Google Desktop 2 comes out of beta

Google's desktop search product officially came out of beta with enhancements for users and developers.

Google has removed the beta, or test, tag from the consumer and enterprise versions of its Google Desktop 2 application for indexing and finding information stored in PCs, the Mountain View, California company said Thursday.

The applications can be downloaded for free from http://desktop.google.com (consumer version) and http://desktop.google.com/enterprise/ (enterprise version).

New enhancements include a brand new maps section on the product's Sidebar information panel, said Nikhil Bhatla, a Google product manager.

The maps panel customizes itself based on the user's online activities. For example, if a user visits the Web site of consumer electronics chain Best Buy and looks for a specific store address, the maps panel captures the zip code and displays a map of that location, Bhatla said.

Another enhancement is support for JavaScript to write Sidebar plug-ins. As JavaScript is a simple scripting language, adding support for it will make it easier and faster for developers to create these plug-ins, he said.

Currently, over 100 Sidebar plug-ins have been created, he said.

Unlike the consumer version, the enterprise version of Google Desktop has management and security features that IT departments typically require for rolling out and supporting desktop applications.

Google also launched Thursday an official Web log for the Google Desktop products at http://googledesktop.blogspot.com.

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