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March 22, 2007 / Bob Black

Productivity Booster

A few days ago I downloaded the latest update to Google Desktop Search, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they had updated the sidebar to look more Windows Vista’y. And there seems to be a good deal more quality widgets available. Coolness.

But aside from the coolness factor, this is a nifty productivity booster. As you can see from the screenshot, I’m using a ToDo widget, a Note widget, a Calendar widget (which displays my current Outlook calendar), and a few other extraneous widgets that display the nifty Vista-style clock and weather.

I’m loving the ToDo widget because I’m quite forgetful of late, and this is much more handy, visible, and neat than a collection of sticky notes, or even using Outlook’s Task list (because now there’s nothing to switch to – it’s right there in front of me). And the Notes widget is great for adding details about, for example, a current work item, which I can copy to an email and shoot off as an uber-detail status report when I’m done.

The calendar widget also provides a succint way of reminding me, at a glance, without having to flip to another app, which days I have meetings booked. And the image viewer widget pulls down family photos from a PicasaWeb RSS feed to remind me what my family looks like (the pic in the screenshot is of one of my month old twin daughters). I’m lovin’ it!

Of course, this wouldn’t work half so well if I didn’t have a monster wide-screen primary monitor, in addition to a secondary, smaller monitor, so I have plenty of screen real estate to play with.

In other (related) news, Yahoo Widgets 4 launched today. And they are very cool, with that nifty MAC-glossy look applied to all the widgets. I was hooked on version 3 for a while, until my PC started locking up for no good reason, and my CPU started getting pegged at odd times. An uninstall fixed the issue, which proved (to me) that Yahoo widgets were the culprit. Besides, who needs widgets floating all over your desktop, constantly needing to be moved because they’re in the way?

Google Desktop’s sidebar, on the other hand, doesn’t play nasty, and fits quite compactly in the sidebar. I like it. It’s a great tool in a great product – Google Desktop Search. Give it a try!

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