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Google unveils new desktop Docs gadget

Linux- and Windows-based desktop tool called big brother to the Docs gadget in Gmail

December 22, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Google Inc. has added a new feature to enable users to find and access their Google documents straight from the desktop.

Dubbed Google Docs Gadget for the Desktop, the new tool is the new big brother to the Docs gadget in Gmail, according to Ronald Ho, Google product manager, and James Yum, a desktop engineer, in a blog post. Google Docs is a free Web-based suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets and presentation applications.

The gadget works with Linux and Windows versions of Google Desktop Gadgets, according to Ho and Yum.

The new feature may give Google's Docs a needed popularity boost.

Last month, an independent study showed that OpenOffice.org's free office suite to be five times more popular among adult U.S. Internet users than Google Docs. OpenOffice.org was used by 5% of people, versus Google Docs' 1%, according to a six-month study conducted by market research firm ClickStream Technologies PLC.

And the survey of 2,400 users between May and November of this year also showed that Microsoft Office remains dominant, with 51% of U.S. Internet users over age 18 using it.

In their Dec. 19 blog post, Ho and Yum noted that users can bring up the new gadget on the desktop and use it to search and open Google documents. "We all use Google Docs here at work, which shouldn't surprise anyone," they wrote. "However, there are times when we just need to bring up the same few documents continually throughout the day. Some examples are a data-entry spreadsheet, a technical manual or that steamy romance novel you've been secretly penning during work hours."

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