I must say I am enormously impressed with my initial experience with the new Google Desktop tool which creates a miniature search engine on my local computer. I was stunned at how easy it is to locate information on my hard drive, including items I had lost, forgotten, and even some I thought I had erased.
To download this remarkable and free new tool, simply go to http://desktop.google.com and you’ll be just a few mouse clicks away from installing it on your hard drive. The installation is one of the smoothest and easiest I have ever experienced. This is due in large part to the compact size of the software. Once installed, the application fires itself up, and immediately starts indexing your hard drive, including all documents, emails, notes, presentations. In fact, Google Desktop will also archive and index all your Instant Message exchanges. My only disappointment so far was learning that it doesn’t index the contents of PDF files. "Our goal is to have it behave like a photographic memory for your computer," said Marissa Mayer, Google's director of consumer Web products. That’s a laudable goal, but when exact copies of things start getting made, copyright questions immediately start to surface.
Google certainly didn’t create this problem: other desktop indexing tools already exist (and you can count on a lot more in the near future), but it is taking it to a new level by making the capture of Web-based data automatic, seamless and essentially invisible to the user. And it’s one more encroachment to which content producers will need to remain alert.