If You Liked the Toolbar, You'll Love the Deskbar!


So fresh that it wasn't even mentioned at the Internet Librarian 2003 conference, Google has released a Deskbar. "A wha'?," you may ask.

This handy application integrates a search box into the taskbar of any Windows 98/ME/2000/XP machine. When searched, from any application mind you, a small window opens on the bottom right of the screen. This screen can be opened to be a full IE browser.

Other options include searching movie review (defaulting to Rotten Tomatoes), a thesaurus search (thesaurus.com), a definition search (using google's "define:" function) and more. These are all customizable, and one can make their own custom searches as well (I'm trying to make an allmusic.com search).

Download it from google here.

The concept is of course nothing new. "Dave's Quick Search Deskbar" (released under the terms of the GNU General Public License and ready for alteration) has been around for a while now, but it is a new offering from google.

Report any gripes with it below. I'll start.


If one tries to replicate a search by pressing the goofy binoculars (the search term/s already being in the box), the last site one clicked on (during the previous search) appears, rather than the google search. To get the search results again, one must either press on the back arrow in the box, or the down arrow next to the box and click on "search web."

I don't yet know if I like this.

I used Dave's deskbar for a while and just recently installed the Google deskbar. It was easier to install, configure, and use. The Google deskbar does a great job, and it's easy to quickly lookup news from the search box (just hit Ctrl-N instead of Enter).

One of the usability design people from Google lectured at the local SLA chapter meeting last night and briefly mentioned the DeskBar.Being a smart aleck, I asked if it would get ported to non-Windows platforms. The answer basically was 'We think so, but it's a low priority at this point ...'Great talk otherwise. I need to write it up to my blog ...

I was looking at what it does under the covers. It seems to tie into Windows/IE services for data retrieval, so porting it wouldn't be trivial. Both the retrieval and display look to
be heavily OS-dependent.

What's the point of the deskbar? How hard is it to search in your browser? Every browser I use has a Google search built-in. How often do you have your computer on and connected to the Internet with no browser open and running? This just seems like a solution looking for an answer to me.

Ah ... good to know. Thank you!

When Marissa Mayer spoke to our group, she said that there were DeskBar testers who used it a few times, and never touched it again, and those who used it for every search they did.I actually might start using it ... mostly for play. But I tell you where it will really come in handy for me: When I'm using the Z39.50 interface to import OCLC or RLIN records at work, I can't have a browser open to do an Internet search on the title at the same time; 9 times out of 10, it'll crash the interface and take the ILS with it. Just having an idea of what my search results are can help me figure out if I'm actually downloading the right record (I work with Intl Gov Docs, so there's ALWAYS a question of the right record).

Most importantly, the DeskBar resides in a location that already consumes desk space (unless your taskbar is hidden). The Google Toolbar, like all toolbars in IE, Word, Excel, etc., consumes space that is not normally taken. I prefer to keep as much of my window open to text or graphics as possible.

Subscribe to Comments for "If You Liked the Toolbar, You'll Love the Deskbar!"