Google rolls out Gmail gadget for Google Desktop for Windows

Tool lets users read, search and send Gmail messages while in the desktop search app

Google Inc. has unveiled a new gadget that allows Google Desktop for Windows users to check their Gmail accounts without having to leave leaving the vendor's desktop search application.

The new gadget will allow users to read, search and send Gmail messages while in Google Desktop, according to Google. Users will also be able to star messages and use keyboard shortcuts.

"It doesn't take up much space in your sidebar or desktop, and you can also resize it to show as few or as many messages as you'd like," said James Yum, developer programs engineer for Google Desktop, in a blog post yesterday. "When I'm at work, I keep two instances of the gadget open: one logged into my personal Gmail account and the other set to my Google Apps account for work-related stuff. Instead of getting lost in a sea of tabs or browser windows, I can bring up the gadgets in an instant."

Google released Google Desktop in 2004. The application is designed to make searching a PC as easy as searching the Web. It provides full-text search over e-mail, files, music, photos, chats, Gmail and Web pages viewed, according to Google. The application includes other gadgets that allow users to be shown new e-mail, weather updates, photos and personalized news.

Yum noted that Google's gadgets team has received countless requests for a Gmail gadget for Google Desktop, and users posting comments to the page for downloading the new gadget had mostly positive comments.

A user posting as "Brett" said that he liked the gadget a lot but would like to have it play a sound when he receives new mail.

"I am still forced to use GMail icon due to the fact of it not playing a sound when I receive new mail," he added. "I have an MP3 file that I have the other gadget play whenever it detects new mail. If this did that, I would be able to get rid of the other gadget."

Another user, "Ashok," said that the gadget has a "nice and intuitive interface" but still lacks the ability to apply labels and doesn't offer support for downloading attachments directly, support for uploading attachments in new mail or the ability to browse through labels.

"Once I've got these, I'm going to replace my Thunderbird client," Ashok added.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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