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Google Desktop Now on Linux 293

Posted by samzenpus
from the yes-it-does-run-linux dept.
mytrip writes "Google was set to launch late on Wednesday a beta version of Google Desktop search for Linux in a sign of encouragement by the search giant for Linux on the desktop. Google Desktop allows people to search the Web while also searching the full text of all the information on their computer, including Gmail and their Web search history. Because the index is stored locally on the computer, users can access Gmail and Web history while offline."
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Google Desktop Now on Linux

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  • Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PaisteUser (810863) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:05AM (#19674249)
    Does anybody have concern for Google knowing what's on their local disks?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)

      Because the index is stored locally on the computer,
      What, outside of an inbuilt level of paranoia, leads you to think that Google will know what's on your hard drive?

      Anyway, all my pr0n is stored on M$'s filestore from now on.
      • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:21AM (#19674353)
        What, outside of an inbuilt level of paranoia, leads you to think that Google will know what's on your hard drive?

        They have actually a somewhat poor track record of security in their desktop offerings (desktop and web accelerator).

        My built-in level of paranoia says, the problem's more to do with this app being a generic attack vector for anyone willing to abuse your computer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by molarmass192 (608071)
          this app being a generic attack vector for anyone willing to abuse your computer.

          Yeah but even then, that's when the beauty of Linux kicks in. If someone discovers, for example, a buffer overflow in the app, they're still facing an unknown kernel version, distro filesystem, and GCC version on top of Linux's user privileges. It's much harder to create an exploit that could be used to take over your account, let alone take control of the system. There's really no wide reaching baseline from which to build
          • by Comboman (895500) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @11:25AM (#19676401)
            Yeah but even then, that's when the beauty of Linux kicks in. If someone discovers, for example, a buffer overflow in the app, they're still facing an unknown kernel version, distro filesystem, and GCC version

            So you're saying Linux is secure because it's hard to develop for?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nschubach (922175)
              So you're saying Linux is secure because it's hard to develop for? Not hard to develop for... hard to develop "around".
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MrMarket (983874)
        There's even more FUD fodder from the google blog [blogspot.com]:"Developed primarily out of our Beijing office..."

        ps- let me get the next response out of the way: In Communist China your desktop searches you.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by st0nes (1120305) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:10AM (#19674277) Homepage
      Will they know? It says the index is stored locally, does that mean it never goes to Google?
      • I guess you could probably use SELinux permissions to deny anything from the Google Desktop access to anything like a network interface.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Simon (S2) (600188)

      Does anybody have concern for Google knowing what's on their local disks?
      Yes I do. That's why I will never use this (or any other Desktop Search that is not Open Source).
      • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nickallen (905814) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @09:44AM (#19675227)
        It's a good point but then shouldn't you extend that thought to all proprietary software? Without the source code any software could be doing a search of your files without you knowing. It seems strange to say you will boycott google search but not other proprietary products just because google's product is software that performs searches. It really depends on how much you trust the vendor when it comes to proprietary software.
    • Not really. I've used Google Desktop on Windows and it gives you the option to turn off sending stuff to Google servers.

      The bigger issue for me is if it includes the source so I can check it doesn't "phone home". Plus it would be easy to extend of course.

      So, Google, any chance of releasing the source code? GPL even?
      • by Bob-taro (996889)

        Not really. I've used Google Desktop on Windows and it gives you the option to turn off sending stuff to Google servers.
        Meaning that is does send "stuff" to Google by default? That pretty much justifies everyone's concerns then.
        • by N Monkey (313423)

          Not really. I've used Google Desktop on Windows and it gives you the option to turn off sending stuff to Google servers.

          Meaning that is does send "stuff" to Google by default? That pretty much justifies everyone's concerns then.

          IIRC, you are asked when it's first configured. If you are really paranoid, just tell your firewall to block it. You do run a firewall, don't you?

          Seriously though, I replaced Google Desktop with Copernic because the latter also allows you to search network drives.

  • Here's the link. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:07AM (#19674261)
  • Beagle (Score:5, Informative)

    by prock307 (513323) <rock AT sr71 DOT net> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:08AM (#19674265) Homepage Journal
    They have Beagle http://beagle-project.org/Main_Page [beagle-project.org] to compete with, not sure how useful it will be on Linux. But on Windows at work I can finally find my emails and other documents!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      not only beagle, but there's also http://www.gnome.org/projects/tracker/ [gnome.org] to compete with, not written in mono n stuff.
    • by smartin (942)
      I had to disable Beagle on mu machine, was sick of it using all my cpu.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nkeric (953623)
      check out the tracker project: http://www.gnome.org/projects/tracker/ [gnome.org]

      Tracker is a tool designed to extract information and metadata about your personal data so that it can be searched easily and quickly. By using Tracker, you no longer have to remember where you've left your files. To locate a file you only need to remember something about it, such as a word in the document or the artist of the song. This is because as well as searching for files in the traditional way, by name and location, Tracker searc

