Installing Google Desktop in Ubuntu

Last night, I was listening to Loaded on Cnet. Google Desktop is now working on linux. Google Gadgets is now working on Linux while Google Desktop has been on Linux for years. Google Desktop has never been my favorite gadget, but I still want to check it out. The installation process is super easy, there aren’t much to put here. But below is the tutorial anyway. There is a new tutorial on how to uninstall Google Desktop and I added that new section below too.

Install Google Desktop

  1. Download your Google Desktop package here. For Ubuntu users, download the .deb package.
  2. Double click on the .deb package, there will be an install button if you haven’t installed Google Desktop yet.
  3. Click install. Then wait
  4. Close the Package Installer window.
  5. Your Google Desktop launcher is located at Applications -> Others -> Google Desktop.
  6. And if you log out and log back in, the Google Desktop option will be right in your Applications.

Have fun, you must download the gadgets separately. Google Desktop only allow search index. I will post a tutorial on how to install Google Gadget; the steps are more troublesome than I expected.

Update: installing Google Gadgets is a pain in the a**. After 9 hours of trying, I finally gave up. For those of you who wanted to try, visit this page for an easy compilation or this page for detail installation. This is still in beta and there are numerous bugs, so it’s not for the faint of heart (is that even a right phrase in American English? oh well.)


To access preferences, right click on the Google Desktop Icon. Your browser will open up to the Preferences page.

Problem: I just encountered a problem while trying to access Google Desktop Preferences. The Preferences windows will not appear. So to edit preferences for google desktop, you are going to do it manually with your web browser.

  1. Open your internet browser, navigate to
  2. Chose more -> Desktop
  3. Select Desktop Preferences
  4. There you go, select your options.

Now, this is a way to work around this problem, it is not a good solution, if you know any other (better) way, please let me know.

Uninstall Google Desktop

To unistall Google Desktop:

  1. Open Terminal: Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
  2. Enter:
  3. sudo dpkg -r google-desktop-linux

  4. Type in your password and enter. You have uninstalled Google Desktop.

Installing Songbird in Ubuntu

Note: A new version of songbird just came out (0.7.0). However, the instruction below should still work.

Songbird 0.5 is a new release of an innovative attempt to revolutionize the way we listen to music. In short, it upholds the belief that we deserve the freedom to listen to music in anyway – and screw DRM. I installed Songbird 0.5 on my Ubuntu today, worked like a charm. With Firefox and Songbird and three other applications were running at the same time, only 300MB of RAM was used. Sweet!!!! Not to mention all the goodness that come with it. Highly recommended for everyone. Let’s get right onto it.

I found a tutorial from ArsGeek Tutorial but it does not work for this version of Songbird, so I modified it a bit. We will install Songbird from the original package, and then create a Shortcut.

Install Songbird.

  1. First, download Songbird.
  2. Your download file to Desktop so it would be easier to work with.
  3. Open Terminal: Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal.
  4. We are going to copy it to the /opt folder

    cd /opt

    sudo cp ~/Desktop/Song* .


    • Make sure you have the period (.) at the end.
    • (~) is short for /home/*username*. You can also use this shortcut in Nautilus- an implement of Explorer in Windows.
    • (*) means “anything.” Song* means a file/folder starts with “Song” and followed by anything. (ex: Song 67, Song_0.5 or just Song…)
  5. Let’s extract the tarball file.

    sudo tar zxvf Song*.tar.gz

    Now we have a Songbird folder in the opt folder. Don’t believe me? check it. This is optional.

    cd /opt


    This will give you a list of folders and files in the current directory. Below is an example.

  6. Give it some ownership, not sure why, but it would not hurt.

    sudo chown -R username:username Songbird

    Substitute your username or whatever you want into username:usename. For example, mine would be:

    sudo chown -R ma65p:ma65p Songbird

    Now, when you check Songbird folder in Nautilus, there will be a lock next to it.

  7. Now, we need to enter Songbird folder, and initiate Songbird.

    cd Songbird


Songbird should start now. If you get it to run, awesome. (If not, leave me a comment, I will try to figure out for you). The next step is to make a shortcut.

Creating A Shortcut For Songbird.

  1. Right click on Applications, chose Edit Menus.
  2. A new window will pop up, select Sound & Video. Then select New Item.
  3. A new window pop up, fill it out as in the picture below. Pay close attention to the Command. Put in /opt/Songbird/songbird.
  4. To add Icons for Songbird, you can download the icon set here done by ricky cullen (see, I’m a nice guy, you can Google Songbird icons too)
  5. Click on the Icon button and browse to where you saved you icons, then click open (you must click open to view the .ico files)
  6. Select OK and OK again to create launcher. Done.

Enjoy Songbird, it’s such a lovely player that I loved it the first sight. Oh, note that there are add-ons for Songbird as well, just like Firefox.