Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Googley Holiday Season

Season's greetings, everyone! To help ring in the New Year, we've got a great holiday present for you: an update to Google Desktop for Linux. The biggest addition in version 1.1.1 is support for 64-bit platforms, but we have also made many stability improvements that should be welcome to all of our existing users. Our team has worked hard over the past few weeks to get the new version out before the end of the year, and we're glad to have succeeded. So have fun with the new release, and have a wonderful holiday season — from all of us here at Google.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Desktop Gadgets for the Holiday Season

Developer-elves have been busy creating new Desktop gadgets to celebrate the holidays. Here's a guide to the some of the most recent additions.

Christmas Tree
by Benjamin Schirmer

Deck your desktop with a one-of-a-kind tree. This tree starts out plain, with only animated snowflakes as decoration, but you can easily make it yours. Just right-click (Windows) or ctrl-click (Mac) wherever you want to add a decoration. If you're not in the mood for animated snowflakes, you can easily turn them off.

Holiday Countdown 2007 Gadget
by Beepem

Count down to the holiday of your choice — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus! Snowfall is optional.

Hanukkah Menorah
by Glenn Rivkees

It might seem a little late to feature Hanukkah gadgets, but we couldn't leave out this beauty. It's both a countdown to Hanukkah and a menorah that lights candles on the appropriate days. Hanukkah 2007 may be over, but this gadget tells me there are only 368 days until Hanukkah 2008!

CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Tree
by 12STUDIO Inc.

Here's the perfect desktop decoration and Christmas countdown gadget for fans of CALGOT and MAIMAI. The pretty images, animated star, sparkling highlights, and delicate snowfall help make this gadget an eye catcher.

CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Wreathe
by 12STUDIO Inc.

If you think the snails just aren't prominent enough in the CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Tree gadget, try this one.

Christmas Countdown
by Bijoy Thangaraj

This simple gadget counts down the seconds until Christmas.

Fancy Christmas Frame
by Bijoy Thangaraj

Click inside the frame to add a random decoration. Each decoration fades out over time, so you'll have a blank slate unless you keep clicking!

Merry X'mas
by Lahiru Lakmal Priyadarshana

Decorate your Google Talk buddy's tree! Here's how:

  1. Make sure you both have this gadget. (If not, your buddy will automatically get an IM saying where to get the tree.)
  2. Click the people icon (at the lower right) and choose an online Google Talk friend (one with a green icon).
  3. If necessary, click the item preview (at the upper right) so you see a star with a + sign.
  4. Click a decoration from the items palate (upper left).
  5. Click your tree to place the decoration.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 as many times as you like.
  7. Click the Send button (upper right).

Countdown To New Year 2008
by Teodor Filimon

This holiday gadget displays a different picture and message every day until New Year's Day, 2008. You can have animated snow, listen to holiday songs, and even go shopping. On New Year's Eve, you'll get a countdown to midnight.

Want more seasonal gadgets? Check out the holiday gadget page.

Happy Holidays from the Google Desktop Team!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Featured Gadget: Concise System Info

This blog periodically features a Google Desktop gadget and a quote from someone who uses it. If you'd like to recommend a gadget, send an email to desktop-gadgets AT google DOT com.

Roger Pack, a Google Desktop user, says: "Concise System Info rox! I just set it floating at 75% zoom and then minimize Google Desktop. When my computer slows down I can restore gadgets and immediately know why my system is slow."

More information | Download gadget

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google Gadgets for the Mac

Google Desktop for Mac now supports gadgets! For details, including a video demonstration, see the Official Google Blog post.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Gadgets

With October 31st looming, it's time to decorate your desktop with spooky gadgets. Here are three new ones you can try out.

Halloween Pumpkin
By Benjamin Schirmer
Create a custom jack-o'-lantern on your desktop. To change the look of your Halloween pumpkin just click the eyes, nose, or mouth. Beware: sometimes this pumpkin makes spooky noises!
Halloween CountDown Gadget
By Vishnu.S
If you can't wait until Halloween — and you don't have a child reminding you how very long it is until trick-or-treat time — you need this.
Spooky Clock
By Lahiru Lakmal Priyadarshana
Every day is Halloween when this clock is on your desktop. The pendulum swings back and forth, reminding you that the witching hour is never too far away...
You can find these and more at our holiday gadgets page. If you feel inspired to create your own holiday gadgets, visit our Developer Site and be sure to grab the Google Desktop SDK.

