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Vox Pop: Google Desktop Day 1?

So far, Google Desktop for the Mac isn't moving me.

I like the idea of it a lot. Integrating my Google and local searches and theoretically improving on Spotlight's UI and indexing foibles are laudable goals and, to my mind, could be useful additions if they're done properly. But, based on, admittedly, just 24 hours' usage, it hasn't provided a lot of new usefulness for my own purposes that isn't better served right now by a combination of Quicksilver and Spotlight.

When people ask me (ad nauseum nauseam [mea culpa]) to explain why they would ever need Quicksilver if they already have Spotlight, I opine that, while the latter does a good job of indexing the contents of your Mac world, the former does an outstanding job of helping you access and manipulate it in theoretically endless ways. They're actually very different things, and although they can and do work together, claiming they're trying to accomplish the same thing suggests a lack of exposure to what Quicksilver can do (as well as a dearth of experience in what Spotlight cannot).

In my fiddling with Google Desktop, I haven't seen anything that enhances a workflow that's based around Quicksilver and Spotlight. What GD could be is a single (but, to my mind, flawed) way to combine elements of both functionalities under one roof. But, my goodness, what you don't get with that approach.

As butt-sucking as the mystery-meat UI for Spotlight is (where in the hell does that Spotlight window live?), I do find it to be an understandable and nicely organized way to display a large of set of returns in an intelligent way. "Here's all the containers that have what you're looking for, organized by type, and by how closely we think it matches what you want."

So far, my Google Desktop returns -- both in the browser and from the Quicksilver-like search field -- seem like a less intelligent dump. It seems convenient without being useful. Maybe I need to spend more time with it. Or maybe I need to hold out for the inevitable Quicksilver plug-in.

But what say you? Will Google Desktop change your workflow? Will it replace application launchers and Spotlight, or do you see a way for it to integrate alongside them? What's Google Desktop doing very well that you'd like to see other apps and functionalities learn from? Does the integrated web search freak you out?

Comments are open for your thoughts.

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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