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Google Desktop for Mac released
Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - 8:42 AM EST
Posted by: Brian

Google has released Google Desktop for Mac, a desktop search application that gives you easy access to information on your Mac and from the web. According to the company, Google Desktop makes searching your own email, files, music, photos, and more as easy as searching the web with Google. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and runs on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. The features include:

Quick Search Box
The Quick Search Box is your fastest way to do web and desktop searches and launch applications. You can call it up by pressing the Command key twice, and hide it by pressing Command key twice again. Type a few letters or words into the search box and your top results pop up instantly, including applications. For example, you can launch iTunes simply by typing "itu" into the Quick Search Box and pressing Return when iTunes appears as the first result.

Search Your Gmail and Web History
Not everything you're looking for lives on your Mac. Whether you're searching your computer or the Internet, Google Desktop helps you find it by searching your Gmail and web history along with your hard drive. Also because your index is stored locally on your own computer, you can even access your Gmail and web history while you're offline.

File Types
Google Desktop automatically indexes and allows you to search the full text of virtually all your files, including the following types:

  text files (.txt)
  email from Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage
  iChat transcripts
  Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  music and video files, including artist and song names
  Address Book contacts
  system preference panes
  file and folder names
  Google Desktop also searches file types that have a Spotlight importer.

Familiar Results
When you do a Desktop search, you'll see a list of search results. Each result, just like Google web search results, includes the file name and a brief snippet with your search terms highlighted. You can also filter for a particular type of item -- only emails, for instance -- by using the links at the top of your Desktop search results page.

Smart Indexing
After you install Google Desktop, it starts indexing the files that are already on your Mac. This one-time indexing is designed to peacefully co-exist with your normal work, so you can continue working while indexing takes place. Depending on how many files and other items you have on your computer, this process can take up to several hours. Once it's done, Desktop makes sure your index stays up to date by adding new email as you receive it, files as you update them, and web pages as you view them.

Google Integration
What if you already have the information you're looking for but don't realize it? When there are useful results on your Mac related to your Google web search, Google Desktop will include these files with your search results. There's also a simple command center for searching your computer, which you can access by clicking "Desktop" above the search box on Google.com.

File Versioning
Google Desktop creates cached copies (snapshots) of your files and other items each time you view them, and stores these copies on your Mac's hard drive. As a result, you can often use Desktop to find previous versions of your files or ones you've accidentally deleted.

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