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Google Unveils Desktop for the Mac

By Tim Gray MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Apr 5, 2007 8:45 AM PT

Google has released the first Mac-based version of its Desktop tool, which is also compatible with Apple's Spotlight search feature.

Google Unveils Desktop for the Mac

Google Desktop for the Mac, much like the Windows version that has been available for several years, indexes the contents of a computer's hard drive and serves it on-screen in Google-style Web pages.

The utility searches the system's Web history and looks at any Gmail accounts, finding content in past file revisions and even deleted files, according to Google.

In the Spotlight

Although Mac users already have a search tool in Spotlight, Google said its product will work with the Mac OS X 10.4 feature, utilizing Spotlight plug-ins already installed on Mac systems. Google Desktop for the Mac will not search Spotlight's privacy list.

"This is a Mac product through and through," wrote Google software engineer Mike Pinkerton on a company blog, "From the bezel on our search box down to correctly (and securely) handling multiple users and FileVault."

FileVault encrypts and decrypts Mac files, on the fly.

The new tool also eliminates the need for developers to rewrite plug-ins specifically for Google.

Popular Tool?

The tool isn't likely to make a big splash among Apple users because Apple's built-in desktop search is sufficient and well-entrenched among the Mac crowd, Todd Day, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, told MacNewsWorld.

"It is more likely the tool will be more popular with those Mac users who really like Google products," Day said, "especially fans of Gmail."

It was inevitable the search giant would seek out the Mac audience, he added. "They don't want to miss out on a whole segment of users," said Day.

Keeping an Eye on You?

Google Desktop is launched with two taps on the Command key. As soon as users begin typing a search term, a window pops up displaying the last 10 matching results. Results are shown whether it's a document or an application.

Search results will not be sent to Google, said the company. It will not see or record Google Desktop results without user permission.

Google Desktop can also help users find deleted files -- it creates cached copies of files and other items each time they are accessed and then stores those copies on disk, according to the company.

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