Monday, May 9, 2011

Install Google Desktop in Ubuntu Natty

The default Unity Dash (Files & Folders, Zeitgeist) unfortunately doesn't allow many changes to the index and history settings till now. So, for the moment, I have switched to Google Desktop and it is working great. If you are not comfortable with Google, you can stick to the default Nautilus file search until a Zeitgeist privacy tool is developed.

Google Desktop can index almost all types of files, it is fast and is configurable to some extent. The hotkey (Ctrl + Ctrl) is a handy option and you can change it to any other key combination if you want to.


Press the <Super> (Windows logo key) to bring up the Dash and search for 'Software Sources'. Open it and go to the "Other Software' tab. Click 'Add' and paste this line:

deb stable non-free

Click the 'Add Source' button and do not close the Software Sources window yet. Now we need to add the authentication key. Open your Terminal and paste this command:

wget -c

Once finished, most likely you would find the key in your /home directory. In the 'Software Sources' window, go to the 'Authentication' tab and click 'Import Key File...'. Give the path to the newly downloaded key file. Close all 'Software Sources' and choose 'Reload' when it asks to refresh your repository index.

Now you can search for 'Google Desktop' in Software Center or Synaptic, or you can install it from the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install google-desktop-linux

A Few Tips

For first use, press the <Super> key, search for 'Google Desktop' and start it. To see the Google Desktop icon in your notification area, you might need to whitelist it in dconf-editor. You can follow the 'Install dconf-editor to tweak some more settings' section here:

From now on, Google Desktop should start automatically at login.

You can tweak the preferences by right-clicking the Google Desktop icon in tray and choosing 'Preferences'.

The default hotkey is Ctrl + Ctrl which brings up the search box on your screen.

The browser add-on is not yet compatible with Firefox 4 but would be updated soon, I hope.

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