Saturday, November 17, 2007

Google Desktop

I have come to a sad discovery today: The latest version of Google Desktop stinks. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm an avid Google user and often recommend their products to many people. Products that I use DAILY include Gmail, Calendar, Notebook, Toolbar, Documents, Reader, Talk, News, Screen Saver and Alerts. I also use Maps, Analytics, Picasa,Youtube, Adwords, Adsense, Base, Checkout, Web Accelerator, Earth, Custom Search, GOOG-411 and iGoogle. So you see, I've kind of drank the cool aid and really like the taste.

When Google Desktop first came out I did what any new user would do. I installed the program and then downloaded every single gadget that might, maybe, possibly be cool or useful. Over time I whittled that list to just a few - weather, a flower that gets watered when you hover over it with your mouse, a picture slide show and webRSS feeds picked up while searching the web. I actually started opening programs and files using their search bar instead of opening files and manually searching. Basically, I like and use the program constantly.

Then something weird happened: my computer slowed down. My computer (a laptop) is two years old, but it was top of the line when I got it and therefore is still a great machine. My biggest clue was when I used Jessi's computer, with half the specs, and it was out performing my computer. I don't know, maybe it was the TEN MINUTES it was taking for my computer to boot up. Or perhaps it was the 45+ seconds it would take to open ANY program or even just a file folder that really threw me. I knew there was a problem, but I really wasn't sure what was causing it. At first I thought my hard drive had filled up - nope. Then I started looking at programs potentially causing problems: Firefox? Office 2007? OpenOffice? Photoshop? iTunes? Rome:Total War? Anti-Virus software? None of these looked to be a huge culprit.

Then I had the brilliant idea to use Google's original tool to find the answer. I read forum after forum of people saying Google Desktop was a memory hog. From what I understand, the problem is with the indexing. The program is constantly searching your computer to find new files and this causes problems because now new programs are competing for CPU time. You wouldn't think it would be that much, but I guess it is. So... I simply turned off Google Desktop and suddenly programs started opening up noticeably faster. My problem seems to be solved. For whatever reason, it wasn't until I updated to their newest version that the problem very apparent to me.

So, it looks like I won't be using Google Desktop for a while. I'll probably wait for their next update to see if there are any improvements, but I'm not holding my breath. So, unless you have a screaming fast computer, or not a lot of files, I would hold off on Google Desktop.

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