When it comes to technology, I like to live dangerously (meaning I like to download new tools and such and later spend a week trying to reconfigure my ThinkPad unloading and fixing whatever the download screwed up).
Google today released a new version of its desktop search engine, Google Desktop 2 today, so I figured why not? I had already found the Google desktop search engine to be extremely useful for finding presentations, documents, and the like that I knew to be on my hard drive, but could never find just plopping through folders on my desktop. So, I downloaded the new Google Desktop beta to give it a test drive.
In a limited first look, the new Google tool appears to be a sort of convenient embedded toolbar that provides a quick way to get access to key information: email (both Gmail and Outlook), news, weather, stocks, etc. It also enables easy access to RSS and Atom feeds, which have heretofore been relegated to being unearthed via separate RSS readers and, to Yahoo's credit, via MyYahoo (more on RSS in a future post).
So far, the best component I've found in the new Desktop beta is the "Quick Find" tool, which helps you launch applications and find information much faster than I've ever been able to with traditional Windows navigational tools. For fun, there's also a Photo Slideshow tool that finds photos on your hard drive and produces them in a constant slideshow shown via a small window embedded in the desktop tool.
To really get the most out the search capability, spend a few minutes reading through the "Advanced Google Desktop Search Operators." Even though you may not be a geek, you'll get a great sense of personal geeky satisfaction in your newfound command of Boolean logic and obscure search commands, and have something to talk about to your colleagues at the water cooler aside from who won last week's "American Idol." And, of course, it might actually help you find something faster.
Anything I can find to help me become more personally productive and organized these days is all good. Like so many of you, there's not nearly enough time in my day as it is, and the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time looking for stuff. The Google Desktop 2 beta makes doing just that fun and faster -- a winning combination.