So word in the Valley is that Google and Apple are still going out, going dutch at Mel's Drive-In and doing naughty things at Apple dad's garage. Now Google wants to get the relationship one step further without putting pressure on Apple and has released Google Desktop for Mac OS X.
It indexes applications, Mail messages, PDFs and all kinds of files supported by Spotlight's plug-ins, as well as the history of all your web browsers and Gmail. It will even keep track of deleted files. After trying it, it feels slower than Spotlight in my PowerBook (maybe in a MacBook it will be different, since it's a Universal application), but it's quite nice and solid for a beta. More first impressions after the jump.
The setup process is painless. The install application even includes a panel to "explore" and install Google apps for Mac OS X, which at this point includes Google Desktop, Google Earth, Gmail notifier and the Picassa Uploader.
After it's installed, you can double tap the Command/Apple key and the widget—which is not Dashboard, but an independent application—will appear on top of the windows. Like Spotlight, Google Desktop will start searching the moment you write in the first letters of your query. The response is good, but Spotlight seems to come up with the results faster, no doubt a result of being integrated at the file system level.
The widget will present you with the top 10 results, a number that can be changed up to 15 results from the preferences, which are integrated with Apple's System Preferences. From here you can also authenticate with Gmail, so it presents both your local and Internet mail results in the same window.
If you want, you can also access Google Desktop from Safari or any other browser by either accessing it from the menu bar icon (which can be activated from the preferences) or by clicking on one of the bottom options of the widget results list. Doing this will give you extended results just like Google does on the Web. The search will even display results from deleted documents, something which Spotlight will probably include in Leopard thanks to Time Machine.
Bottom line: solid enough for now, so if you have a Mac, go and play with it.
Download page [Google - thanks Oscar!]