Google Desktop 3 Beta review

Elsewhere, things are as they were: the file viewer still relies on native applications too heavily, slowing the browsing process; unless you change a default setting, the search box opens a web search instead of a local one; and the sidebar continues to be an irrelevant annoyance even if you can now ‘un-dock’ modules and have them litter your Desktop.

Google Desktop 3 Beta review

We appreciate the ability to view cached copies of documents rather than the original itself – a feature from the web search side of things that transfers well onto the Desktop. This mirrors the content-caching abilities of heavyweights such as dtSearch. Google occasionally even shows a creative interface spark, such as in the timeline feature that can display all results for a particular day or month, for example. The integration with Google web searching is as good as you’d expect it to be, enabling Desktop results to be shown within web search result pages, and we were pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of the Outlook integration.

Google Desktop 3 is, then, an improvement. It doesn’t do much truly badly, but nor does it lift itself above merely adequate. By sticking with the online search interface and lack of advanced file viewer, Google has fallen even further behind the competitors who understand the difference between web and local searching.

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