Reviewer’s Guide – Google Desktop 4 (beta)
Info when you want it, right on your desktop
Google Desktop is a free downloadable application that offers an easy way to search for information on your
computer, across your personal computer network and from the web. It includes full text search over your
primary computer’s email, ?les, music, photos, chats and web pages you’ve viewed. By making your computer
searchable, Desktop puts your information easily within your reach and frees you from having to manually
organize it. Searching your computer is now as easy as searching the web with Google.
Google Desktop also gives you one-glance access to personalized and up-to-the-minute information from
the web with Sidebar and Google Gadgets, which can be placed anywhere on your desktop to show you
new email, weather, stock information, photos, personalized news, RSS/Atom feeds, and more. Sidebar is
personalized automatically, with no manual con?guration required (though you can make customizations if
• You can now customize your desktop with Google Gadgets, visually appealing interactive mini-
applications of any shape and size that can be anything from games to weather globes to media players.
• You can also save your gadget content and settings online in order to protect your info from computer
crashes and access it from other computers by signing into your Google Account with Google Desktop.
For instance, you can now ‘synch’ the To Do list on both your laptop and your desktop.
• Google Desktop will recommend new gadgets and can also automatically create a personalized Google
homepage for you based on the subjects you’re most interested in. For example, if you’re constantly
doing searches on new movies, Google Desktop can suggest a movies gadget for your desktop.
• We’ve also integrated Google Desktop more fully with the rest of Google. For instance, you can now
add some Google Gadgets from your personalized homepage to your Sidebar, or anywhere else on your
desktop. You can also view upcoming birthdays with the orkut gadget, see what’s popular on Google
Videos, or access your Google Calendar right from your desktop.
• Improved indexing – When you move ?les, Google Desktop now updates your index more quickly and
accurately. You can also manually re-index your computer by clicking the Google Desktop icon in the taskbar
and selecting “Re-Index.”
• Easily add content to your web clips gadget – This improved gadget now allows you to stay up to date on
subjects you’re interested in by easily searching and adding web clips.
• Removing deleted ?les from search results – Some users like the fact that Google Desktop saves cached
versions of deleted ?les in case they need to retrieve them. But we know this isn’t for everyone. Don’t want
to see deleted ?les in your search results? Just enable the “remove deleted items” option in your Desktop
To download Google Desktop 4 go to http://desktop.google.com.
The application is about 1.5 MB. It will take several seconds to download over broadband or several
minutes over a modem. After you install it, Desktop automatically starts itself and will start up whenever
Google Desktop 4 is currently available for Windows XP and Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 and above. It
requires 500 MB of available space on your hard disk. We also recommend a minimum of 256 MB of RAM
and a 400 MHz (or faster) Pentium processor.
At present, it is available in 7 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Brazilian
Portuguese; we plan to extend it to more languages soon. The previous version, Google Desktop 3, is also
available in traditional and simpli?ed Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, and
Google Gadgets and Sidebar
Want a clock on your computer desktop? How about a calendar, a WiFi indicator, a TV, or anything else you
can dream up?
Say hello to Google Gadgets. These interactive mini-applications can be anything from games to search
tools to media players, and they can be any shape and size; why not use a weather globe, for instance, to
show you the latest forecast? We’ve got plenty of ready-made gadgets for you to add to your desktop, but
they’re also so easy to create that you can probably ?gure out how to build your own.
You can place your Google Gadgets in your Sidebar – a small vertical window on the side of your screen
– or anywhere on your desktop. They’ll remain on your desktop even when your Sidebar is minimized,
and you can quickly hide or unhide all your Google Gadgets by clicking on the “gagdets” button or
hitting the “Shift” key twice.
Google Desktop includes the following Google Gadgets:
Email: You can read new email, including Gmail, as soon as you get it. Click on an email subject to
read the full email in the details pane.
News: See the latest headlines, personalized based on the articles you read in Sidebar and in your
browser. Click on a headline to read the beginning of the article in the details pane.
