Mac users have been blessed with an easy-to-use tool for searching deep inside documents, not just their file names. So it struck me as odd that Google would offer similar software.
But after playing with Google Desktop for Mac, I'm partly sold.
Desktop shares many characteristics with the Spotlight search tool that Apple ships free with new Mac computers. In fact, Desktop works by borrowing many of Spotlight's core components and settings, so tweaks you make to Spotlight will automatically update Desktop.
But Desktop, a free download from Google's Web site, goes further in letting you search Web pages you've visited and e-mail you've sent and received using Google's Gmail service (You're limited to one account). It also keeps previous versions of documents and those you've deleted.
Users of Desktop for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows computers will surely find the Mac version familiar and likable, even if many of the Windows features are missing from the Mac's preliminary "beta" release.
People familiar with Spotlight, on the other hand, face a sea change: Desktop is more comprehensive.