The Battle for Desktop Dominance | HT Tech

The Battle for Desktop Dominance

The battle for desktop dominance seems to be heating up with Google launching Google Desktop 2, writes Puneet Mehrotra.

| Updated on: Sep 29 2005, 20:09 IST

The battle for desktop dominance seems to be heating up with Google launching Google Desktop 2. It is the second version of an application launched recently. By using Google's trademark search software, it aims to be a more personalised version of products such as Apple's Dashboard and Yahoo's Konfabulator, programmes that deliver icons to the screen and keep photo, alarm clock, scheduling, music, currency converters and news applications running while the computer is in use.

Google's Desktop 2 can be downloaded for free. The tool analyses users' habits and interests in order to point one to Web pages, news stories and photos that they may find useful. According to Marissa Mayer, Google's director of product management for consumer products, the new release is a new, easier way to get information - even without searching. 'You can think of it as a personal web assistant,' says Marissa. Nikhil Bhatia, Google Desktop product manager, calls it 'an intelligent web agent'.

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The Features of Google Desktop 2

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Google Desktop doesn't just help you search your computer, it also helps you gather new information from the web with Sidebar, which appears as a small vertical window on the screen and is a new desktop feature that shows you your new email, weather and stock information, personalised news and RSS/Atom feeds, and more. Sidebar is personalised automatically, without any manual configuration required.

Google Desktop 2 enhances the desktop search experience. With Quick Find, you can now launch applications and see search results as you type without even opening a browser.  Desktop 2 has also extended Outlook integration, so you can search Google Desktop with the Outlook Toolbar and see results within Outlook itself. Finally, you can search even more stuff, including your Gmail, files on network drives, many Outlook data types (including Contacts, Tasks, Calendar, Notes and Journal) and MSN Messenger chats.

The Privacy Angle

A search tool on your computer and the worlds biggest search engine, does that make your computers files accessible to other users? Apparently not, Google Desktop doesn't make your computer's content accessible to Google or anyone else without your explicit consent. The application also offers privacy options such as encrypting the index and not indexing password-protected Office files or secure (HTTPS) web pages.
The Other Players

Google is competing with Yahoo, Microsoft in a bid to lure users with new applications and enhanced functionalities. Almost every fortnight we are seeing a new launch or an addition of an enhanced capability to the existing applications. The target is Internet searches and the growing market for Internet advertising. The tool poses a challenge to Microsoft, which plans to build new search features into the next version of the Windows operating system.

Google had 56 per cent of global search queries in June, compared with 48 per cent a year earlier, according to ComScore Networks, which tracks Web use. Yahoo's share fell to 22 per cent from 26 per cent and Microsoft Corp's MSN search engine rose to 11 per cent from 10 per cent.

Google Desktop Magic

If you are looking for an 'intelligent personal web assistant' Google Desktop 2 is just the right thing. You have with you an intelligent assistant that searches your desktop, files, mailbox, and instant messenger conversations and even your browser cache.

Puneet Mehrotra is a web strategist atwww.Cyberzest.comand editswww.MidnightEdition.comyou can email him on puneet

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First Published Date: 24 Aug, 16:58 IST