Removing Google Desktop for Mac

by Giles Turnbull

Shortly after completing my article about Google Desktop for Mac, I decided to remove the application from my system. Why? Because:

  • Although the indexing went fairly smoothly, it seemed that there were ongoing performance issues. Things just felt slower almost everywhere. There was a noticeable increase in disk grinding and fan noise; Activity Monitor showed the various processes associated with GDesktop were busy - no single one of them to any great degree, but the combined effect was noticeable. True, this is on a G4 machine with only 768MB RAM, and better-equipped computers would surely run more smoothly.

  • I didn’t find the central feature of GDesktop - the combining of search results from the web and from your local disk(s) - a very compelling one for me. I tend to know when something I need is on the web or on my computer, and would prefer to use appropriate tools in each case.

  • Following on from that - I said in my article, and I still maintain, that GDesktop is about searching and Quicksilver is about doing. I don’t consider GDesktop’s features to be worth the demands it made on my system, because I tend to perform doing functions much more than I perform searching functions.

Which is a long-winded way of saying: it didn’t feel right for me. But that’s just a personal view. If you have either warmed to Google Desktop, or similarly removed it from your computer, I’d love to hear why.


2007-04-17 13:30:18
Thanks for this info. This is the type of information that I find very helpful when making decisions about trying applications. Also, I'm starting to wonder how much I should trust Google with my info. They seem to want to store too much information about me. They are storing my search history now when I am signed into GMail. Docs, Spreadsheets, calendar, photos, base, etc. They seem to want all of my stuff stored on their servers. After a while it starts to make me a little leery.


2007-04-17 14:56:11
I removed it after about 1 day. I noticed delays on my MacBook 2.0Ghz with 2GB of RAM. I realize some will dismiss this as crazy talk, but I've never felt that way with any other application I've installed.

Good idea, not great implementation (yet?)

2007-04-17 17:57:43
I found it too intrusive, and it just isn't powerful enough(/I'm not interested in learning another query language for the desktop). Given the state of the Spotlight user interface for searching source files, I find myself dropping into the terminal more and more often when I'm looking for something. Baby steps for me with this search user interface concept. I'm getting used to it in GMail and Google apps, but I tend not to lose things in my filesystem or find myself forgetting what was where.

However, I've been playing with Lucene recently and it's remarkably quick and easy to set up a content index for a particular directory and just use the demo query application at the console for interactive searching. I don't especially want a nice user interface, input managers patching my system, or additional daemons running all the time indexing anything and everything. For my minor itches, it does the job.

2007-04-17 20:35:42
GDesktop is not a bad program -- it is beautifully designed and it is best than Spotlight. The major problem is that the costs of installing it (the ones you mention above, and the same ones I had) outweights the benefits (searching GMail offline? Not really big...). I uninstalled it too.
2007-04-18 10:24:49
Not to mention that it is probably indexing every file on your HD and then sending all that info - including source code - back to Google.
Brad Spry
2007-04-18 11:11:22
I simply didn't find it useful.
2007-04-18 11:17:06
I've uninstalled GDesktop for the same reasons you've sighted. The speed hit is not worth the perceived convenience.
2007-04-18 12:00:43
I installed it this week, and have stuck with it. The initial indexing eventually cools down, and my machine (G4) is now running at a normal speed. I am keeping it because I find it far faster and useful than Spotlight -- no more spinning beach balls as I type a search query. I also like the web interface, which is now my Camino home page. I do like the blending of local and internet documents; I have already found it useful as it finds things on my local machine that I did not know I had related to a search that I am conducting online. Saves me from downloading redundant files.

Keep in mind also, that being a beta, the performance is likely to improve, though again, once the indexing completed, I do not notice any performance drain.

2007-04-18 13:04:40
I removed it for the same reason - I didn't like the web search combined with the search of my computer. I know when something is on my system, and when it's not, and I don't need the other information cluttering up the search.
Harley Cooper
2007-04-18 13:09:03
I felt the same way, but it was slowing down my quad-core Mac Pro... I knew it was not meant for me when nothing ran properly and I had to switch to my G4 PowerBook.
2007-04-18 13:14:06
in the finder do a search for google, I found the same 13 folders as in spotlight search, and was able to delete all the folder from the finder
Jess Have
2007-04-18 14:39:16
I have removed GDesktop from my system for the same reasons, that you have indicated. In addition, I kept getting an error message popping up, and I haven't really found it to enhance the experience on my MBP.
BTW, kudos to Google formaking the removal from the system very easy via the Google Installer.
2007-04-19 16:21:27
I removed the app as well. Have to say that I didn't even get a good chance to evaluate it. The performace issues were too much for me to continue running it. I have to say though, that while this is a 2G Intel Macbook, I only have 512MB of RAM. And of course, didn't do anything for me that QS couldn't do already
2007-04-19 21:35:23
I removed it too. Made me nervous, how much it installed, where it installed things--with impunity--and without explanation. Perhaps if I'd understood why, for example, there needed to be two Google Updaters. Perhaps if it had asked permission to install into the System ... Doesn't anyone at Google use a Mac? We aren't used to mystery meat being installed anywhere it wants, nor Updaters that must be constantly running. Like that. Plus it isn't really ready to follow instructions: like I didn't check email but it insisted on searching email. ... Maybe someday. Goo. And I had really looked forward to this. Pity.
2007-04-27 19:32:10
I disabled Google Desktop for the exact same reasons - everything slowed down and the central feature of the app did not make the sacrifice worthwhile. Besides I was tired of the app phoning home constantly- that always makes me a little suspicious, period.

