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Google Kills Desktop Search and Gadgets 138

CWmike writes with an article in Computerworld about Google axing yet another product. From the article:"Google has decided to retire Desktop, an application it first launched in 2004 that is designed to let people search for files and data stored in their computers' hard drives. It was one of the first products Google aimed against Microsoft and was intended to improve upon the native search functionality found in Windows. Desktop search became an area of competition, as Microsoft responded to the challenge and others such as Yahoo launched their own products. However, Google has decided that, with the popularity of cloud computing and users' increasing comfort with Web apps, the time has come to decommission Desktop, it said in a recent blog post. As of September 14, Google will also end support for Desktop APIs, services, plug-ins and gadgets." From the looks of it the announcement implies that Google Gadgets are getting the axe too, which a few more people might be using.
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Google Kills Desktop Search and Gadgets

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  • Google has decided that, with the popularity of cloud computing and users' increasing comfort with Web apps, the time has come to decommission Desktop

    I really don't like this development. Web apps tend to be really buggy and never really work as required. Either the feel is slow, you accidentally click somewhere or do something that loses all your work and most of the just doesn't feel as good as desktop app. I can't see anyone serious moving from Microsoft Office to Google's web-based offerings. Imagine if you had to do all your real development and coding within some web application. The same goes for games. I rather play real good games than some Farm

    • I really don't like this development. Desktop apps tend to be really buggy and never really work as required. Either the feel is slow, you accidentally click somewhere or do something that loses all your work and most of the just doesn't feel as good as desktop app. I can't see anyone serious moving from Google's web-based offerings to Microsoft Office.

      This is more accurate IMO. Have had tons of problems with Office at work, especially trying to collaborate on documents (can only use Excel, not Word, can

      • There are a few open source alternatives (search on Sourceforge) to Google's web apps that you could host yourself and that might get past your proprietary/enterprise/security concerns. The other benefits you cite for Google systems could be seen in such an arrangement without having to do too much setting up. I prefer this sort of arrangement to handing it to a third party and it avoids giving yet more information to Google (or another provider).
      • And the great thing about web apps, at least Google's, is that they do autosaves so your data is safe.

        Yes, because autosave hasn't been available since at least Office 97. Oh, wait...

    • "Google is destroying computers."

      Not mine.

      "Imagine if you had to do all your real development and coding within some web application."

      Why? I don't nor will I ever.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously, Google Desktop sucks. It slows your whole machine down to provide a service that the Windows XP search has provided for some time. And since it used to be bundled with all of Google's other offerings, it was unnecessarily ubiquitous. It is one of those things that I always clean off of a machine first when users complain that it is slowing down...

    • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @05:47PM (#37320968)

      I can't be the only person to think that the real reason is that the built in search features on Windows 7 (and Vista for that matter) are actually pretty good. I personally haven't felt the need to go grab a desktop search tool for windows since indexed searching was baked into the OS.

      • Yup. I think the Windows 7 one is superior to Vista in terms of recall speed as well, though I've never compared it to third-party desktop indexing software.

  • dup (Score:5, Informative)

    by Warwick Allison ( 209388 ) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @04:56PM (#37320472) Homepage

  • Too bad, it was one of the first google apps I ever used and really liked it. It turned me into google apps.
  • During that heyday of competing desktop search products, I tried all that I could find.

    I ended up settling on MS Desktop Search. It didn't seem to get in the way, searches were decent. To this day, it just runs on my work machines and comes in handy from time to time.

    It's a very useful product when needed but not very sexy. I didn't RTA, but I presume Google got bored and couldn't monetize their version.

    • by mr1911 ( 1942298 )
      Yeah, Google couldn't monetize desktop search. But it did keep their name as the verb for search, and help keep folks thinking Google.

      Is Google getting jealous of HP?
      • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

        Google doesn't actually want [] "Google" to be a verb.

        • by bonch ( 38532 )

          That's just how the trademark lawyers feel.

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          Let people start saying "Let me Bing that for you" on a regular basis and they'll stop complaining about it

      • Yeah, Google couldn't monetize desktop search.

        You do realise that every time you use(d) Google desktop search, it phoned home the results and updated your user profile at Google Central, which was then sold on to advertisers, as well as being copied to the relevant intelligence agecies if it contained any suspect words?

    • I thought google desktop search was narrowly better at finding things than what comes with windows now, but it was also more intrusive. Which is surprising. Since Windows 7 has indexed search and gadgets, there's no reason for either of these things to exist on Windows. The death of google gadgets on personalized google is a little more surprising.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've tried most of the indexing utilities for Windows, and Everything [] is the one I ended up choosing.

      It builds its index in seconds, and searches in realtime. It does not search inside files, though, but usually I know the filename.

  • I used Desktop every couple of years as an alternative to windows search, and it never seemed to work quite right with multiple physical drives (and i have... many) and the results tended to not be any better than explorer. Additionally, being in a web page style results page, made file manipulation annoying.
  • AAARGH! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jothar hillpeople ( 1789504 ) on Tuesday September 06, 2011 @05:03PM (#37320544)
    The cloud can't replace local storage. A 10mbps cable line is no match for an internal sata drive. And google desktop search is much faster than windows search, and is much better at finding emails than outlook's own search. I have come to rely on this at work, and am loathe to install windows search instead. I would love to see this become open-source.
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      I'd like to have Google's desktop search at work, but as it's Not Invented Here, it's considered a Security Risk.

