Google Desktop goes Linux

Company releases Linux version of desktop search software, which simultaneously scans the Web and computer-stored data for results.

Google was set to launch late on Wednesday a beta version of Google Desktop search for Linux in a sign of encouragement by the search giant for Linux on the desktop.

Google Desktop allows people to search the Web while also searching the full text of all the information on their computer, including Gmail and their Web search history. Because the index is stored locally on the computer, users can access Gmail and Web history while offline.

Google Desktop for Linux was written natively and uses Google's own desktop search algorithms, not existing Linux search applications such as Beagle, a company representative said. Only computers with x86 processors can use the software. It supports the Debian 4.0, Fedora Core 6, Ubuntu 6.10, Novell Suse 10.1 and Red Hat 5 versions of Linux, and uses either the KDE and GNOME graphical user interfaces.

Although Google has released other projects as open-source software, where it can be freely modified and redistributed by anyone, Google Desktop for Linux is proprietary. The software was developed by Google's Beijing engineering team and is available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

Google also offers Linux versions of its Picasa photo-editing software, as well as Google Earth and Google Toolbar for Firefox.

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