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Google Sidebar, aka GBrowser Redux

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Google Desktop Search version 2 is out. I have downloaded and installed the software, and after a day of working with it, I can safely say impressive. It does a pretty good job of indexing everything on the PCs (Mac users still out of luck, but then we have Spotlight!) The software also has a new feature – plugins, which are tiny applications that run in a sidebar and do a lot of nifty little things like check weather, help you make to-do-items and other such random stuff. The functionality logic is pretty much the same as Yahoo’s Konfabulator and Apple’s Dashboard Widgets. It can help foster a community going around the “Google” platform.

I wonder if there is need for a Google Browser anymore? Who needs an OS? After spending an entire day with the Google Desktop & Sidebar, I realized that I had only two windows open for most of the day – the browser – Firefox, and the email – Microsoft Outlook. For a few minutes, I was lulled into believing that I was not using a Windows PC. In fact, I forgot what OS I was using. I mean most of the things Google may have wanted from a browser are all here. Greg Sterling has an interesting analysis, and I agree with him. As an aside, does anyone but me see this as an obvious offshoot of Google’s very special relationship with the Firefox gang?

(My Mac readers, I have decided to put myself through a torture test once a week, that is Windows XP, in order to catch-up and try Windows applications. Hopefully I will be off PC soon!)

6 Responses to “Google Sidebar, aka GBrowser Redux”

  1. If Google does decide to release a browser, my bet is that it’ll be a mod of Firefox. They already support it, and they have hired one of its lead developers. It has an existing (though predominantly geek) user base already, and has lots of extensions. There’s no need for them to pour lots of money into developing a proprietary browser.

  2. I’ve been playing around with the Sidebar for the whole day of today too. Thank God for the advent of widescreen laptops; hence, the Google Sidebar doesn’t feel like it’s stealing any of my precious on-screen real estate at all. It’s also clean, fast, intuitive, and the auto-switch news feeds feature is remarkably accurate. You’ve got my thumbs up for this, Google people, :)

    Oh, and one more thing.

    You wonder if there is even a need for the Google Browser anymore? My friend, being the enthusiastic Google supporter that I am, I would welcome any of their efforts with open hands.

    It would certainly be interesting if Google came up with a browser that would kick IE right there in the balls; they would also garner a whole army of web-designing fanboys if they dealt a two-in-one combo, by supporting web-standards in full, and having the browser pass the Acid Test.

    (Take that, IE7!)

  3. Om,

    I have been playing with GD2 a little bit as well. All the speculation today ignores the issue of distribution. Mass consumers don’t *need* this application and aren’t going to download it in numbers that have any impact beyond that of a good affiliate marketing partner.

    Until Google does something really gutsy (e.g. buy/launch a massive file sharing/p2p network designed to lock in the under 30 set) they are just another windows developer putting out marginal software.

  4. Robert

    I agree. I think this whole thing is making me re-think the relevance of the operating systems. is that just become a layer on which every thing rides? i agree, the AI is about to come back into vogue, except in incremental form, and task specific.

  5. Hey Om,

    Playing around with it some today, I actually think GD2 represents Google’s first toe into intelligent agents. After all, they acquired some ex-Telescript guys. Maybe AI will be back in vogue soon.