For individuals who have used Google Desktop in the Windows world, having the tool available on Linux may ease the transition to a new desktop operating system. I started using the Google Desktop on my Linux system. This blog will go through the installation process and show how it works on a Linux desktop.
Installing Google Desktop
The Google Desktop recently added 64-bit support for Linux operating systems, so now is a good time to consider enterprise-wide deployment. From the Google Desktop Linux version website, a quick 7.7 MB download will have the application on your system. I have been installing the 64-bit version on Red Hat with a .RPM install file option. The quick and painless installation has Google Desktop listed in the window manager environment after reboot:
When you have the Quick Search Box open, you can search for all kinds of stuff on your file system, on the web and within system control operations. For example, enter “Display” here and the display applet from /usr/share/applications will be executed to select screen resolution, color depths and dual-monitor configuration. And of course, you can make Google Internet searches within the Google Desktop application.
Local web server
It is important to note that installing the Google Desktop application on Linux starts a local web service to access your data. The default configuration is to run on port 38642 TCP as the local host. In most configurations, the port and web service are not available outside of the local host’s browser. The website makes a great interface for you to do searches on your local file system as well as Internet resources, but a rather extensive indexing needs to occur to organize all content locally available. When accessing the local web service, an indexing status message will appear similar to the image below:
Once the indexing is complete, and this is entirely dependent on the contents of your local system, you will have your own personal Google running locally. Give it a test drive and throw in some search items. Even try searching for log message entries, as the Google Desktop engine will spider your local log messages as well as your file system contents of normal content such as OpenOffice documents. Your search results will be broken out into categories such as emails from a local email application, files locally available on the file system and your own web history.
Learning curve tool
Having the Google desktop on Linux operating systems can aide users who are new to the Linux environment and help ease the transition. One issue to watch is policy aberration. By having this type of tool available, standards such as authoritative storage may not be enforced. Overall, the Google Desktop application gets a thumbs up from me in being able to find files locally.