The Car Blog

I just handed over about an inch and a half of my screen to Google by downloading the new version of Google Desktop.  I really like it a lot.  Its not perfect, but its pretty useful.  It sits in a sidebar on the right side of my screen and has "panels" that you can swipe in and out, like RSS feeds, News, Weather, etc.  Its very fast, too... feels Ajax-y.

Here's what I like:

Fast E-mail - I've been asking for a fast frontend for Outlook at this is a great start.  Outlook is so heavy and slothlike on my computer.  This takes my incoming mail, displays it in a panel, and gives me a one click, full text preview.  For me, anything fast in e-mail is nice.  Its even going to index and display my Gmail.

RSS (Webclips) - I'm going to add the 10 feeds that I want to read immediately plus my del.icio.us/for tag so I can get the stuff I want to see right on my desktop.  This way, I can relegate FeedDemon to just once or twice a day use.

ToDo
- Very simple to-do list sitting on my desktop...simple is good when you're trying to get stuff done.

Needs Improvement:

Outlook integration - The sidebar is display only for e-mail...  doesn't let me actually do anything.  Even when I remove an e-mail from the display, it doesn't actually delete it in Outlook. It would be nice if I could delete and move to folders from the sidebar.  Same with todo's.  In fact, this is a problem I have with a lot of the web-based GTD applications.   I use Good Software to tie my Treo to our exchange server, so Outlook is where all of my PIM info lives.  If something can't pull from that or put stuff into it, it isn't any good to me.  I wonder how many professionals have that problem. 

Inexplicably missing:

Calandering!! I'd install a panel that had my day's events immediately, but there wasn't a single tool on the sidebar that allowed me to do anything with calandering.  This is probably because Google is developing a calendar for sure.  Why build something that improves your Outlook functionality when you're going to kill Outlook in a few months anyway?  Still, would have been nice to see my cal on the sidebar.

So how far across the desktop do people think Google is trying to go and how successful will they be?  While those of us more web savvy may start downloading sidebars, toolbars, clients, etc. the average person might not?  Or will they?  Can Google essentially build an operating system on top of Windows and somehow overtake it?

Perhaps we should start worrying when Google buys Writely.