Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Something I'd love to see in Google Desktop

Something that I'd love to see in Google Desktop/Sidebar is a much better version of the Windows "My recent documents" feature. I'd like to be able to browse documents that I've opened in the past much like I can browse through my browser history. Maybe an application specific browser would be useful too (to effectively replace the MRU feature in Microsoft Word and Excel and promote it up a higher level in the OS). I remember reading that David Gelernter was developing some new paradigm for file management that could replace the traditional folder/sub-folder model. Maybe that's something that could be implemented in Google Desktop? I'm sure Google has a name internally for things that they can't do because they don't control the operating system (like they can't build searchability into the filesystem, for example -- they have to instead crawl the filesystem) -- "OS blocked"? Maybe Google would be "OS blocked" from creating something like this. It seems like a simple place though where they could do some innovation and make a visible impact on people's user experience with PCs (and control more of the user experience). It's a step away from their focus on search, but in many cases, I want to browse, not search. And the traditional folder/sub-folder model sucks when it comes to browsing because it requires stuff to be organized in the first place.

Related thought: It would be cool if my laptop had a GPS sensor built-in so I could not only browse by date/time, but also by geography, ie "I'd like to see all the webpages and documents that looked at or worked on while I was in San Jose last week." That kind of association is more natural and seamless than folder or date/time.

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