My Google Desktop Gadgets Wishlist

by Maskil on July 9, 2008

I recently posted the following wishlist relating to Google Desktop Gadgets on the Google Desktop Help (for Windows) Google Group, under Feature Requests and Suggestions. No response from anyone at Google as yet, but then again, that only rarely happens. It has, however, been given a 5-star rating by one anonymous reader! If you have an interest in the future of the Google Desktop product, head on over there and have your say.

  • While the Add gadgets window does have the Show only: English setting, many gadgets are specific to a particular country or culture. Would it be possible to filter the gadgets to show only those not confined to a particular country or culture?
  • Would it be possible to include a user rating (e.g. 1-5 stars)/ number of users who rated, as well as the number of times the gadget has been downloaded/installed for each gadget on the Add gadgets window?
  • The Add gadgets window could then also be enhanced to include categories for “Most popular” and “Most downloaded” gadgets.
  • In both the Add gadgets window and the Web page, most gadgets have both a title and a description. Many, however, (such as MilitaryWatch) only have a title, which is repeated for the description. Proper descriptions should be provided by all 3rd-party developers.
  • When one right-clicks a gadget in the Add gadgets window, there is an option to “Learn more”. Instead of taking you to a page specifically for the gadget, however, in many cases the main Google Desktop Gadgets page is displayed instead. For example, in the case of the MilitaryWatch gadget, instead of being taken to the MilitaryWatch page (http://desktop.google.com/plugins/i/ militarywatch_mental.html?hl=en), you are taken to Google Desktop Gadgets (http://desktop.google.com/plugins/?hl=en), and have to search for it from there.
  • Where the 3rd-party developer’s Learn more page is not hosted on the Google Desktop Gadgets pages, the user should preferably be routed to a dedicated page for the gadget on the developer’s site.
  • Some gadgets in other languages can be found on the Google Desktop Gadgets pages intended for English gadgets, e.g. the following (but examples abound):
  • Google Gadgets:Â Promociones Atrapalo (http://desktop.google.com/plugins/i/promoatrapalo_518.html?hl=en).
  • Gadget publishers should be responsible for moderating the reviews/comments on their gadget’s page.
  • When installing a 3rd-party gadget, you are given the following warning: “Third Party Gadget Installation Google has not tested or verified the features or security of this third party Gadget. Please confirm that you want to install:” Could Google not do some minimal automated testing of 3rd-party gadgets, to at least ensure that they do not compromise the security of the system? Gadgets that are compliant with this testing could then be given higher ranking than those that have failed or not been submitted for testing and approval (perhaps even being excluded from the Add gadgets window). [This needn’t be a labour-intensive exercise; I’m thinking of something along the lines of the automated Windows application compatibility toolkits Microsoft provides for a new version of Windows.]
  • 3rd-Party gadgets should support/be allowed to support the “Save my gadget content and settings so I can access them from any computer” setting and “Share settings” settings. None of the 3rd-party gadgets I’ve seen include this setting.

Just a general observation, it looks to me as if the whole 3rd-party gadget developers’ area needs to be more tightly managed. Google should drop the “hands-off” approach and take more interest in what happens here, as whatever is done here reflects poorly or otherwise on Google, not the developers.

Insofar as my own Google Desktop configuration is concerned, I’ve decided to get rid of all 3rd party gadgets and utilise only those from the “Google Created” tab. From what I’ve seen during the course of this exercise, the 3rd party gadgets seem to be (at best) of rather uneven quality and a look and feel that sets them apart from those created by Google itself.

My testing was done using the following version of Google Desktop. This is presumably the latest version, as Google Updater has “New Software Notify me about new software” checked.

  • Google Desktop 5.7.0802.22438-en-pb
  • Google Updater version 2.2.969.23408.beta.en

My Google Desktop Gadgets Wishlist – Feature Requests and Suggestions | Google Groups

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