Google - What Have You Done For Us Lately?

Posted by dave on Oct 24, 2005 6:45 AM; By helios

Google may be taking the Internet by storm, but in the process they are raining on the Linux parade. Google has clearly presented The Community a middle finger salute. The technology that paved their streets with gold is now being cast away like a pock-marked leper.

Google…the perfect Horatio Alger story…rags to riches, a couple of poor boys who made good. This fairly well condenses the story of Google. A silly name coupled with a brilliant idea and an open source server/operating system to make it all possible.


Pardon me if I don’t contribute my handful of confetti to the victory parade.

Something is wrong here. In the beginning I thought it was part of their “master plan”. I assumed that the cool stuff they were cranking out for Microsoft Windows would surely follow for the Linux operating system. So I waited…and waited.

We’re still waiting Google. My wife uses an XP computer and it is ruled by google software and tools. Specifically I am talking about the Google Deskbar and Google Desktop 2. Both of these programs are absolutely killer. For the few who do not know these tools, the Google Deskbar is a search field that nestles itself in your panel and you can search without having to open a browser first. I like that. Google Desktop 2 is a revolutionary desktop search program that rummages through your files to find what you ask for. It is blindingly quick and deadly accurate. While there are other offerings from Google for the desktop, these two are the best. There is only one tiny problem. When you go to download it, you must read the small print under the download link:

Requires Windows XP or Windows 2000 SP 3+

You’re kidding, right? I mean, how could a multi, multi-million dollar company use Linux to build their fortunes then refuse to give just a bit back to the community by supplying a couple simple yet amazing tools. Yeah, I said refuse. I have emailed, called, snail-mailed and IM’d Google for 5 months straight. Each time I asked one simple question:

When are you going to write cool programs like Google Desktop 2 for Linux? Two weeks ago, after I had all but given up on hearing from them I got my answer.

They’re not. They have no plans to write Google Desktop 2 for Linux. Nor will they create a deskbar for us.

“We currently have no plans to create a Linux version of either program. Thank you for your interest in Google products.”

That was it. It wasn’t even signed with a canned signature. It might as well have just read: Dear Google User. Kiss our newly-rich collective asses.

Google has exhibited a pattern of behavior like this in other areas. From their Ad Sense service to the mysterious and ever changing indexing method in their search engine, one message has become clear.

It’s our way or the highway.

GNU Linux literally paved Google’s road to success with gold. They have repaid the community with arrogance and what I consider neglect. Now, there are developers who have tried to fill the desktop search void in Linux. Our friend in Italy, Roberto; has put together a DevTeam and given us Kat. Something akin to Google Desktop 2, Kat indexes and searches for requested files on ones computer and from what I hear it does it rather well. I couldn’t tell you because I can’t get it to work on my machine. While others rave about it, i seem to be stuck in a continuous indexing Hell. Beagle on the other hand seems to work rather nicely. Again, I can not vouch for it personally because my distro developers can’t seem to make it work with this specific distribution.

Suse and Mandriva feature Beagle and I am hearing glowing reports about it all the time. It is also been reported by that Kat will be featured in KDE 4 and included in the native install. Where IS Google? You would think that since they chose to square off with Microsoft, they would almost have to fill the Linux need for desktop search.

You would think.

A friend of mine who works for Microsoft in Redmond told me a couple of months back that Yahoo…yep, I said Yahoo, will be rolling out a version of their desktop search tool for Linux in the near future. Or so his rumor mill has it. Let me say that again just so you can be sure you read it right.


I tested the Yahoo desktop search on my wifes' computer and I have to tell you…it is impressive. A bit of a resource hog, yes; but it does cool stuff like narrow down the target as you type in the search field. Let’s say you were looking for “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” As you type each letter, files show up in the results field below and narrow down with each letter you type. In this instance, by the time you get to s-k-y c-a…the only file in the results field is the avi file “Sky Captain and the World of Tommorow.” And Yahoo is planning on releasing a version of this for Linux. Again and for clarity…Yahoo, not Google will be releasing this for us.

I don’t care how rich or successful you become…you don’t wipe your feet on the magic carpet that delivered you to wealth. That is what Google has done to the Linux Community. In other words, and in the language of my regional upbringing: You dance with the one that brung ya.”

Not stomp all over their feet.

All-Righty Then


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Google Earth. mvermeer 9 2,119 Oct 25, 2005 10:37 AM

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