    • Re:Beagle (Score:5, Informative)

      by oever (233119) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @09:37AM (#19675121) Homepage
      Not only Beagle but 4 other desktop search engines. Beagle, Strigi, Pinot, Tracker and Recoll are five search engines that work together on a common search API for the free desktop called Xesam [freedesktop.org]. The Xesam API is nice and the free desktop search programs are powerfull. More importantly, they have commandline tools, are faster and allow more tuning of what to index and what not. On top of that an ontology (hierarchy of fields) has been worked out that will be supported by these search engines. This will allow any desktop application to use any of these search engines to integrate tightly. No doubt a translation layer will be written to let GDS also use this API. Browsing the GDS website, these things are notable. Google Desktop Search
      • is closed source software
      • is widely deployed and tested on other platforms
      • has a stable well documented API
      • uses COM for communication
      • has a large brand recognition and there will a demand for it
      • calls analyzer plugins based on file extension
      • has a limited, unexpandable list of categories for files
      • identifies files by mtime + uri
      • uses wchar_t internally
      • is file based
      • has a documented API for querying the search daemon ( I do not know which protocol )
      • has no command-line tools

      This means that just as the existing programs are starting to come to terms, Google comes and returns the chaos on the desktop search scene. While I like Google internet search, their desktop offering has me feeling eerie. I would prefer using Mono over Googles closed source program. But even better is the ultra-efficient Strigi [sf.net] which will be part of KDE4 and indexes streams instead of files.

      • by rtb61 (674572)
        I would think more to the point, any OS utility like disk search on an open source OS should be open source.

        A lot of open source advocates are pretty put off by closed source hardware drivers but a hard disk search utility, eww. I think this is going be be about as popular as another SCO Linux distribution would be.

        I wonder how long it will take for an open source version to develop, that not only looks better, and does a better job, and is guaranteed free from advertising for life but also when it does

    • by darkwhite (139802)
      That shouldn't be hard - last I checked, Beagle really, really sucked. It wouldn't find anything and I had to remove it to stop it thrashing when I was working.
  • by niceone (992278) * on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:09AM (#19674271) Journal
    I think I'll wait until it's out of beta, won't be long, right?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Don_dumb (927108)
      Beta testing has lost all meaning thanks to Google, how long before we see companies using 'Gamma' testing, for products that they want the consumer to have more faith in than a beta product but still have the excuse of "it's in gamma testing at the moment" when anything goes wrong.

      That sounded too 'marketing', I feel sick.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by alexgieg (948359)
        Some people already do this. The Auctioneer [auctioneeraddon.com] addons pack for World of Warcraft has alpha, beta and gamma versions released before the official release.
      • ...how long before we see companies using 'Gamma' testing...
        My memory may be faulty on this one, but hasn't MySQL been doing this for several years?
  • Even with the privacy concerns aside (though I do think they are significant), I don't see any reason why I would want to use google destktop instead of slocate.
    • Re:slocate? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LiquidFire_HK (952632) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:35AM (#19674511)
      Because slocate only searches in the file names of files and has to update its database periodically (the latter can be remedied with rlocate [sourceforge.net]), while things like Google Desktop search, Beagle, etc. search inside the files' contents and metadata as well as the names, update themselves in real time, and can show you matches from multiple sources in one place (search results from files, emails, address book, etc.)
  • by jonesy2k (934862) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:12AM (#19674297) Homepage
    What would be really powerful would be a google desktop search which could search multiple machines at once eg. your desktop, laptop, perhaps even keeping an offline index of your usb drives. Then you could search in one place and easily find whatever you're looking for. I can see the privacy issues now, though.
  • How does it run? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oddman (204968) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:18AM (#19674333)
    The article says it was "developed natively." So this is definitely not the win.exe version wrapped in Wine?
    • Re:How does it run? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @10:03AM (#19675453)

      The article says it was "developed natively." So this is definitely not the win.exe version wrapped in Wine?

      Nope. Runs for real, native stuff as far as I can tell. And, I might add, it runs in more than gnome and KDE as claimed - it parked in fluxbox right in the tray like a good boy. The RPM even converted to a Slack package just fine.

      It hasn't indexed yet even though I've told it to, but I think it's waiting for idle time on my machine and I'm killing it this morning.

  • No 64 bit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:22AM (#19674381)
    I wish they would start making 64 bit versions of their stuff so we could quit trying to force install their products.
    • I'm so fed up of people complaining about the lack of 64 bit versions of software. Unfortunately you guys jumped the gun on 64 bit, everyone uses dual 32 bit processors these days.