      Pretty sure the CIO owns an assload of MSFT, as well.

      • I use Google Desktop Search at work. The IT people keep threatening to shut it down (but I guess Google beat them to it). It's immensely useful to help me sift through my email and files to find the one document that I need to forward to a colleague. But, due to security and privacy concerns, I can't have any of this data available online. If it's not running locally and stored locally, I can't use it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I also found google desktop search to be way faster than windows search and it was superior to searching emails than Outlook (what a slow, bloated application that is - everyone who hates on Lotus Notes must not be using Exchange/Outlook). Maybe the search in Windows 7 is finally up to par, but not in XP or Vista by a long shot.

    • The search in the cloud would happen within the servers of the cloud, not across a 10mbps connection. The query and result would however traverse the 10mbps connection. Is that not fast enough?
    • A 10mbps cable line is no match for a drunken yokel with a rented backhoe...

  • Makes sense. No ad money in desktop search, so why would an ad broker support such a product?
    • by obarel ( 670863 )

      They could bundle it with a webcam, so that they can, you know, just see what's missing in your life and send you a few suggestions.

      • Sorry, I just had a mental image of clipping. "I noticed your child is playing wii without the strap, might I suggest a few television retailers?"
  • You'd think Google would combine Desktop + Cloud search in their Desktop Search offering to provide seamless Cloud integration and use of Cloud as an online file backup.

    It appears Google would disagree.
    Cloud or nothing then!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... definitely a Google favourite these days.

    • Bait & Switch is when you advertise one product, then when the person shows up, you tell them it's not available and try to sell them something else. Discontinuing a no-longer-advertised product (and a FREE one at that!) is not even close to a bait & switch.
  • That's still working, right?

    • I always preferred Konfabulator over the others, even Windows Sidebar/Widgets, and way better than osx spotlight or whatever. It was turned into Yahoo Widgets [] a few years back...
  • ya, but windows search still sucks badly.

    thank god for everything (

    • Unfortunately, Everything works on local NTFS volumes only. Half a terabyte in my Vista setup is on USB drives that are FAT volumes. Worse, it only searches file names. No wonder it's fast and low-overhead. I usually need in-file searching. Vista's built-in search is actually pretty good. Very fine-grained control over indexing and it's easy to search in files with or without indexing. Everything, well, isn't really everything.
  • .. didn't go far enough. Why don't these companies actually try to develop full featured file management tool. I think there is a lot of cool apps that individual users could use if only a big company would throw its money behind it.

    1) Automatically sorting and tagging files
    2) Automatically finding valid duplicate files (i.e. by valid, not system files or important files)
    3) Keeping track of software and software like it /w suggestions of other software you might try/like, etc.

    There's tonnes of stuff they

    • A shame Google discontinues their desktop search. If you're looking for something to pick up where Google leaves, you might want to give liquidFOLDERS [] a try!
  • I don't want every search to list my porn files as the first item.

  • Dang, I actually use Google Gadgets on Linux. Luckily I only use it for the gadget/widget/whatever. So I'm not heavily invested. I'm sure I can find a replacement. Still a bummer though, it looked like it had potential for a great x-platform widget-ma-dohicky.
  • They're shutting down all sorts of things. See [] this includes: - Google Breadcrumb
    Fast Flip
    Google Sets
    City Tours
    Places Directory
    Image Swirl
    Google News Timeline
    App Inventor for Android (possibly open sourcing?)
    Google Squared
    Google Talk Guru
    Script Converter (replaced)
    Realtime Mytracks

    This sucks, I've always liked the little projects they have going on there. It sounds like they have some other things cooking though, and I'm happy to see them open sourc
  • Google Desktop has really helped hunt through a decade of docs when I need to do it. I know Microsoft released a desktop search but I use Google Desktop for the same reasons I don't use Bing for Internet search... I like Google's search better.

    Sad to see it go, but thanks Google for releasing it. I hope it will still be available and just closed to new development.

  • Why would Google put effort into a search product that doesn't allow them access to your data for targeted advertising?

  • Shutting down Desktop search really sucks. GDS was an amazing productivity tool and will be sorely missed; it was and still is so much better than the native search faculties available on Windows and OS X. The review I wrote about GDS [] in '05 still stands.
  • Google desktop is the only thing that makes my desktop usable - that can search my gigabytes of Outlook email, that makes my computer USEFUL!

    You can pry my Google Desktop out of my cold dead hands!

    I don't think Outlook search compares, nor do I think Microsoft's indexing compares. It's just not as comparable, in my opinion.
  • Windows does NOT have anything that comes close to Google Desktop's "Browse Timeline" feature. I don't know how many times I've used this to look for something I saw a week or two ago, but couldn't remember details. THAT is a Google Desktop feature I will really miss.
  • I use Google desktop search every day, and I hope they reconsider.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"