Weather: You can keep track of weather forecasts for multiple locations. Click on a weather location to
see more details about current conditions there, as well as the 4-day forecast.
Photos: This gadget will show you a slideshow of photos from the web and from your computer; click
on any image to see a larger view.
Stocks: Keep track of up-to-the-minute prices for your favorite stocks. We show real-time prices (not
15 minutes delayed), if available. Click the stock’s ticker symbol to see its current price, point change,
percent change, daily graph, recent news and other info in the details pane.
Web Clips: Subscribing to RSS and Atom feeds automatically puts articles and other web items that
you’re most interested in on your desktop. Click on an item to read the entire clip’s content in the
Scratch Pad: Type and save notes for yourself. The Scratch Pad automatically saves itself whenever you
type a character in it, so you don’t even have to worry about remembering to hit ‘save.’
Quick View: Keep a list of the web pages and ?les you access most frequently right in your Sidebar.
Maps: Find maps and satellite images of locations around the world. Click on a map to see the larger
view and zoom and drag around the map.
Todo List: Your To-Do item list now lives in your Sidebar. You can easily add new tasks, check off
completed ones, and drag and drop items.
System Monitor: Keep track of your computer’s performance with System Monitor, which displays CPU,
memory, disk, and network usage.
Analog Clock: Why squint for the time when you can keep an actual clock on your desktop? The Analog
Clock’s time is automatically set to your system clock, and you can choose from among 8 delicious
shades for your clock face’s color.
Digital Clock: Get digi with it. Same as the Analog Clock, only with digits instead of those cute retro
Desktop Calendar: Be able to see the current date and a whole month right at a glance. The date is
automatically set to your system calendar.
Battery Meter: Stay juiced by checking your computer’s battery power with one glance.
Wireless Signal Meter: What’s in the air? This gadget detects wireless network signal strength in your
Media Player Remote: Yes, you can play music and videos right on your desktop. Just drag and drop your
songs or video ? les into this gadget and watch the display change to re? ect artist and title. You can change
the track and volume.
Orkut Birthdays: Make sure you’ll always have enough time to send a card or plan a surprise party by
viewing upcoming birthdays of your orkut friends right from your desktop.
To ? nd additional Google Gadgets, click “Add +” at the top of your Sidebar or select “Add gadgets…” from
the Options menu. You may select gadgets by category, do a search for speci? c ones, or browse for them at
Google Gadgets are also fairly easy to create on your own. If you’re interested in giving that a try, please visit
Saving gadget content and settings
If you have a Google Account, you can choose to save your Google Gadget content and settings online,
which will allow you to easily restore it should you need to re-install Google Desktop. You’ll also be able to
access your gadget content from your other computers by logging into your Google Account with Google
Desktop (for instance, you can now ‘synch’ the To Do list on both your laptop and your desktop machine).
To enable this feature, you must provide your Google Account login and password through the Google
Desktop preferences page.
You can also choose which speci? c gadgets you’d like to synchronize across your computers by checking
the box next to “Save settings” from the “Con? gure/Remove gadgets” tab of the “Con? gure gadgets” menu
in the Sidebar. If this box is unchecked, the gadget’s information will only be stored locally, and won’t be
accessible across multiple computers.
In order to share information across separate computers, it must ? rst be cached on Google Desktop’s
servers. This information is protected using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to transfer and receive data
with your authorized Google Desktop computers, and access to this personal information is restricted in
If at any time you’d like to clear this data from Google Desktop’s servers, click the “Clear my gadget
settings from Google” button located under the “Google Account Features” tab. You can also stop saving
your Google Gadget content and settings by un-checking the box next to “Access my gadget content and
settings…” under the “Google Account Features” tab.
Google Gadget recommendations
Google Desktop 4 makes it easier than ever to discover and add new and useful gadgets to your desktop.
In fact, the new “Add/Remove gadgets” interface can actually recommend gadgets. For example, if you
constantly search for new movies, Desktop can suggest that you add a movies gadget to your desktop. The
program will base this list on the websites you’ve visited, the Google Gadgets you use most, preferred news
categories such as technology or sports, and the applications you run.
