18 September 2007

Google Desktop: find files fast

Google Desktop is desktop search software, allowing the user to search his/her files, email, music, images and so on.

When you first install Google Desktop, it indexes the files on your computer. It indexes the names of the files and the text within the files as well. Once this is done, you can search your files right from your desktop.

This means, if you search for "bilinguals," it will return all of the documents, PDFs, images, etc. that contain the word "bilinguals" in the filename or in the actual body of text. This is a tremendous time saver.

Google Desktop actually searches as you type, meaning that after each key is pressed, the results change. For example, when I hit b, it displayed files containing b, then when I hit i, it only displayed files containing bi, and then bil and so on.

Lets say that I wanted to open this PDF file
C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\My Documents\Uni\2006\Confirmation of Candidature Proposal\COC final.pdf

From my desktop, all I have to do is press Control twice (to bring up the white search box), type in coc and then select the correct file from the list of results. It took me less than 2 seconds. This is much quicker than navigating through many folders and trying to remember where you have saved a file.

And remember, this is just like using Google search. You may specify a particular filetype (e.g. filetype:pdf), or remove search results containing a specific word by using a minus sign (e.g. -German), and you may combine operators to create powerful searches.

Google Desktop can also be used to launch applications. For example, if you type calc, you may launch the calculator program. Again, this is much quicker than clicking Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, and finally Calculator. If you type add, you may open the Add or Remove Programs window without using the Control Panel.

For those of you who are looking for a few more advanced Google Desktop uses, I refer you to the excellent Get more from Google Desktop.

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