Google Desktop announces that the latest release focuses on performance and that’s a great thing, considering that many users call Google Desktop a memory hog.

Google Desktop 5.8 improves the memory usage during startup, has a faster shutdown and detects the gadgets that slow down your computer. “To reduce memory usage, increase stability and reduce memory fragmentation, we reduced the number of different processes that Google Desktop runs, and we now recycle some of our processes frequently.”

The blog post doesn’t mention the biggest performance improvement: Google Desktop’s main feature, indexing the files from your computer, is no longer enabled by default. In Windows Vista, Google uses the index created by Microsoft’s desktop search service. If you want to enable Google Desktop’s index, you need to select “Enable Enhanced Content Indexing” when you install the software or in the options page.


Enable additional features by using Google Desktop’s index:

* Backup and view previous versions of your documents
* Search your web history, Gmail, and more
* View thumbnail previews of your images, videos, and web history

Google Desktop’s wording makes you think that the “enhanced content indexing” is an advanced feature, when it should be the main feature of the software.

If you do enable desktop search, the initial indexing is much faster and the overall performance has been improved.