Google Desktop for Linux

Continuing the efforts to bring their software to Linux, Google released a port of their desktop search utility.

Google Desktop for Linux indexes the files on your computer which leads to almost instant search results.

The software sits in the tray area and is most easily accessed by tapping the Strg key two times, which will show this search box:

The search results appear as-you-type and the files can be opened by a click on the drop down list. If there are many results they can also be listed in the web browser with an interface that closely resembles Google’s online search.

In fact, most of the software interface, like the preferences is only accessible in a web brower. For example, this is the index status on my computer right now, shown in Firefox:


As of now, I didn’t do a thorough test, but this is what I think of the software so far:


  • It’s always nice to see a company acknowledging the Linux user base.
  • The indexing process is very light and barely noticable.
  • Google probably shares the same codebase with the Windows and Mac versions so it is fairly proven software.


  • It’s closed source. This isn’t a show stopper for me, but it may be for some of you, and in any way, an open source version would be better.
  • The Windows and Mac version are much more feature rich, for example the Linux version doesn’t support Google Gadgets at all
  • The UI is mainly in the web browser, which means it is rather badly integrated with the desktop. I hope they add a panel applet and other means of integration in future versions.
  • The native (GTK+) UI doesn’t fit in very well, the context menu of the tray icon isn’t aligned as it is in Gnome apps and no entries have an icon. The dialogues have the button order reversed:bildschirmfoto-google-desktop.png
  • Google Desktop creates a top level entry in the Applications menu. I know no other software (including Google’s Picasa and Earth) that does this and I have know idea why they chose to to this.


Google Desktop is one more of those proprietary applications that is now also available on Linux. Whatever your views on “software ethics” are, you probably should agree that this is a good thing. Many people will oppose to using this software and there is nothing wrong with that, but for other people this will lower the barrier to using Linux, and even if it’s only a tiny bit.

I, for one, will use Google Desktop from time to time, but what I’m really looking forward to is Google Talk for Linux.

Hi Carrie! This is just a note that might convince you that this really is one of my old blogs

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