Google Desktop finally out for Linux

Google launched a Linux version of Google Desktop on Wednesday, almost three years after the product's launch for the Windows operating system.

The application, designed for indexing and finding data in PCs, as well as for searching the Web, also comes in a Mac OS X version, introduced in April of this year.

Like the Mac OS X version, Google Desktop for Linux is a beta, or test, product. The Windows version shed its beta tag already, meaning Google considers it a more stable and mature product.

At this point, Google Desktop for Linux does not feature the Sidebar and Gadget features present in the Windows version.

Gadgets are mini-applications that display things such as e-mail, weather data, photos and news on the desktop. The Sidebar is a vertical panel where the Gadgets can be organized.

Mohammed Masud, a Linux enthusiast and a fan of Google Desktop's Windows version, is excited about the Linux port.

"I tried to use the alternative desktop search on Linux, Beagle, but it wasn't really appealing. Beagle was a memory hog and slowed down the system," he wrote in an e-mail interview.

Masud gave Google Desktop for Linux a test spin and liked it, although he misses the Sidebar and Gadgets. "It does its job as a desktop search [tool] first and hopefully the other features will come later," wrote Masud, who lives in New York City.

He gives Google credit for caring enough about Linux to port the product. "It really makes me feel that there's at least one major software/search company looking out for Linux," Masud wrote.

This Linux version, developed by Google's Beijing engineering team, is available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, simplified and traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

Google Desktop for Linux runs on Debian 4.0, Fedora Core 6, Ubuntu 6.10, SUSE 10.1, and Red Flag 5.

Users can download it for free from this Web site.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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