Happy Halloween from the Google Desktop Team!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Featured Gadget: Time Around the World

This blog periodically features a Google Desktop gadget and a quote from someone who uses it. If you'd like to recommend a gadget, send an email to desktop-gadgets AT google DOT com.

Jaime Brands of Google Sydney says: "For my work, I need to know the time in Auckland, San Francisco, Dublin, Hyderabad and Perth. I also need to know what time it is where friends and family are located around the world. This is a handy gadget that sits on my desktop and allows me to see the time in selected cities, and also allows me to compare time differences between cities when calendaring meetings."

If you'd like to create your own gadgets, then read about how this gadget was made and check out the new Gadget Designer.

More information | Download gadget

Friday, October 12, 2007

Google Desktop for Linux 1.1 Beta

When we released the first version of Google Desktop for Linux this past June, we signaled a commitment to the Linux community: to develop for the platform and to support our Linux users. Since then, we have been hard at work to improve and refine our product. Today, we'd like to share what we've created by releasing Google Desktop for Linux 1.1 Beta.

Feedback from people like you shaped this update. Because many people wanted to search and launch applications, we added that functionality to the product. Desktop for Linux now supports many more image formats and will show better thumbnails for them in your search results. You can also customize the hotkey used to launch the quick search box. And most importantly, Desktop for Linux now searches the content of Microsoft Office documents - our most requested feature.

Please download the latest version and give it a spin. We hope you like it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

iGoogle meets Desktop gadgets

We've often asked ourselves why Google Desktop Gadgets are confined to just the desktop and sidebar. With Google Desktop 5.5 Beta, we've decided to change that. In addition to improved Outlook search functionality, Google Desktop now lets you run Desktop gadgets on your iGoogle homepage. And that means you can check your wireless signal, grow a beautiful plant, or play music right from iGoogle.

The process for adding Desktop gadgets to your iGoogle homepage is simple. Just surf over to the iGoogle Content Directory and find the gadgets you want to add -- for example, try adding the media player gadget by clicking on the "Add it now" button on this page. If you already have Desktop 5.5 installed, you'll get the gadget without having to do anything more. If you don't, you'll be offered a streamlined Google Desktop with only the gadget functionality enabled. You can decide later whether you want to try out some of the other great features of Google Desktop, such as searching the contents of files, emails and web history.

With Desktop 5.5, you can also have multiple instances of a gadget on your desktop. Simply open up the "Add gadgets" menu and choose to add an existing gadget again. Also, make sure to press the Ctrl button twice to check out the svelte new look of the Quick Search Box.

Additionally, we've updated the gadgets button, which you can use to quickly see all your new gadgets!

As always, please let us know what you think.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Featured Gadget: To Do

This blog periodically features a Google Desktop gadget and a quote from someone who uses it. If you'd like to recommend a gadget, send an email to desktop-gadgets AT google DOT com.

Mihai Ionescu of the Google Desktop team says: "The To Do gadget is an amazing time saver wherever I go with my laptop. It's like having a pack of Post-It sticky notes with you all the time."

The To Do gadget is part of the Google Desktop installation and should already be available on your system. If you don't see it in your sidebar, select "Add gadgets" (+ on the top sidebar menu), search for todo, and then add the gadget.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Blog: Google Desktop APIs

Many Google Desktop users install gadgets and plug-ins to customize and improve their desktop experience. For example, you've likely seen the gadget gallery, which holds all kinds of interesting gadgets, from games to news displays to tools. We're always looking for new ways to support the developers who build these add-ons using our APIs. So, to supplement our Google Desktop Developer Group, we've now created a new blog to open a another line of dialog and provide useful information such as tips, announcements, developer jokes, links to articles and tutorials, and more.

