Google Desktop makes searching your computer as easy as searching the web with Google. It's a desktop search application that provides full text search over your email, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, web pages that you've viewed, and more. By making your computer searchable, Desktop puts your information easily within your reach and frees you from having to manually organize your files, emails and bookmarks.
Google Desktop doesn't just help you search your computer; it also helps you gather new information from the web and stay organized with gadgets and sidebar. Google Gadgets can be placed anywhere on your desktop to show you new email, weather, photos, personalized news, and more. Sidebar is a vertical bar on your desktop that helps you keep your gadgets organized.
When you do a Desktop search, you'll go to a page showing you the most relevant search results, each of which include the file name and a brief snippet with your search terms highlighted. You can filter for a particular type of item -- only files, for instance -- by using the links at the top of the page. You can now also preview your Desktop search results right inside the browser (no more waiting for an entire application to open just to verify that you've found the file you were looking for).
The fastest way to search the web, and your own computer, is to use the Quick Search Box in the center of your desktop (simply press the "Ctrl" button twice to call up the search box, and press "Ctrl" twice again to hide it). Just type a few letters or words into the search box and your top results pop up instantly. You can also use it to launch applications without having to surf the Start menu; for example, you can launch Microsoft Word by typing "wor" into the Quick Search Box and selecting "Microsoft Word" in the list of results that appears. Or, simply type in your search term and press "Enter" to search the web.
After you install it, Google Desktop starts indexing the email, files and web history stored on your computer. This one-time indexing occurs only when your computer is idle for more than 30 seconds, so it shouldn't slow down your machine's performance, but depending on the number of items, this process can take a total of several hours. Desktop also makes sure your index stays up to date by adding new email as you receive it, files as you update them and web pages as you view them.
The Google Desktop homepage is your command center for searching your computer. You can easily access this page by clicking "Desktop" above the search box on Google.com, or by double-clicking the Desktop icon in the taskbar on the lower-right-hand corner of your desktop.
Google Desktop creates cached copies (snapshots) of your files and other items each time you view them, and stores these copies on your computer's hard drive. As a result, you can often use Desktop to find items you accidently deleted, instead of having to recreate them from scratch.
Clicking "Advanced Search" next to the search box on the Desktop homepage brings up an advanced search form. You can easily specify the type(s) of search you want to do without having to remember specific search operators. You can also restrict what time period your results are from.
Google Desktop automatically indexes, and allows you to search the full text over, the following types of items on your computer:
- Outlook Outlook Express
- Internet Explorer
- AOL Instant Messenger
- MSN Messenger
- Google Talk
- Netscape Mail/Thunderbird
- Netscape / Firefox / Mozilla
- Zip Files