Google Desktop 2

Well, that was good timing. One day later (even less actually - it was a measly 14 hours before the relevant remaindering), Google goes and releases Google Desktop 2. I have installed it and, very generally, I like it.

I like that it integrates with Firefox and Thunderbird by default and automatically. I didn't have to tell it my Gmail username and password for it to display incoming mail from Thunderbird. Apparently, the Web Clips panel adds subscriptions for websites I visit frequently in Firefox, automatically. (OMG they're trying to rename RSS WTF STFU!)

At the moment I use a custom native Windows XP toolbar. At the top I have a collection of frequently used files and folders, below which is the MSN Windows tooltop deskbar search text field jobby. Below that I have the contents of the My Recent Documents folder, i.e. twenty of the most recently used files and their containing folders.

GD2 can replace much of this functionality with its Quick View panel, and I can merge the rest with the toolbar on the left of my desktop. But, there are a few things that'll stop me from getting rid of my current setup and using GD2 full-time:

  1. The sidebar can be auto-hidden, but it stays “always on top”; so the far top-right corner of the screen is no longer the currently maximised window's Close button, it's now just dead space on the sidebar.
  2. When I point to the right edge of the screen the sidebar waits for a short while before appearing; this is obviously to prevent it popping up in front of a maximised window when I'm just trying to scroll, but that wouldn't be a problem if the sidebar didn't insist on being “always on top”.
  3. When I click away from MSN Deskbar Windows Tool Search, it automatically dismisses itself and leaves me alone; GD2 persists, in front of everything else of course.
  4. I've already got used to pressing F10 and having Windows Desktop MSN Bar focus itself; GD2 needs this option (and I have to be able to make it F10, not Ctrl+Shift+G or something similarly intricate).
  5. I'd like to be able to see more than ten search results without opening a webpage. It doesn't matter how accurate the results are, it's not going to find all of a 13-track album. Desktop MSN Whatever still only shows 12, but the full-blown results window isn't a webpage.

There are a few other things I'd like to see fixed but that wouldn't necessarily stop me from using GD2:

  1. Much of the news content seems distinctly North American; maybe it's actually just international. Maybe me looking at more UK- and Europe-related news would fix this automatically for me. But it should be a bit smarter and offer more tailored content (and fix the spelling of the UI) based on my location.
  2. Panels should scroll automatically (where it makes sense), rather than just showing the first item
  3. It still seems a little eager to fire up a webpage; there should be an option to turn off all webpage-based UI and handle preferences through proper chrome (or it should just do that anyway)
  4. The search box is stuck to the bottom; maybe I want it at the top, or somewhere in the middle.
  5. When I resize the preview box for news items (as I'm invited to by the grippy), I expect more content to be shown, not more whitespace.
  6. When I type Maximo Park I also want it to find Maxïmo Park, like a Google web search would.
  7. It'd be nice if there was a To Do panel that could integrate with my Sunbird iCalendar files, like Konfabulator's PIM Overview widget can. It'd be even better if it was an editor rather than just a display (only if it was properly interoperable with Sunbird, of course).
  8. I'm not allowed to move the deskbar out of the taskbar and into another native Windows XP toolbar, like I could with GDS and can with Desktop MSN Windows Search Toolbar.
  9. It'd be nice if the panels could automatically resize themselves to suit the amount of content they contain (as long as it happened while I wasn't looking).

So for now I'm sticking with Search Microsoft Desktop Windows If Google had been a day earlier, they might've just won.