Why I won't install Google Desktop (yet)

Last Friday Patrick showed me the Google Desktop search software (check his blog for his thought’s, David has a nice vision too). Of course they need to fix the privacy issue, and I’m pretty sure they will. The usability of this application is pretty huge, but I’m still hesitating to use it. First of all, it’s running in a web browser. Why would the Google Desktop application or any other desktop application run inside a web browser? I want the rich user experience of a smart client! I want integration with the OS, with other applications; maybe I even want to use it from within a task pane (that would be cool!). My second concern is the privacy issue. Just imagine that the Google Desktop web server contains a security hole… all your sensitive information could be exposed on the internet. Scary isn’t it?

And last but not least, it’s not extensible. It would be great if you could create your own extension to the Google Desktop so other types of documents could be indexed (like the IFilter stuff). Further more, creating your own schemas to allow more targeted searches would be a killer feature too. Thoughtful readers may have noticed that I’m requesting features that are promised to be in WinFS. I know, WinFS is not yet here and the Google Desktop is. Maybe I will install the Google Desktop, maybe I won’t however at this point I’m not yet convinced. Don’t get me wrong, kudos to the Google Desktop team; you’ve got a potential killer application and I’m pretty sure some guys over Redmond are watching you very closely.

Btw, today I got a request for a GMail Invite from a Belgian colleague; I was a little bit surprised because I thought everyone would have at least one already! So if you need one, drop me a line and I’ll send you one right away.


  • I agree about the Desktop Search. I think the search space is interesting and has potential, but nobody is quite there for me yet.

    I keep trying things, and am actually using a couple of the products in a limited fashion, but I have not seen the app that really grabs me in this space yet.

  • I installed this the other day. One of the post effects I discovered was that after I've edited my SharePoint pages (through the browser interface), and then after navigating the site use the back button in my browser to the changed page I continue to see the cached page, i.e. the page before the latest changes. Anyone else noticed this?


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