Google Desktop

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Google Desktop was a free program that users could download to search desktop files using a Google search form, but the product was discontinued by Google in September 2011.[1] The application consisted of two main features:[1]

  • Desktop Search - Search desktop files using a Google search form.
  • Sidebar with Gadgets - Customize the desktop and add features like news and weather.

Desktop Search

Users can select to search the files in their computer under the the tab "Desktop" on the Google homepage after downloading this application.[2] According to the Google Desktop website, the application "provides full text search over your email, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail, web pages that you've viewed, and more."[2] Features of Desktop Search include:[2]

  • Search results sorted by relevance, with file name and snippet with search terms highlighted.
  • Filter results by document type.
  • Preview Desktop search results in browser.
  • Quick Search Box, accessible by pressing "Ctrl" button twice.
  • Smart indexing of email, file, and web history.
  • Find deleted files through cached copies of files.
  • Advanced search form.
  • Integration with Outlook to search email.
  • Lock search to prevent Desktop searching.

Gadgets and Sidebar

The Google Sidebar, a vertical sidebar accessible on the desktop, is a control panel for Google Gadgets, "interactive mini-applications that can be placed anywhere on your desktop or on your iGoogle page to show you new email, weather, photos and personalized news."[2] The Gadgets can be dragged and dropped into or out of the Sidebar, and the Sidebar can be minimized into a Deskbar (which includes a search bar).[2] Users can add and search for new Gadgets through the Add Gadgets interface.[2]


The Official Google Blog announced on September 2, 2011:[3]

In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing, as well as the integration of search and gadget functionality into most modern operating systems. People now have instant access to their data, whether online or offline. As this was the goal of Google Desktop, the product will be discontinued on September 14, including all the associated APIs, services, plugins, gadgets and support.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Google desktop." Google Desktop website, (link no longer available). Accessed September 14, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Features." Google Desktop website, (link no longer available). Accessed September 14, 2011.
  3. Weblog entry. Eustace, Alan. "A fall spring-clean." The Official Google Blog. Google. Posted on September 2, 2011. Accessed September 14, 2011.

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