Mashing up the desktop?

Hey, have you tried out the new 3.0 release of Google Desktop? I've only begun trying it out for a few days now, but I must say that I really like it. Google Desktop can index everything from individual files, to emails stored within Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird.

This is great! Suddenly, my local hard drives have become one huge database that is easily and quickly searchable using one common interface, and the desktop becoming one integrated application.

From a technical level, I'm intrigued that the Google Desktop Bar is able to:

  • monitor new emails from my Microsoft Outlook accounts,
  • monitor new emails from my Mozilla Thunderbird accounts,
  • detect that the web page I'm viewing is a blog page, and monitor that blog for new entries (via its Web Clips feature),
  • notify me of new items from all of those sources using one common notification popup interface.

And then, when I click on the notification popup, it brings up the item in the native application: if it's an Outlook email, GD opens it up in Outlook; new Thunderbird emails get opened using Thunderbird; and new blog entries are brought up in the default browser.

It seems to me that this is an example of what Gavin called "mashing up the desktop".

It also seems to me that AppConnector is well on its way to be considered as a desktop mash-up tool, for the following reasons:

  1. It treats the desktop as one single integrated application.
  2. It is able to re-use and leverage existing applications' GUI as-is, without the need embellish them into its own GUI, thereby avoiding legal implications involving copyleft, copyright, and what-have-you.
  3. It mashes up two otherwise disparate functions (e.g. entering A/P invoices and maintaining electronic copies of PO's), normally provided by two different desktop applications, into one integrated (and more complete) solution.

Desktop, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the toolship "AppConnector". Its continuing mission: to explore new desktop environments, to seek out new ways to mash up new desktop applications, to boldly go where no mash-up tool has gone before.
(Star Trek theme music begins...)

And let the mash-up begin.