It’s already been a few days since the new Google Desktop has been out and I had some time to play around with it. Besides a prettier button and a better looking quick search bar, there also have been some improvements to the API. For interested developers, there a few changes as stated in the Google Desktop APIs Blog:
- Radio buttons
- Combo boxes
- Sorting of clickable items based on click history within a gadget (see the ranking API)
- Built-in, styled text for buttons and checkboxes
- New properties to help you change the color and cropping of images
Moreover, Outlook search is said to be enhanced. Another cool feature is, that each gadget can be added as many times as you want, which could for example be used to manage separate to-do lists, having different count down timers or RSS readers.
However, the biggest change is the ability to add Desktop Gadgets to your iGoogle homepage. When Google Desktop started, there weren’t any iGoogle gadgets. Later, those iGoogle gadgets were made available to put on every webpage and also Google Desktop. Hence their name “universal gadgets”. But now, the Desktop Gadgets are getting kind of universal themselves: They can be easily added in the iGoogle Add Stuff dialog. Check them out here.
What does that mean for the gadget world? Google is pushing innovation and tries once more to break the barrier between the desktop and the web. True, you must have Google Desktop installed for running those gadgets on iGoogle, but not the full version. In fact, if you try to install a desktop gadget on iGoogle and don’t have the latest Google Desktop, you can install a “streamlined” version of Google Desktop with just one click. This version will do nothing but provide you the engine to display those gadgets. That means there will be no indexing of your hard drive and no sidebar. If you want to install the full GD, you can do that with a right click on the GD symbol and click “Enable Google Desktop”.
This is a very good solution, as everyone can enjoy their gadgets in iGoogle, even if they might not want to install Google Desktop fully. On the other hand, it will surely increase installation rate and thus, both products, Google Desktop and iGoogle are going to mutually profit from this latest move.
Here below is a screen, which shows some of the latest features. You can see three to-do lists installed: two on floating and one in the sidebar. Furthermore, there are two digg.com gadgets in iGoogle. The one on the top is a desktop gadget and the one below a native iGoogle one. Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to have the desktop one with many features like dynamically browsing through topics, or the static iGoogle gadget.