I recently reviewed the Gmail gadget launched by Google, which enables you to check your Gmail account right from your desktop. This gadget works with the Google Desktop sidebar, so I had to install it on my PC.
I must admit I wasn’t happy about having even more stuff on my desktop, but after testing it for a while I was pleasantly surprised by the functionality and nice design of this smart piece of software.
Google Desktop is mainly a powerful local search tool that makes use of the Google engine to find files, folders and apps on your hard drive. You can use it just as a Google-powered local search tool, either as floating bar on your desktop or a neat deskbar perfectly integrated in the taskbar. But if there’s a way you can make the most of Google Desktop, that’s the sidebar.
The Google Desktop sidebar is similar to the Vista sidebar, in the sense that it can hold a number of small handy webapps (the so called gadgets) that can deliver information to your desktop, show data, display photos and much more. Gadgets are very easy to install: you can get them right from the sidebar by clicking on the plus sign button on top, or simply download them from the Google Desktop website.
There are literally hundreds of gadgets to install. If you don’t know where to start, try sorting them by popularity. The top 10 gadgets include clocks (both analog and digital), weather information, calendars, calculators, games and even a virtual flower pot you can take care of like one of those old Tamagotchis.