If you're interested in Google Desktop development, check out the Google Desktop APIs blog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Desktop for Linux

For most Linux users, looking for files, documents, or emails usually involves some combination of 'find' and 'locate,' but sometimes these tools don't quite do what you're looking for, like finding that single PDF containing the specific topic you're looking for. Or you just wish there was a much easier way to find something than 'find /home/username -name '*.pdf' and 'pdftotext pdf_file_name.pdf output.txt...'

So that's why today we're releasing Google Desktop for Linux. Developed primarily out of our Beijing office, it includes almost all the features from the first Windows version of Google Desktop Search plus the Quick Search Box, so you can quickly search through all your files, emails, web history, and more. Just hit 'Ctrl' twice to bring up the Quick Search Box and start finding your stuff!

Have fun searching, and tell us what you think.

You can also try our Mac and Windows versions.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Desktop Gadgets at Developer Day

On May 31st Google hosted Developer Day events all around the world. The Google Desktop team gave two presentations: one in Mountain View, and another in Tokyo. Mihai gave the Mountain View talk, and James gave the Tokyo talk. The links lead to the YouTube videos, and are great resources for learning about the full potential of the Google Desktop APIs. Here is Mihai's presentation:

Many Google Desktop team members staffed booths and showed off the potential of Google Desktop gadgets. Developers were amazed at how easy it is to do powerful things from gadgets. We would start with a blank desktop and then hit shift-shift to bring up a slew of different and interesting gadgets. Everyone loved this. In particular, there were two gadgets that really piqued user and developer interest, because these gadgets do complicated things with small amounts of easy-to-understand code. Here they are.

Touring Gadget

Have you ever wondered which of your favorite bands are coming to town? The Touring gadget, by Martin Mroz, makes finding out easy. You enter your location, and using a simple Google Desktop API and the music community website JamBase, the Touring gadget shows you which of your favorite bands are coming to your town soon.

Touring gathers your favorite bands by using the Google Desktop Query API. When Google Desktop indexes the user's files, it extracts metadata from music files and stores them. Touring queries for music files and pulls out the artist. It only takes a few lines of code to get this data.

Multiplayer Reversi

Playing a game with your friends around the world isn't hard if the game uses the gadget GoogleTalk API. Multiplayer Reversi, by Turhan Aydin, illustrates this point and received lots of "oohs" and "ahhs" when Mihai presented it in San Jose. You select your friend to play with, they confirm, and you start to play reversi. If this sounds difficult, don't worry, it isn't: look at the code snippets.
Just days after the event, excited developers are submitting gadgets. We hope you developers out there will think about using the power of the APIs to make new and interesting gadgets that look great and empower users. If you're looking for gadgets to use yourself, go here to find all Google Desktop gadgets.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New Improved Desktop Gadget Designer

If you're starting to create desktop gadgets, be sure to try out the new and improved Google Desktop Gadget Designer, included with the latest Google Desktop SDK. It makes creating that great gadget idea of yours a breeze, with drag & drop elements, property editors, and built-in script editing. I spent my internship here working with the amazing people on the Desktop team and adding some of the most requested features to the designer.

Here are some of the new features and fixes in the latest version:
  • Additions to the API, such as listbox and progressbar, are supported.

  • The designer UI is more configurable, with variable-size panes and retained window position/size.

  • You can find and replace text and go to a specific line.

  • The properties list is sorted in alphabetical order.

  • The designer tabs have tool tips and can be closed with a middle-click.

  • You can choose whether to see a web page at startup; the new default home page lets you search Google Desktop documentation or all Google Desktop websites (including this blog).

  • New project files are UTF-8 encoded.

  • You can specify preferences, such as whether to load the most recent project at startup.
For your learning enjoyment, this version of the Google Desktop SDK also includes new samples demonstrating scrolling elements and the XML details view. And if you have requests for the designer or questions about desktop gadget development, check out the Google Desktop Developer Group and the Developer Knowledge Base -- and don't forget to read our online gadget documentation for tutorials, guidelines, and the API reference doc.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Desktop 5 Goes Global

Xiyuan Xia

International versions of Google Desktop 5 are ready to go, including a brand new language--Hindi! We want Google Desktop to be your personal information assistant, helping you find the information you want, when you want it, in any language, and in any OS (check out the recently released Mac version). Now it's easier than ever to find local content, news headlines, emails and more.

