How To Install Google Desktop On Ubuntu

By | 2007/09/03

I know this isn’t particularly new, but seeing some news this morning about potentially more Google Apps coming to the Linux Desktop I thought I’d throw this together.

How to install Google Apps on your Ubuntu Desktop.

Currently the list of applications within the Google repository is Google Desktop and Picasa.  We could be seeing some more soon, but we’ll have to wait and see on more details.

Set up the repository

You’ll want to add the following to your sources.list. This can be done graphically via the System > Admin > Software Sources menu, or via manually editing your /etc/apt/sources.list file.

deb stable non-free

Once you’ve got that you’ll also need Googles package signing key.  This can also be done via the GUI or the command line.  Try this command to pull down the key file and then we’ll import it to the apt system:

wget -c

If you still have the Software Sources window open switch tabs to  Authentication and click Import Key File…   Look for the file you just pulled down (probably in your home folder) and click OK.

Installing Google Desktop

We’re now ready to install the Google Desktop or Picasa tool.  From the command line enter:

sudo aptitude update

sudo aptitude install google-desktop-linux  picasa

You can also install these via your favorite package manager front-end like Synaptic or Adept if you prefer.  Simply search for the package name.

I should mention that just because these are available for Linux does not mean they are now Free Software or Open Source.  They are to be considered non-free so the choice is yours.  If you don’t like the non-free cooties on your system, don’t bother installing this.

Quick Tips

If you do install the Google Desktop there are a few things that you might want to be aware of.

  1. ctrl-ctrl will open a desktop search applet allowing you to quick-search the web, your gmail or your desktop.
  2. you can set your preferences by right-clicking on the Google Desktop icon in your notification tray.  This allows you to customize what is indexed and what is not.


More resources for configuring or installing the Google Desktop tools available here.

12 thoughts on “How To Install Google Desktop On Ubuntu

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  2. Pete

    I don’t suppose you know how to get rid of the “Wine System Tray Adaptor” window that appears once you run Picasa2? I can’t seem to kill it, and I can’t find the process associated with it!

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Vadi

    Should I mention that you can install Google Earth from their .bin provided too? The install went perfect for me.

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  5. kaos

    One good reason why you SHOULDN’T install Google Desktop.

    1) It consumes a large portion of your hard disk space behind your back!

    Here is my experience. I got a huge hard disk space and at one point I got only nearly 3 Gigs left — after downloading (pretty large files), browsing, searching the web for a while I found to my amazement, my hard drive was full. Okay, I first thought I downloaded a lot lately. But then on close auditing, I downloaded only slightly less than 1 Gig. Where was the other 2 Gigs?

    As you might have guessed by now, I found Google Desktop has taken it up–storing what sort of info on your machine I am not sure, but I delete them all in the Google folder.

  6. JAM

    Thanks for this!
    Its downloading as we speak


  7. Wagner Morais Domingues

    kaos – Of Course Google Desktop needs to consume some Gb in your Hard Disk.
    But what is 5gb if we have nowadays SO MANY Gb…. Tb!!!

  8. BangDell

    if you dont want google desktop consume your disk space much, you can either disable the indexing feature or set exception for partition that you dont want to be indexed. You can do it through google desktop preferences

  9. Sigurd Mellqvist

    One thing that bugs me a LITTLE!

    I can’t search movie files. avi, vob, flv, mp4, wma and so on into oblivion..

    There is no easy sorting of these file types!! IMPLEMENT! Metatracker for ubuntu is much better than google!

  10. Hasnu

    Thank u very much for your information…


    Why there are no desktop gadgets for google desktop in linux

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