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Misc. Technology

Google Desktop for Linux

On June 27th, Google released Desktop for Linux. I had looked for a download link on the main Desktop page but it only offered a download of Google Desktop for Windows and Mac. The only download link available that I could find was on the Google Desktop Blog.

I installed Desktop for Linux on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04. The installation process was very straightforward. The first thing I did after installing GDL was to turn off “Advanced Features”. Enabling this will send some search data over to Google, though, they claim it is non-personal data that is sent.

Hitting the Control key twice brings up GDL (unless you’re using Beryl and on a Desktop with no windows open). GDL appears to take a lot less resources than beagle but that could also be because beagle indexes a lot more file types than GDL. GDL searches through Thunderbird email but it would be nice if the search results showed where a specific email was found (mailbox name, application name, or Google Mail). It would also be great if GDL was able to search through contact lists and emails in Thunderbird, Evolution, and Gmail and show me all relevant correspondence with a given contact name or number. GDL does need to improve the ability of searching within Thunderbird. I can’t explicitly say that Evolution results are better as I haven’t used Evolution in a long time.

I have also found that GDL hasn’t indexed all of my OpenOffice or PDF documents. GDL routinely finds no results when I search for a specific person that I have received a PDF from and the PDF is saved on my Desktop. I would expect when I search for that person’s name, GDL would show me the email that I had received from this person, as well as the PDF on my desktop which has his name within the PDF as well.

It’s also a bit annoying that if you have turned on mouse focus in Beryl, the GDL window closes immediately when you move the mouse to another window on the Desktop. This makes taking screenshots impossible in Beryl.

Overall, GDL is not a bad version 1 but there are definitely enhancements that would make this desktop search application much better.

Take a look at my short video of GDL on Ubuntu (and first video on YouTube).

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