Google Desktop 2
Google Desktop 2 organizes search, news, maps, apps, and weather, as well as your recently accessed files and Web visits into a tidy package of miniportals on your desktop. Third-party programmers have already added dozens of useful tools to Desktop, with more sure to come. This personalized desktop portal is well organized if you spend some time getting used to it and setting your preferences. The privacy-minded should appreciate the level of control. While we were puzzled by some of the automated, dynamic content displays, we found this tool fun to play with and easy to adjust to our liking. We recommend Google Desktop 2 for people who want to easily access shortcuts to their most-frequented files, Web pages, and applications from their desktop, especially for those seeking an alternative to the clunky navigation of Windows XP.
Installing Google Desktop 2 on our Windows XP computer went smoothly and took less than five minutes in our tests. If you're ultraconscientious about privacy, scrutinize the Preferences page via the Sidebar's top drop-down menu, which lets you choose what to hide or reveal to Google.
Once Google Desktop 2 is open, the Sidebar appears in a narrow column within the right-hand edge of your screen. The gray interface is subtle and sparse, given its bevy of content. Modules include Photos, Maps, plug-ins to add more panels that display a PC system monitor, a calendar, content from iTunes, your American Express transactions, and more. Click any panel to expand details to the left of it. Click Maps to extend a miniwindow, where you can type in a search that opens a browser window to Google Local. To hide the Sidebar, click the top drop-down arrow to display the search box either as the Deskbar on the bottom of your screen or as the Floating Deskbar., Email, News, Web Clips, Scratch Pad, Stocks, and Weather. To date, you can pick from hundreds of