Please be assured that Desktop determines these settings locally on your computer and doesn’t send
this information externally or make it accessible to Google’s servers. Desktop sends certain non-personal
information to Google to gauge the program’s performance and reliability, but Google doesn’t store a list
of the programs you run or the content of your ? les and emails. You can disable sending non-personal
information at any time from the Google Desktop Preferences page.
If you prefer not to see recommended gadgets, you can click on “New,” “All,” or any of the other
categories in the “Add gadgets” menu to see a list of interesting gadgets. You can also choose to un-check
the “Notify me when there are new gadget recommendations for me” option.
Personalized homepage gadgets
You can now add some personalized homepage gadgets to your desktop or Sidebar. If you see a particular
personalized homepage gadget you’d like to add to your desktop or Sidebar, simply select “Add gadgets…”
from the Options menu on your Sidebar and search for the name of the gadget you’re interested in. If the
gadget is listed in the search results, it can be added to your desktop. Please note, however, that not all
personalized homepage gadgets can be added to your desktop.
Google Desktop enables you to share some information with a friend through email, chat, or the Google
Gadget. To enable sharing through chat and the Google Gadget, you both must be logged into Google Talk.
To use this feature, right-click on an item (like an interesting news article) and click “Send to” to send it to
Creating a personalized Google homepage
Google Desktop 4 now offers an easy way to create a personalized Google homepage when you ?rst install
the program. Desktop can personalize and automatically present you with personalized homepage gadgets
related to your interests from the large library of existing gadgets. Here’s how it works:
In order to make the personalization process simple, Google Desktop will analyze the way you interact with
your computer. For example, Desktop can often predict your local weather, favorite stocks, frequently viewed
news and entertainment sites, and more. The program bases suggestions on data such as sites you’ve
visited, the Sidebar gadgets you use most, your preferred news sources and more.
Note that, as with gadget suggestions above, this personalization process occurs locally; no private or
personally identifying information leaves your computer. If you choose to have a personalized homepage
created for you, the list of gadgets will then be sent to our servers. If you’d prefer to not personalize
your Google homepage, simply click “No, don’t personalize my homepage” during the Google Desktop
After it has been created, you can visit your personalized homepage at http://www.google.com/ig. This page
will only be available from this computer; if you’d like to be able to access it from other computers, you’ll
need to sign up for a Google Account.
Indexing your ? les
After installation, Desktop starts indexing the email, ?les and web history stored on your computer. This
process occurs while you aren’t using your computer, so indexing shouldn’t slow down its performance. This
one-time indexing occurs whenever your computer is idle for more than 30 seconds, and depending on the
number of items on your computer, it can take several hours (try installing it late at night, or before you go
to lunch). You can search the indexed items at any time; you can also restart your computer and indexing
will resume when you restart it.
Desktop also indexes new email as it’s received, ?les as they’re updated, web pages as they’re viewed,
and chats as you chat. Until an item has been indexed, however, Desktop won’t ?nd it, so if you search
your computer a few minutes after installing Desktop, you may only get a few results. You’ll see continued
improvement, however, until all your items have been cached. Note: you can tell Desktop to remove speci?c
items at any time.
If you make substantial changes to your hard drive, you now have the option of re-indexing your ? les. You
can do so by going to “Indexing” in the Options menu and selecting “Re-Index”. You can also go to the
“Local Indexing” tab on the “Desktop Preferences” page and select “Click here to re-index your ? les.”
When it launches for the ? rst time, Google Desktop automatically indexes these types of items on your
• Outlook contacts
• Outlook appointments
• Outlook tasks
• Internet Explorer
• Outlook notes
• AOL Instant Messenger
• Outlook journal
• Netscape Mail/Thunderbird
• Outlook Email
• Outlook Express
• Zip ? les
Start your search in any of these ways:
Enter your search terms into Sidebar, Deskbar or Floating Deskbar.
From Google.com, click the Desktop link above the search box.
