Saturday, April 08, 2006

So I finally tried Google Desktop

Windows has given me the opportunity to try some things I was curious about, but unable to look into while still using Linux exclusively. Namely, the emerging market of Desktop Applet Channels, such as Google Desktop, Microsoft's Live.com, and Yahoo Gadgets. I have since tried all three of these, but I dislike all of them. I am keeping Google Desktop run for the search, photo, and news features, but I have my issues.

I had applet/gadget/whatever installation problems with all three of these, mostly related to having to install things as the Administrator but actually running the thing as a normal user. I especially found this a bad thing for Google, who I expected to be a little more security savvy.

Trying the three of these out does make me wonder about the possibility of some open initiative for something like this. It would probably be based on Python, PyXPCOM, and XUL Runner. It should not install applets, but cache them from web URLs. I would love to see something like this take off. Google might even back it, as it would be easy to integrate into Google Desktop panels. Anyone could publish applets for it easily, and people could preview them in webpages before even installing the client app to use them. Effectively, this could allow us to write web-apps that are psuedo-installable as desktop-apps. Just imagine using Writely, going out of network range, and continuing its use?

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I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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