Why would Mac OS X Tiger users need Google Desktop for Mac?

Apple Store“Mac users have been blessed with an easy-to-use tool for searching deep inside documents, not just their file names. So it struck me as odd that Google Inc. would be offering similar software,” Anick Jesdanun reports for The Associated Press. “But after playing with Google Desktop for Mac, I’m partly sold.”

Jesdanun reports, “Desktop shares many characteristics with the Spotlight search tool that Apple Inc. ships for free with new Mac computers. In fact, Desktop works by borrowing many of Spotlight’s core components and settings, so tweaks you make to Spotlight will automatically update Desktop.”

“But Desktop, a free download from Google’s Web site, goes further in letting you search Web pages you’ve visited and e-mail you’ve sent and received using Google’s Gmail service (you’re limited to one account, though). It also keeps previous versions of documents and those you’ve deleted — good or bad, depending on your vantage point,” Jesdanun reports.

“Like the Windows version, Desktop for Mac will keep track of most Web sites you visit, as long as you use the Safari, Firefox or Camino browser. So a search for “best of times” might pull up previously viewed Web sites on Charles Dickens besides the files already stored on your computer,” Jesdanun reports.

Jesdanun reports, “I find Spotlight very responsive and easy to use, but for pack rats like me never willing to delete anything, having yet another way to find my files can’t hurt.”


  1. I just wish to hell Apple would get Leopard on the door with network-enabled spotlight. Being able to search my machine is okay, but I really want is to be able to search our main document server. I generally know where I’ve saved things–our secretaries, on the other hand, have a server full of mis-saved stuff with just dates for files names, etc.

    I’ve got a G4 tower that’s going to be the “new” server just sitting unplugged just waiting for Leopard.

  2. google desktop CAN hurt, actually, installing it makes your make so slow, it becomes unusable.

    (indexing of my startup disk took over 24 hours)

    Google desktop has some advantages over Spotlight, that’s true.
    The idea of using some of spotlights preferences is a very stupid one.

    this means that u can’t disable spotlight when u use google desktop, u have 2 indexes, and 2 programs indexing your files every time u change them.

  3. I personally still find it’s easier to be neat than to use spotlight. Sure wish there was a button that just found the file like the old fashioned find did. I feel like a luddite. Spotlight needs big help with the user interface. I use it as last resort. (mac since 512 days)

  4. Why on Earth did Google waste the time, energy and money to release this thing?

    Spotlight is system level and works better. I only wish Spotlight could be set to WAIT until i finish typing something before searching.

    Like others, my hard drive churned to a near halt while GD was indexing my hard drive. I used it, but it gave me nothing appreciably better than Spotlight, plus it used RAM and hard drive space that I’d rather not surrender.

    So, I dumped it. But little did I realize that it installed an idiotic updater application that downloaded and installed GD without ANY warnings or dialogue boxes asking for permission to do so.

    No thanks Google.

  5. I have Google Desktop on my work machine. But I don’t find myself using it more than Spotlight. I don’t like the appearance of the search results window, although when I “view all results” for my search and they pop up in Safari with thumbnail icons and so on, I think that’s pretty neat.

    Anyway, GD will be good, in that it will make Apple improve Spotlight (let’s all hope). It’s a great tool, but as others have mentioned, it is restrictive in some ways (like why can’t I do a quoted search, for example?)

  6. Spotlight does take a bit of getting used to. But I personally find the “Show All” interface very user-friendly. Everything is grouped by filetype, see file locations (or image thumbnails) with a mouse click.

    I can see why pack rats would like Google Desktop. Personally, I feel like I’ve won a small victory each time I throw something away. Nor am I convinced that it’s a good idea to encourage the computer-using public never to throw away anything again.

  7. @Mr. Reeee

    Earlier this month I was reading an article by someone that tracked what all was installed and where, and there were some pretty scary, very low level component installations. That alone made me turn away. Truth is, I think its cool that Google went to the effort, unfortunately we see the underpinnings of a world that’s used to developing for Windows, where every third party developer wants to have total access to your entire system all the way down to the root level.

    Come on third party folks, even us regular Mac folks understand that there is a limit as to how much access any outsider should get to my local computer and hard drive.

    I’d really like to see Google scrap this thing and start over, and this time forget the moment by moment access to my personal life by anyone accept me.

  8. Ya, I am amazed that folks do this. Why would you want an index of the conents of your HD on some remote server (mirrored many times). We are steadily being lulled into an orwellian reality under the guise of convenience. What happens when all the data can be correlated with all your OTHER data… legally, and companies or your government can have a very precise profile of what kind of person you are… by the things you’ve bought, by the articles you’ve read, the places you’ve traveled, the types of things you choose to keep on your computer. Most folks will say, “well I have nothing to hide”… maybe you don’t, maybe you are an ideal candidate for a health insurer, or a sales position, or a Mortgage, or a sought after degree program…. Sounds far fetched, but so did a lot of things 100, 50, even 5 years ago.

  9. It sounds promising enough, but the technology really borrows from OS 10.4.x. The 10.3.x Panther won’t let you use the free Google software, and so isn’t it really just a bit more search capability with a lot less privacy? I think this should be better explained by Google before they get on to your desktop, this is a major trade off for enterprise computing, small business owners, and those that would like to keep information private.


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