Google Desktop

I’ve just installed Google Desktop after first reading John Gruber’s (Daring Fireball) assurance that the uninstaller actually worked, and after reading in TidBits that some mdimporters seemed to give it problems with it’s initial indexing search. (There are a great number of these by the way: type “mdimport -L” in a terminal window to see the list on your machine). File Buddy 9 finds all the files Gruber reports, by the way.

I didn’t have any of those problems. The initial index search respects your Spotlight preferences for what should be searched (thus omitting some sensitive and proprietary confidential consulting documents in my case - I’d love to be able to search them this way, but I’m not absolutely certain that I would be honoring my non-disclosure agreement if I permitted them to be searched)

My initial impressions are very positive. Google Desktop seems to do a much better job (with a nice interface) of finding my files. The quick search interface is invoked with a double tap of the command key - a nice touch. Spotlight works, but its GUI doesn’t have the full power of mdls and mdfind -onlyin searches in the terminal or an AppleScript “do shell script” construction. Google seems to do better in my tests, and if you find the same thing several times, Google Desktop, like Quicksilver, ranks it higher on the search results every time.

Google Desktop even has an AppleScript dictionary, but other than a straight-forward search (which must involve a lot of Apple Events because it’s much slower than the direct interface) its filtering conditionals don’t seem to work yet (or at least I couldn’t make them work). One big bonus, however: Google searches the text of compiled AppleScripts; you can search on some unique term within one of your scripts and Google Desktop will open the script in your Script Editor of choice. Wow.

[Edit] I should mention that the GoogleDesktopAgent is huge, running over 500MB on my machine, but I think it’s still indexing (my disk is active). I’m running this to watch it:

on idle
	set LogPath to ((path to desktop as text) & "Google_Log.txt")
	set now to (current date) as string
	set OK to false
	-- decide what to write
	tell application "System Events" to if exists process "GoogleDesktopAgent" then set OK to true
	-- If running --> record memory estimate to four significant figures
	if OK then -- get MB
		set MB to (100 * ((last word of (do shell script "/bin/ps -xc -o command,rss | grep " & "GoogleDesktopA")) / 1024) as integer) / 100
		set msg to now & " ----- " & MB & "MB" & return
		set msg to now & " GDA not running" & return
	end if
	-- open the log file
	set L to open for access LogPath with write permission
	-- update log
		write msg to L starting at eof
		close access L
	on error e
		display dialog e giving up after 20
		close access L
	end try
	return 600
end idle

Hi Adam,
When you say

Do you mean saved as a script (.scpt) or text (.applescript)


Hi, Mark;

I mean that I picked out some unique phrases (odd variable names) from within AS.scpt files and Google found the files. In the browser view, it even shows a snippet of the code containing the expression so you can check that you’ve found the right one.


That is neat.

I wonder if the importer would work without GD.

Does it list it in the /usr/bin/mdimport -L command

No - there is no mention of Google there. The daemon is called the GoogleDesktopDae running as root. It grabs a bunch of CPU time when you wake up, but calms down shortly thereafter. All told, on MM, the Activity Monitor shows:

Google Desktop – the GUI – 21MB
Google Notifier – for gMail and Google Calendar menu bar – 37.8MB
Google Updater Helper – the process for installing/uninstalling – 10.5MB
GoogleDesktopAgent --12MB
GoogleDesktopAgent – I don’t know why there are two --483MB
GoogleDesktopDae – the daemon – 43.25

That’s a lot of memory Google grabs, though as I write this only the Notifier is using any cycles. I’ll live with it for a few days to see whether that investment is worth it, but so far, I think it is.


Well, after only a few days of testing I’ve uninstalled Google Desktop - it is extremely efficient and very useful, but it keeps the hard disk churning constantly and often consumes a huge chunk of CPU time, slowing down even a dual core G5/2.3. Still much to young, large, and greedy, I guess. Too bad, because funtionally, it was a great help - I found myself starting apps and scripts from it, finding script content, etc. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the indexing functionality of the pre OS X search engine. Great to know where everything is, but it wouldn’t let you have any of the machine. :confused: