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Upgraded Google Desktop Emerges From Beta

But how many people use Google's answer to the desktop? The company won't say.
Google Inc. said today that Google Desktop 2 and Google Desktop for Enterprise have emerged from beta testing and can now be considered full-fledged software. In a sure sign that the search software has finally arrived, Google Desktop has its own blog.

While Google is not shy in promoting its software, it considers the software's user base a closely guarded secret. "Unfortunately we can't release stats on downloads or number of users," company spokeswoman Sonya Borlav wrote in an E-mail. "I can tell you we've been extremely happy with the interest in the product thus far."

According to the company, the updated version of Google Desktop 2 features enhancements, new third-party panels, and improved plug-in development options.

The most notable enhancement is the Personalized Maps Panel. This new Sidebar panel displays maps related to the Web pages you're visiting and your location.

Google says it's also improved the Google Desktop API to make it easier for developers to create new Panel plugins. And the company has lowered the bar for becoming a plugin developer by supporting JavaScript, a relatively simple scripting language, for plugin creation.

There are already a significant number of Google Desktop plugins available. These include iTunes and Winamp plugins, a dictionary, and an American Express panel for tracking credit card transactions in real time—just the thing to monitor identity thieves that could be racking up charges on your card in some distant country.

Google Desktop for Enterprise features improved administration and security options, and now can search IBM Lotus Notes messages.

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