Exciting features in Google Desktop 5 include a completely new look and feel for the sidebar and gadgets. The sidebar samples the color of your desktop background and fades the color into the sidebar, fitting into any environment. Many of our most popular gadgets were also redesigned to improve their usability and visual appeal.

Other improvements:
  • Previews of desktop search results. Have you ever opened multiple files to find the right one? Now you can find the file without opening each result. Previews are displayed inside our search results page.

  • Security. We have also added warnings for web sites that may be trying to steal your personal information or install malicious software on your computer, helping to make the Internet a safer place in 29 languages.
Enjoy! Amusez-vous! Buon divertimento! Viel Spaß! Disfrútalo! Veel plezier! 好好享受吧!ご活用ください。! Aproveite! Используйте все возможности! 즐기십시오

Monday, March 26, 2007

Open Source Google Desktop Gadgets

Sometimes it's good to share. With that in mind, three of our most popular gadgets have been open sourced under Apache License 2.0 and are now hosted at

Moon Phase

Ticker for Trekkers

Wikipedia Search

If you've never visited project hosting, you're in for a pleasant surprise. It's a completely free project-hosting solution that features source control, issue tracking, and a simple, clean interface.

So go ahead, jump on board, and start working on that feature you've always wanted. Please contact a project owner to be included in a project.

Even if you don't intend to contribute, please report issues and offer feedback.

We encourage gadget developers to take advantage of the talented Google Desktop development community by open sourcing their own gadgets on More information about project hosting is available at

More gadgets will be open sourced, so stay tuned. But most importantly, have fun!

Monday, February 5, 2007

What's in the updated SDK

When we published our updated developer doc, we also released a new version of the SDK. Here's why you should download the latest SDK:
New samples!
The SDK has lots more sample gadgets, some of which use new features and APIs such as audio, PNG images, new options methods, and new view methods. You'll also see examples of how to use the Query API and Event API. We've even released several production-worthy samples from which more experienced developers can benefit:

Themeable, LCD-Style Clock

Classic Memory Game

Wi-Fi Network Selector


Rebuilt Gadget Designer
The old Gadget Designer is incompatible with the new API. Get the new Gadget Designer so you can use new features and APIs.

Better organization
We've simplified the directory structure, added a readme file to help you find what you need, and removed some files that were either obsolete or could be easily obtained from the web.
We periodically update the SDK to add samples, improve the documentation, or fix bugs. To see whether you have the latest SDK, look at the date at the top of your SDK's api/readme.html file. (If your SDK has no api/readme.html file or the file has no date, then you definitely have an old copy!) As we write this, the latest SDK date is 24 January 2007. In the future, we'll put the latest SDK date in the News box at the upper right of the Google Desktop developer home page.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Introducing the Developer Knowledge Base

The good folks over at have launched a Developer Knowledge Base, where most of the Google developer products are represented, including Google Desktop Gadgets. There's a series of Getting Started articles, which combined with the improved documentation and new tutorial makes it easier than ever to learn how to create gadgets. And there's a growing collection of How To's and Gadget Best Practices that can help elevate your skills.

This is just the beginning, so please post any suggestions, feedback or article ideas to our Developer Forum.

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Tutorial: Modifying Hello World

If you're at all interested in writing desktop gadgets, take a look at Modifying Hello World. It's the first of several tutorials we plan to offer. Even if you don't know XML or JavaScript, you can complete this tutorial — it gives you all the code you need. Of course, we hope that you'll go on to write your own code. To encourage that, the tutorial lists a bunch of ideas for what to do next.

Even if you're an experienced developer, you might learn something here. (OK, maybe you won't, but you'll almost certainly have ideas for improving this tutorial or writing new ones, and we'd love to hear from you.)

This tutorial covers everything you need to create your first gadget, from downloading the SDK to editing a gadget's code and packaging the gadget so other users can run it. Along the way, you'll add a bit of pizazz to the SDK's Hello World sample, in the form of animated text.

Snapshot: Hello World with boring dialog Snapshot: Hello World, upside down
The original Hello World gadget The improved Hello World gadget (with rotating text!)

And make sure to check out our Developer Forum to share your thoughts about creating desktop gadgets.