Find it Now – Google Desktop

Part 3 of a 10-part series on spending LESS time administrating your life and more time LIVING it!

The Challenge

I’m sure you’ve had this experience just like I have: I got an email… about that thing… from that guy… where is it? Is it in the marketing folder? Nope. Events? Nope. Where IS it?

It can be very frustrating to not be able to find things on the computer: an email, a link to a website, a document. Have you ever thought, “When I look for something on the internet, I use Google. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could do that on my own computer?”

Guess what: You can.

The Solution: Google Desktop

What Google search does on the web, Google Desktop does on your computer: it goes through all the files on your computer (you can customize the directories) and emails on your system, as well as pages you view on the internet, and indexes them.

The next time you want to find something, you hit ctrl-ctrl, and a “Quick Search Box” appears in the middle of your screen. Type the words you’re looking for, and as you type a dropdown list dynamically updates with each new word you type. Hit the button, and a browser window opens and shows you the results of the search, just look Google for the web.

An example of the Quick Search Box (click on it for a larger view).

You can also refine the search: emails only, graphics, documents, and within each of these, even finer granularity. For emails, all those TO me, FROM me, or to or from any of the individuals who are listed with any of the emails that match your search.


An example of results in the browser (click on it for a larger view).

There is even more to Google Desktop, including Google Gadgets and Sidebar. I don’t use these much, although others might find them enjoyable.

I do have one warning: If you have a HUGE amount of emails and documents (and I mean huge: I have 700 MB of emails), Google Desktop may slow down computer performance. So, YMMV (your mileage may vary) and proceed at your own risk.

That said, I’ve never had problems with Google Desktop. Google makes great products—easy to install, intuitive to use. And yes, it’s available for Mac and Linux.

I no longer worry about not being able to find things, as long as I can remember a fairly unique combination of words contained in the document, email or web page. This is a great way to turbo-boost your tech life!

Your Next Steps

Next issue: A truly amazing way to organize specific information on your computer, even words in graphic images, to quickly find it, then share it on the web with others!

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