Double-clicking the Google Desktop icon in the taskbar.
Quick Search Box
You can also access Desktop search from the Quick Search Box located in the center of your desktop.
Perform quick searches by using the Quick Search Box, which has the same functionality as the other
options for Desktop search. To show this search box at any time, just press the “Ctrl” key twice (pressing
Ctrl twice again will hide it). If you do not want the Quick Search Box at all, you can disable it on the
Google Desktop preference page.
By default, all Desktop search results are sorted by date. If you want to sort them by relevance to your
query terms, just click the “Sort by Relevance” link on the upper right of the page.
The Google Desktop search results page includes every type of item found in its index: ?les, emails, web
pages, chats, and “other” (contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries). Your results page
also shows you how many results of each type were found for the query. If you want to see just one type of
result, click on the link for that type. For example, if you click on the link for Email, the page will display
all of your email results. From this single-type results page, click the “All” link to return to a complete
You can ?lter your results even further: after clicking the “Files” link, you’ll see options to ?lter by speci?c
?letypes: Word, Powerpoint, Excel, HTML, PDF, Image formats (GIF, JPG, PNG, BMP), Audio formats
(WAV, MP3, AAC), and Video formats (WMV, MPG, AVI). After clicking the “Email” link, you can also ?lter
results by sender or recipient.
Individual ?le results have seven parts:
• An icon indicating the ?le type
• The ?le name, linked to the current version of the ?le itself
• A brief snippet from the ?le with your search terms highlighted
• The ?le’s full pathname (where it’s stored on your computer)
• A link to open the ?le in its folder, so that you can perform actions such as moving or emailing
• A link telling you how many versions of this ?le are in your Desktop cache
• The last time a new version of the ?le was indexed (if the ?le already existed when you ?rst
installed Google Desktop, this will be the ?le’s last modi?ed date). The date is linked to the
appropriate place in the Timeline view
Finding deleted ?les
Google Desktop creates cached copies (snapshots) of your email, ?les and other items each time you
view them. These copies are stored on your computer’s hard drive. As a result, you can often use Google
Desktop to ?nd items you deleted after you installed Google Desktop. Here’s how to ?nd them:
Enter your search terms and click “Search Desktop.” If the result you’re looking for has been deleted and
you click the link to the live version, you’ll see an error message. To access the cached copy instead, click
the “cached” link beneath the result.
You can also con?gure Desktop to prevent deleted items from appearing in your Desktop search results.
To do so, go to your Google Desktop Preferences page, check the box next to “Remove Deleted Items,”
and click on “Save Preferences”.
Regardless of which search tool (Deskbar, Sidebar, or Floating Deskbar) you initiate to search, Quick Find
makes it easy and fast to launch applications and search your desktop without having to use the Start
menu. For example, from within any application, type a few letters or words into your Sidebar’s search
box and you’ll see the top results pop up instantly. For example, if you have Microsoft Word installed, type
“wor” into the Sidebar search box and select “Microsoft Word” in the list of results that appears. (You can
also use Quick Find from the Deskbar and Floating Deskbar.)
Quick Find includes the following features:
Quick List of Results: Launch applications and desktop search
results by typing a few letters or words in the search box.
You can open a result by using the up/down arrows on the
keyboard and pressing Enter or by clicking a result with your
mouse. Each result displays the item’s title/subject, URL, ?le
path or sender, and a snippet (if available).
Search the Web, Desktop, and more: By default, Quick
Find will search the web if you push “Enter” immediately
after typing a query. Under “Search More,” you can search your desktop, Google Images, Groups, Froogle,
Local, News, and any custom searches that you created if you had the older version of the Google Deskbar
Tooltips: Move your mouse over a result to get more information, including the full title/subject, full URL/
path/ sender’s email address, recipient’s email address, and date to help you decide whether to open the
item or not.
See All Results in a Browser: By default, Quick Find will display up to 6 results. If there are more results
available or you’d like to see all the results in a browser (to access the cached view of an item, for
example), click “See all desktop results in a browser.