Google Desktop Turns 5.0
Google Desktop 5's gadgets, like the gadgets of Vista's Sidebar, use transparency effects to minimize their appearance on the screen: A strip of the screen that features a few miniature programs floating over the usual desktop background looks much less cluttered than a solid column of these applets.
Some of Google Desktop's gadgets have been revised with this release--the new scratch-pad, weather and calendar applets nicely use transparency effects. But others look the same as ever. (Can somebody at Google please fix the calendar so it recognizes my typing when I click on it, instead of making me first click on one of its buttons?)
Some desktop-search results can now be previewed right in your browser, which can save time otherwise spent waiting to launch your e-mail program or word processor.
I wish I could say that Google Desktop 5 takes less memory and starts faster than GD4, but it seems to be slightly worse in both respects.
Google also now offers a Mac version of Google Desktop, but I have yet to try it out. The primary benefits it offers over the Spotlight searching built into OS X are Web-history indexing (which would be helpful) and Gmail indexing (sorry, don't use Gmail enough to need that), and neither seem worth having all this program's offstage components active on my Mac.
Are you a Google Desktop user--on Windows or in Mac OS X? If so, what would you like the next release to offer?
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