At its annual press day, Google today assured analysts and journalists that the firm is still very much about improving search features. The company made four major announcements - "Co-op" that let's users share their search expertise with other users, "Notebook" that can clip bits of information from web pages and store them online, a tool to research search trends and, perhaps most significantly, an updated version of Google Desktop.
Version 4 of the desktop search integration adds so-called "gadgets", little plug-ins that can make the sidebar more useful. Among the 178 gadgets currently available free of charge are not only everyday tools such as a calendar or weather watcher, but also more advanced features such as a viewer for the Outlook calendar and Microsoft Project, a Winamp playback control, an auction watcher, blog statistics and even a virtual flower. Desktop 4 is available as a free download from the Google website.