice of either docking the Google Deskop on the left, or the right. Well, I've placed certain specific icons in those places. What does the application do? MOVE THEM!

Well, that simply won't do. So I explored some more choices, perhaps to use the "floating deskbar". However, as soon as you expand it, it docks, and your icons are shunted aside, or otherwise rearranged.

Ok, well, I don't really need or care for all those panels. If I remove some of them, then the Desktop will be shorter/smaller, and perhaps won't scramble my desktop. Right? Wrong. The Google Desktop, apparently, is always "full screen height".

All mainstream applications I use/know, allow the user to change the size of the main application window. Not Google Desktop. Thus they break another fundamental rule of good application design: they don't adhere to user expectations.

Perhaps when the application gets out of Beta, Google will have ironed out the user interface issues. For one, each panel could be a "tear-away", that the user could position independently. Each panel should be resizable, and support a minimized/maximized functionality. Transparency (translucency) could be used, so that if a panel receives new content, it could temporarily show in semi-transparent mode, so that the user could choose to make it active/maximised, or to ignore it and let it "go away".

Until then, I'll do without knowing the weather in Honolulu, HI (let me guess, 72 and sunny, right?), robot-generated news, and the ability to search my system clutter and undeleted emails from 5 years ago.

P.S.

Uninstallation wasn't smooth or complete. The application directory was left behind, and could only be removed after rebooting. Also, the registry hive was left behindl, and had to be manually removed.

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That's a very important point, tgreer. The Google Desktop Search sidebar isn't a side panel on the desk top, but instead a side panel of the desktop. Minimise all open applications and it's still there!

In my article Is Google the Good Guy? I've addressed such concerns. The recently released Google tools aren't really being positioned as 'Applications' but instead as fundamental facets of the way we work with our systems.

I'm not so sure that these are 'application user interface' issues which will be 'ironed out' when the products get beyond Beta.

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