Google Desktop 2 review: Google Desktop 2

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The Good Google Desktop 2 has a clean interface; quick access to online and local apps and files; more than 100 plug-ins, with more sure to come from third-party developers.

The Bad Windows only; personalized content appears random at times; control over RSS feeds is limited, and they don't integrate with Google Reader.

The Bottom Line The brainy Google Desktop 2 does a mixed job anticipating the content you want. Still, it provides a handy link to files, apps, and Web sites that you access the most, and its search is powerful, too.

Visit for details.

7.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Support 6

Review Sections

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.

Google Desktop 2 may not please you if you feel too uneasy to entrust your computing and surfing habits to an outside party. Still, Google's privacy policy insists that "without your explicit permission," it won't collect your name, address, or the content of your computer. Therefore, uncheck Advanced Features if you don't want to send Google data about the Web sites you visit. From Preferences, you can also block specific files, folders, e-mail, and Web sites from being indexed. The Google Desktop 2 Enterprise edition gives network administrators full control over settings. See the user guide for more on encrypting your files. You may find Google Desktop 2 only minimally useful with Advanced Features turned off. For example, enabling Advanced Features allows the app to display personalized news and photos. We liked that this program didn't ask to reset our browser home page or add desktop icons.

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