      But fret not, you can join them by simply cutting your processor in half.
  • Thank you Google for delaying the Linux version! We now have Beagle, Strigi, the Nepomuk project and more as free alternatives to your proprietary software. There would have been free desktop search software anyway, but most likely there would have been a bit less enthusiasm for its development, and some distributions might have flocked to supporting the Google product.

    I'm excited that Linux is still flying under the radar to such a large extent, when it comes to commercial software. Soon it will be Ready

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by McNihil (612243)
      Having run beagle (0.2.7-9) on my 300+ GByte $HOME a year ago or so was clearly an indication that it wasn't good enough... it kept on reindexing all the time... causing HD thrashing (even on a RAID0 with 200MB/s throughput.) Granted it was mostly after updates that happened and it isn't a 1.0 release but still.

      I am now testing GDLinux and it feels much more sane and does not contain wine nor mono which I am quite happy with.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vexorian (959249)
      Linux was ready for the desktop years ago, although there are still people that think "ready for the desktop" means "complete windows clone"
  • It was a nice surprise for me to see that google desktop does not eat too much resources, even when indexing the harddrive. Better than beagle or even slocate. Also, it works witout needing KDE or Gnome on light desktop managers (who start it up automatically). I use blackbox and the google desktop server by hand with "gdlinux start" from the terminal and double allows searching without an additional gui from the browser. An other surprise was that it works both on firefox and mozilla. Not many extensions
  • Linux (Score:2, Funny)

    by Junky191 (549088)

    "Because the index is stored locally on the computer, users can access Gmail and Web history while offline."

    Which is a good thing because despite Linux being 60 some years old now I still can't get this damn wireless card to work despite battling with drivers and make install for days.
    • by RiffRafff (234408)
      What?

      Just how old do you think Torvalds is?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dominious (1077089)
        No, this must be a post from the future. Which means in 2050 there will still be issues for wireless cards on linux:/
        • No, this must be a post from the future. Which means in 2050 there will still be issues for wireless cards on linux:/
          But that's ok, because by 2050 we'll have other methods of getting online, and those might actually work! Kinda like how we never got dialup to work, but dammit, we got ethernet right! We'll never figure out wireless, but we have a one in three shot of figuring out whatever comes next!
  • by Danathar (267989) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:49AM (#19674593) Journal
    Although I like Google desktop, I REALLY wish there was a way to have my results come up in some sort of file management application like explorer(windows), or Konqueror (File manager, not browser), or my file management app of choice.

    You can't work with the results when they come up in your browser window.

    This is one thing that Spotlight really does have going for it. Being able to have a search folder which dynamically has all the results I want whenever I open it is really useful. Now spotlight needs some work and is not perfect, but google desktop is really lacking in this area.
  • by Orlando (12257) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @08:49AM (#19674601) Homepage
    Am I the only one baffled by this obsession with local search? I send most of 5 days a week using desktop computers and a lot of the weekends, and I have to say that I very rarely need to search for anything locally. I put stuff where I can find it later using simple directory structures. Is that so difficult?
    • shhhh. Some people look at all the utils they install as badges of honour. Look, I got anti-vir, anti-spy, anti-drm, firefox quickloader, open office quickstart, google, yahoo, etc... going, I'm so 1337!!!

      I too put files where I can find them, and on the occasion I need to find something I use grep. I guess we're the exception?

      Tom
    • Most people are not that organised, at least not when using computers. (clicl download, immediately click ok, "damn where did it put that file...)

      But judgemental issues aside, i think it would be quite useful to have a desktop search application that actually collects the documents that lie around all over the drive and puts them in neat directory structures with a topical organisation... Hmm.. where's that tracker source!
    • Am I the only one baffled by this obsession with local search? I send most of 5 days a week using desktop computers and a lot of the weekends, and I have to say that I very rarely need to search for anything locally. I put stuff where I can find it later using simple directory structures. Is that so difficult?

      I installed Google Desktop on my Windows machine not too long ago... And uninstalled it shortly thereafter. I just didn't use it. Sure, it was nice to be notified when I got a new message through GM

    • Finally, and Amen! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sturm (914)
      I am probably one of the LEAST organized people you will ever meet but, like the parent poster, I've used desktop computers forever and am totally at a loss to explain this obsession with "desktop searching".
      I have Doc folders and photo/music folders and temp folders for projects and I've got e-mail back to 1999 (and routinely go back and look for old e-mails) but have never needed more than just Thunderbird's search capabilities (and rarely use that).
      I'm seriously interested in WHY people need a tool like
    • by gosand (234100)
      Am I the only one baffled by this obsession with local search? I send most of 5 days a week using desktop computers and a lot of the weekends, and I have to say that I very rarely need to search for anything locally. I put stuff where I can find it later using simple directory structures. Is that so difficult?

