Google Desktop Update

Friday, September 02, 2011 at 12:48 PM

In 2004, Google launched Google Desktop, a program designed to make it easy for users to search their own PCs for emails, files, music, photos, Web pages and more.

Desktop has been used by tens of millions of people and we’ve been humbled by its usage and great user feedback. However, over the past seven years we’ve also witnessed some big changes in how users store and access their own data, with many moving to web-based applications. There has been a significant shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing, as well as integration of Google Desktop functionality (like local search) into most modern operating systems. This is a positive development for users and we’re excited that most people now have instant access to their personal information. As such, we’ll be discontinuing support for Google Desktop, including all of the associated APIs, services, plugins and gadgets.

As of September 14, Google Desktop will no longer be available for download, and existing installations will not be updated to include new features or fixes.

Thanks again to all of our users. It’s been a fun journey.

Tip: Build a quality gadget

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 3:48 PM

What makes a quality gadget?
  • Platform specification: If you create a gadget only for Windows, make sure that the gadget is not installable on Mac or Linux:
    <windows minimumGadgetHostVersion=""/>  <!-- Windows is supported -->
    <mac supported="no"/> <!-- No support for Mac -->
    For more information, check the gadget.gmanifest documentation.

  • Good performance: The gadget should make optimum use of the hardware and operating system services. The efficiency of software can usually be greatly improved by an intelligent choice of high-level algorithms, rather than using local "tricks" or optimizations that can lead to maintenance problems. Factors that may be of interest are response time and memory requirements.

  • Robustness: The gadget should continue to function in non-standard conditions such as incorrect user input. For example, when the user types something wrong, you can warn the user with a basic message box.

  • Appropriate interface: The gadget should be friendly and inviting to users. The design and choice of the interface should take into account the needs and capabilities of the users. Many times, gadget features are not utilized because the interface is difficult.

  • Documentation: The gadget must link to a website that provides support and information about the gadget. On the website, you can write detailed descriptions about what the gadget can do. And don’t forget to display your email address so the users can easily provide feedback about your gadget, offer to translate it, or report a bug. Try to always include a page with frequently asked questions. One good idea is to add a YouTube video about your gadget on the website to show what it can do.

Congratulations to Adam Hotz!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 12:08 PM

A new gadget by Adam Hotz is featured on the Inside Google Desktop blog. See the post Featured gadget: Task List and Timer.

Congratulations to Rosie Ojo!

Monday, April 20, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Yet another gadget by Rosie Ojo is featured on the Inside Google Desktop blog. See the post Featured gadget: Periodic Table Interactive.

Congratulations to Teodor Filimon!

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7:38 AM

A gadget by Teodor Filimon is featured on the Inside Google Desktop blog. See the post Featured gadget: Tabbed Todo List.

Congratulations to Prithvi Prabhu!

Monday, April 06, 2009 at 9:28 PM

A new gadget by Prithvi Prabhu is featured on the Inside Google Desktop blog. See the post Featured gadget: Resource Hog Tracker.

Tip: Provide a better About dialog

Friday, March 13, 2009 at 9:35 AM

What information must be in a gadget's About dialog? The About dialog certainly needs to display the gadget name. It should also contain:
  • The gadget creator's name (your name or your company's name)
  • A short description of what the gadget can do
  • The gadget's license, if any (for example, CC-License or Apache License)
Optionally, you can add information such as:
  • The version number of the gadget
  • A list of features introduced in this version of the gadget
  • A link to your website, so happy customers can get more gadgets from you or contact you
Here's an example of a good About dialog in my Fast shutdown gadget.

Tip: Use keyboard shortcuts in the Gadget Designer

Monday, February 23, 2009 at 9:48 AM

When writing code in the Google Desktop Gadget Designer, you most likely have used the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text.

Here are some other shortcuts to work faster in the Gadget Designer. They work only while editing text such as JavaScript and XML files.

Ctrl+DInserts a copy of the current line below the current line
Ctrl+L Deletes the current line
Ctrl+T Swaps the current line and the line above it
Ctrl+[0-9] Switches the current tab. For example, if the Preview window is positioned in the second tab, Ctrl+2 switches to that tab.

A completely new Gadget Designer

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:38 AM

A new and improved Google Desktop Gadget Designer is out, with a couple of major new features. The Designer editor now includes autocompletion support and function call tips for the Google Desktop Gadget API and the JavaScript language.

You can start autocompletion by typing the "." key or pressing Ctrl+Space. A list appears that displays objects, methods, properties, events, and constants to choose from, along with visual indicators to help you distinguish between them. Non-object related variables and functions are also dynamically recognized as you type them, and you'll see autocompletion suggestions based on your current scope. The following screenshot shows how Designer displays autocompletion suggestions for view object properties and methods that start with "s".

Call tips display function prototypes and short descriptions. They appear when you type an opening brace "(" or press Shift+Space. The following screenshot shows the call tip for the view.setInterval() method.

We sincerely hope that these new features will save you a lot of time while developing gadgets, making it that much more fun to bring your ideas to life. Please download the latest SDK and try out the new Gadget Designer.

IIT Google Desktop Developer Challenge II (2008)

Monday, February 09, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Google Desktop has active ambassadors all over the world who have successfully held programming contests and seminars at their schools.

As a stepping stone for bigger events, we held IIT Google Desktop Developer Challenge II at Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), Sri Lanka, last summer.

This is the second event we organized at IIT Sri Lanka; you can read about the first event.

IIT Google Desktop Developer Challenge II was a Google Desktop Gadget contest organized for student developers at our institute. Any student enrolled at IIT was eligible to take part, and the main purpose of the contest was to inspire new developers to try the Google Desktop APIs and develop gadgets.

First, the students who wished to participate in this contest had to hand in proposals, which contained a brief introduction to the gadget they planned to develop. After that, it was time for them to develop their gadgets. The completed gadgets were forwarded to a panel of experts including API Gurus and the Google Desktop team. All these steps were done online through the official website for the contest, powered by Google App Engine.

And now, we are very happy to announce the winners of the second successful ambassador event in Sri Lanka.

Nadeeshani Jayathilaka was selected as third runner up for the gadget Greeting Bird, while Shazin was selected as the second runner up the gadget Radio Pro. The first runner up was Hanitha Gnanathesigar for her gadget GHealth N Fitness.

The winner of the contest was Lakmal Jayathilaka, who created the gadget Text 2 Wav Converter.

We congratulate all the winners and would like to thank everyone who took part in this competition and who helped to make this event a success. You can view photos of the award ceremony on Picasa Web Albums. Last but not least, a special thanks to the Google Desktop team for the greatest support given.