September 06, 2011, 4:50 PM — Google announced today it will stop doing one of the three things it does so well I prefer to let it do them rather than do them myself.
Google announced earlier today it will retire Desktop, the search application it launched in 2004 to make itself a space on the desktop by showing Windows users what it would be like to have a working search function on their computers rather than Windows Search.
Desktop is one of a lot of applications and projects Google has announced it's dropping since co-founder Larry Page took over as CEO in order, he said, to "put more wood behind fewer arrows."
Good metaphor, Larry, bad idea.
Google does a lot of things, for a lot of people. A lot of people value all the things it does.
When it comes right down to it, though, search is the only thing Google has ever done really, really well.
Search is why I use News and Books and Images and Maps and Custom Search.
They find me things I want to know, find places I want to go and – on an Android phone using Maps and GPS – take me right there.
The most important thing Google does, the most intimate, most frequent, most inimitable and irreplaceable thing Google does for me, is find all the little bits of things I used to know, used to have to remember and lets me put them in little files on my computer and quit worrying about them.
I don't even have to remember they're there. I just have to search for something using words I would use to describe it and Google Desktop brings up a list of files containing those words so I can choose the one I want or decide it's not there after all.
Before Desktop I had to keep all the bits of information of one kind all together in one file, and put every file in a specific, rigid hierarchy according to topic, location, employer, purpose or other thread that seemed common to them all at the time.
If I forgot which directory I put the file in, what the file's name was or even whether I put it in a Word, Notepad or Excel file, there was a good chance I would never find it.
Windows Search would never find it, but would let me grow old while it looked.
None of them had the winning combination of free, quick and accurate that made Google Desktop so perfect.
Now it's extraneous. It doesn't deliver eyeballs to advertisers the way other Google services do.