      I definitely do this at work, on my Windows machine. However, at home on my Linux machine I have years of old stuff. Usually I put it in a directory called "old" in my home directory. But even then

    • by Shawn Parr (712602) <parr AT shawnparr DOT com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @10:25AM (#19675679) Homepage Journal

      I put stuff where I can find it later using simple directory structures. Is that so difficult?

      You know, I used to feel this exact same way. Even after I upgraded to Tiger I hardly ever touched the Spotlight menu, and only really used it in Mail.app where I did occasionally need a bit of help digging for some random nugget in the last couple of years worth of email archives.

      Then one day about a year ago, I decided to give it a try. I think it was because I was working on a very large number of projects at the time and each project was complicated enough that they had their own nested folder structures, and while I could find everything, having to drill down into the folders was getting a bit tedious. I also have a decent number of applications installed, not a ton mind you, but a pretty decent amount, and digging through the apps folder for the utility I don't use often enough to pollute my dock with was also getting tedious.

      So I tried Spotlight to see if it might make things better. I really expected to think it was stupid and go back to the status quo. What I found was that in many cases, while Spotlight was not perfect, and occasionally it was actually slower depending on what the computer was thinking about at the time, it was definitely more convenient. I use it all the time now. I still save all my documents in an intelligent folder structure with descriptive names (both for folders and for filenames), however when I need to find a manual or spec sheet for something, I type the name into Spotlight and look at the PDF results. Need to launch Cyberduck (the FTP client I use), type it in Spotlight and hit the key command to launch the first item (Applications appear at the top of the list).

      Of course these desktop search programs are not for everyone. It may not work for you. However, don't knock it till you have really tried it. I don't mean try it for one search this afternoon then just dismiss it. Give it a week or two and really use it during that time. Maybe it won't work for you, but that doesn't automatically mean that the people it does work for are doing something wrong, they just use available tools in a different way.

    • Lucky you, that can predict all your future information retrieval needs and plan for them in advance. For all us that have to relate previously unconnected bits of information - or use information structures designed by others, automatic indexing is a bless. How would you "find in the last quarter documents all appearances of the term minimize risk", by laying files in structured folders?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192)
        How would you "find in the last quarter documents all appearances of the term minimize risk", by laying files in structured folders?

        find ~/documents/2007-0[456]* -print0 | xargs -0 grep -Li "minimize risk"
    • At home I don't bother with search. I find my music by searching in Rhythmbox and all my other stuff is easy to find 'cause I organise it well. In work though, Beagle has saved me loads of time. I've got LOADS of files on my computer. If I'm searching for a bit of code or for some presentation or whatever I've downloaded, I can usually find it in a few seconds with Beagle. There's not a chance I'd be able to find it without a search app.
  • Woo hoo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sportster (711011)
    Great now we can have beta versions of malware running on our linux desktops too!
  • security? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spwelton (1120857) <spwelton@gmail.com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @09:43AM (#19675219) Homepage
    For those of you on Linux with google desktop, why are you concerned about security. Just use a firewall. Firestarter is relatively easy to set up and you can watch google's stuff if you want to. Sean
  • I installed it, and I had two apparent choices:
    (A) directly download the .deb file and install it using dpkg, or
    (B) Add Google's signing key and repositories to my system, and then use APT to retrieve and install the package.

    Does anyone know why Google didn't just add this to the standard Debian repositories? Maybe because the software isn't considered ready for prime-time yet? I don't see the average new Ubuntu user feeling comfortable with the installation techniques Google currently supports.
    • by gomoX (618462)
      Huh?

      a) People don't just "add stuff to the Debian repositories". Debian Package Maintainers do, after a looong boring process.
      b) Even if they did, having stuff in the Debian repositories doesn't make it available for Ubuntu users, which have their one separate reps.

      Still this will probably make it to debian non-free and ubuntu multiverse at some not-too-distant point.
  • Who cares.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @10:39AM (#19675853)
    I would much rather have GTalk with full VOIP and voice mail then some lame desktop search when Linux already has so many ways to search already.

    If GTalk was released for Ubuntu it would be the killer app to have since everyone is restricted to using Skype. I would even pay for a fully working GTalk on Linux.
  • Too much space (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CockroachMan (1104387)
    I used this on Windows for some time.. then I've found out that it's index was occupying 600MB of my HD! On Linux I'm happy with my " find / -name 'whatever' " :P
  • GoogleOS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Thursday June 28, 2007 @11:01AM (#19676151) Homepage
    Maybe this is in preparation for Linux-based GoogleOS? We can only hope.
  • by seanmeister (156224) on Thursday June 28, 2007 @12:09PM (#19677101) Homepage
    <sarcasm>Thank you, Google, for creating a "Google Desktop" menu category in the root of my Gnome menu. It is *so* much easier to find applications organized by name, as opposed to being organized by the general function (eg, "Games", "Graphics", etc)</sarcasm>

    sudo apt-get remove google-desktop-linux

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