Friday, March 9, 2007

Google Desktop 5 Review

Google launched a new version of its Desktop Search program named Google Desktop. Google Desktop was created to make searching on computers as easy as searching the web with Google. It provides full text search over your email, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, web pages that you've viewed, and many more. As a Windows XP users, Desktop can accurately locate documents in my PC as it indexes not only the title but also the inner text. Back to Desktop 5, what's so special about it? Actually, not too surprising. Here are the new stuff in Desktop 5:
  • Improved look-n-feel of the sidebar and some of the gadgets
    The new feeling is more Vista-like, for instance, the option buttons in the sidebar or the transparent background in the sidebar. Another update is the 'Add Gadgets' page. When scrolling over individual gadgets, it displays basic information about the gadget at the bottom of the page where previously users will have to visit visit a new web page. But compared with Mac dashboard (or even some Yahoo Widgets), Desktop still lack design talents though improvements could be seen in later versions. One thing I really dislike: when auto-hide is selected, the sidebar background becomes black when it appears on top of other screens (other than the desktop). It just does not look cool.

  • Introducing ranking in search results
    Before search results are arranged in date or relevancy. But relevancy here only takes into account text-matching. Desktop 5, however, tries to rank results according to factors such as whether the file is used recently and frequently, or have been designated as particularly important by the user, for instance through the creation of a desktop shortcut. This definitely improves the relevancy of search results but the problem is personalization takes time so users won't see any significant changes immediately.

  • Preview search results
    Instead of waiting for an entire application to open just to verify that you’ve found the file you were looking for, Desktop 5 provides preview for search results right inside the browser. This preview might come from the PlusBox idea in Google search but if users not only can preview text, but also preview images and play audio Desktop shall be much more powerful. Another inadequacy is that previews do not highlight the search term which means users will have to glance through the whole thing to find what they are looking for.

  • Better Security
    I was being mislead by the title as well. But as you read on ... "We care about your security", it explains more. Desktop will show a warning when you are about to visit a site that might be trying to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your computer whether you are clicking on links from documents, IMs and e-mails on your desktop or browsing the web itself. This feature is already available in Google web search and it definitely improves security of your computer. (This feature even protects you from those annoying MSN virus which says 'Is that you in the right corner of the photo? Is looks exactly like you!' and a link attached which actually redirects you to a site where a virus is installed on your computer.)

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