What I found to be the worst part was when uninstalling- it took a lot of rooting around to rid myself of the application. Even after I deleted the app, as soon as I rebooted there it was again, phonkng home! I had to go into the library and delete the "Google" folder, along with all the plist files and hope that it did not take something I really want with it.

Google has a misguided notion that people want their web searches and histories catalogued, tracked and stored. In fact what we want is the opposite: privacy and anonymity. Why does Google continue to try seducing us into making our private info public? Yuck. Creepy.

Tommy Beavitt
2007-05-10 06:33:15

I have recently installed Google Desktop on my MacBook. I haven't noticed any major performance issues, though there do appear to be some minor bugs with the 1.0 version. For example, sometimes it responds to the Command Command keyboard invocation, sometimes not. You can always use the command tab to find it though. I do find Google Desktop superior to Spotlight in most respects. It seems a lot more responsive, and I very much like the way it works in both online and offline contexts. I tend to have a lot of texts on my hard disk, most of which have come from the web, and I do a lot of searches on the basis of key words or phrases. It is incredibly valuable to have such a rapid means of finding a quote, or a document that references something I am writing or researching. The integration with Googlemail is a real bonus. It is very good at presenting the results in a hierarchical format that reflects their utility to me. Better than Spotlight in my opinion. Finally, having now completely internalised the logic of the Google search function, it is very easy to apply that logic to offline contexts as I am used to applying it online. For example, to search a phrase by surrounding it in double quotes, and thus filter out results that merely contain all the words in the phrase but in a different order.

2007-06-25 18:51:23
I dont believe that Google is what i need for my personal use.
2008-03-15 14:39:59
I need help. I also downloaded google desktop to my iMac G5 and immediately regretted it. I have NEVER seen my system run so slow. I tried to remove the program and I thought I did, but my system is still as slow as molasses and my google widgets are still here? I know that google desktop is still with me.......hiding somewhere in my machine and it is not welcome here anymore! GET OUT! :) I tried to follow steps that led me to my finder and system preferences stating I would find the programs there, but they are not there because I am sure when I did the "phony baloney" uninstall it removed the icons and I do not know how to remove this program. PLEASE HELP me if you can. Much appreciated. Oh.....your going to have to talk to me like I'm a two year, being I am not computer savvy at all.
2008-07-06 17:55:18
Michelle, I feel your pain!

When I couldn't figure out how to uninstall Google Desktop, a nice person at Apple Tech Support told me just to drag the Google Desktop and Google Updater folders to the Trash, so I did. A couple of weeks later, though, I noticed in the Console hundreds (maybe thousands?) of "file-not-found" failure messages from the launchd process and pertaining to the Google Desktop agent and daemon, so I called Apple again. The second nice person was also no help whatsoever: "You'll have to completely reinstall Mac OS X," which made me wonder why I'd switched from Windows in the first place!

I made it clear that there was no way I was wiping out my system just to kill a couple of rogue daemons and insisted that there must be a way to find out what Google Desktop had installed and remove it and the nice person said, "Third party software vendors are responsible for their own uninstallers."

But, thanks to the first nice person at Apple, I no longer had the uninstaller that Google does include with the Google Desktop installer for Mac!

While on hold for Apple Tech Support, I started digging around the hard drive and found the following things at the root:

/Library/Google: deleted entire folder

/Library/Internet Plug-Ins: deleted GoogleGadget.webplugin and GoogleOneClikPluginDeluxe.plugin

/Library/LaunchAgents: deleted

/Library/LaunchDaemons: deleted,, and

Then I restarted the computer and checked the Console: no new failure messages, at all!

So I'm hoping Google Desktop is cleared it off my Mac, once and for all.

Good luck!

colin K N A U F
2008-07-10 10:28:54
Giles...I computer kept hanging and stalling and stopping for up to 30 seconds and occasionally more....
I believe based on results it was Google Desktop....AND the TIMES NEWS RSS feed for the Apple Screen Saver....I have removed both and it seems to have cleared the problem...fingers crossed.

RE trust...I love Google search and find my feeling toward Google as a most big behmouths forget about their customers once they reach the goal of critical mass....not so with google...I THINK...they are very good at making me feel good about them....BUT all the search histories stored away without making it obvious to the user....bothers me....and with many of us never aware that they are...makes me edgy....why are they stored....and to whose REAL benefits? So breaking links from my computer to theirs...just feels good...and the right thing to do.