Windows of Opportunity For Google

    August 22, 2005

Google has launched version 2.0 of Google Desktop, the free software that lets you do a load of things from your PC in addition to searching for files.

‘Loads of things’ is the key phrase. This is far, far beyond purely search as the screenshots show. Focused on a sidebar or dashboard, the new Google Desktop aggregates email, news, RSS feeds, and more all in one place.

An article in today’s Financial Times (paid sub) has a very interesting take on Google’s new offering:

[…] Microsoft, which has been playing catch-up with Google in search, could feel Desktop is invading its control of the user interface in Windows, ahead of the introduction of its next-generation Vista operating system next year.

Analysts said the upgraded software, which allows users to launch programs, search their hard drives and access recent documents and emails, could be used as an alternative to Microsoft’s operating system.

I really can’t see how this would be an alternative to any Microsoft operating system (you need the OS on which to run the application) unless Google’s getting into the OS business. But maybe this from the FT’s article might explain that idea a little more:

[…] Google Desktop 2.0 features a “sidebar” a single-column stand-alone strip of information that includes news, weather, stock data, a notepad, photos and easy links to frequently accessed data and programs. “I would describe Sidebar as a dashboard, or a series of shortcuts that circumvent the need to go through the Microsoft operating system. It’s an integration of content on your desktop as well as from the internet,” says Greg Sterling, analyst with the Kelsey Group.

While I remain a big fan of Copernic Desktop Search – now version 1.6, and very good indeed – as my preferred desktop-based search tool, maybe it’s time to look at Google’s greatly expanded offering. I’ve stuck with Copernic since the beginning of this year after trying out most of the search tools now on the market. But Google Desktop version 2.0 does look very attractive indeed.

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