I was pretty excited about the recent news that Google has committed better support for us folks on the Mac. I’m a recent convert myself, much like some on Google’s Mac team (though not exactly a 100% switcher, since I usually work on my PowerBook and Windows-based laptop at the same time–I do a lot of stuff on both platforms, like working on the Mac and gaming on the PC).
I was hoping the announcement would include something to the effect of Google’s porting its plethora of client-based tools to OS X, but I guess it’s too early for that. Sure, the Google Software Downloads for Mac page is cool, but the first thing I noticed was that it’s mostly old stuff. Google Earth? Picasa? Toolbar? These have been on the Mac for some time now.
What I’d like to see is something new, and the first thing on my wishlist is Google Gadgets for the Mac. I know Mac users probably won’t have much need for Google Desktop Search (the bigger package that Gadgets is part of), with Spotlight and even other existing third-party apps like Quicksilver that do local search so well. But here’s why I want Gadgets and even Google Desktop on my Mac.
- I like the clean, simple interface. Okay, Dashboard Widgets are snazzy looking and all, but I still prefer to have my information on hand in a simpler, easier-to-read interface. Somehow, Widgets are just too colorful and prettied-up for me, not to mention that each Widget takes up too much space on the screen. My Google Gadgets are in simple blue and black-on-white color scheme, and are slimmer and more streamlined.
- Google Gadgets thinks for me! I recently wrote on Blogging Pro about my Bloglines RSS subscriptions being too cumbersome to manage since it’s grown to more than 600 feeds. I used to rely on the Web Clips Gadget for my feeds as an alternative. What’s great about it is that Web Clips automatically updates its feed list based on my frequently accessed websites, so I don’t have to manually scan my feed list for interesting stuff. The Gadget does that for me.
- I want to be able to search across all my computers, including my Mac. Okay, this is really more about Google Desktop Search than Gadgets. In the course of a work day I usually work across several computers, and it would be handy to be able to search for documents and other files stored across all the computers I use. When I was on Windows both on my desktop and laptop, I would usually be able to find my files across computeres in a jiffy. Now that I’ve added a Mac, I’d hate to have to search twice just to make sure I’m not missing anything. Sure, Leopard would have support for Spotlight searches on network-mounted folders but Leopard is still months away, and it only works on network-mounted folders.
- Apple + Google = Teh Cool! Think different and don’t be evil! How cool can that be?
Okay, I just realized Mesa Dynamics’ Amnesty Generator can convert Google Gadgets for Websites into Dashboard Widgets. But this is limited only to the Gadgets available for the Web, which does not cover the entire Gadgets collection. Still, if that’s possible now, then I’m hoping a native Google solution isn’t too far away.