7 Must-Have Google Desktop Gadgets for Productivity

Matt Smith 31-05-2010

google desktop gadgetsGoogle Desktop is a great tool for social networking. The Twitter 8 Top Twitter Track Tools to Organize the People You Follow Read More and Facebook How Does Facebook Work? The Nuts and Bolts [Technology Explained] Read More gadgets allow you to keep up to date with your friends without even having to launch a full web browser. Other Google Desktop gadgets, like custom clocks and computer performance meters, just flat-out look cool.


But Google Desktop isn’t just a novelty. There are many gadgets available for Google Desktop which can improve your productivity. This guide rounds up the top five productivity-improving gadgets you can find for Google Desktop.

To best way to add these Google Desktop gadgets is to simply to right-click on your Google Desktop sidebar and then click Add Gadgets. Type the name of the gadget in the upper left hand search field to find it. Then hover over the gadget’s icon and select Add. Google Desktop will handle the rest.

Task List and Time Timer

google desktop gadgetsHaving a to-do list can be great, but the old-fashioned method of putting it down on paper isn’t always the best. Paper can be easily lost, and you don’t want to have to stuff a list of things to do in your pocket whenever you travel, do you?

There are quite a few to-do list gadgets available, but the best one is the Task List and Time Timer. This list really serves two functions. The first is to keep track of what you have to do today. The second is to keep track of how much time you spend doing it. If you’re someone who is self-employed the timer is an amazing tool, as it keeps you honest about how much time you’re actually spending on work.

Read Feed

google desktop gadgetsNews isn’t always a distraction. For many people, it is important to have information as quickly as possible. However, the news gadgets which are provided by many media outlets are very limited in what they can do for you. They’re usually focused on getting you to go to their website rather than presenting news to you clearly.


That is where the Read Feed reader comes in. This simple RSS reader allows you to follow multiple RSS feeds at once. The news is formatted in simple text with basic images and dated, making it easy to read while minimizing its ability to distract you when you’re hard at work.

Gmail Notifier

desktop gadgetsAdding your Gmail to your Google Desktop can help you answer emails quickly, but displaying your entire Gmail inbox in the Gmail gadget feels a bit clunky. A better, more focused way of responding quickly to emails is to use the Gmail Notifer.

Rather than displaying your entire inbox, the Gmail Notifier only displays unread messages. It displays them in a large, easy to click read format. Your can either read a summary of the email or open Gmail in your default web browser to reply.

Google Calendar

desktop gadgetsGoogle Calendar How to Use Google Calendar for School: Organize Your Class Schedule Managing your school schedule can be complex. Use these Google Calendar tips to get organized for the semester! Read More is an amazing tool for all of use who can’t seem to remember meetings, birthdays and other important dates. The Google Calendar gadget goes even further by making it easy to access your Google Calendar information from your desktop.


Any date on which you have something scheduled will be show up in bold text on your Google Calender gadget. You can then click on the date to read a summary of what is scheduled for that day. You can also create a new event from the Google Calender Gadget or double-click on a date to open up Google Calender in your default web browser and display an expanded view of the day’s events.

Google Translate

desktop gadgetsThe ability to connect with others across the globe online means you’ll inevitably come across situations where you want to read something which isn’t in a language you speak. Finding a website which will translate the text for you is one way to go about it, but if you find yourself running into this problem frequently you’ll find it much easier to use Google Translate, a Google Desktop gadget which will translate text for you once you enter it.

Google Translate can translate supports numerous languages. This includes widely known languages, like English, Chinese and Spanish, as well as less well known languages like Cherokee and Icelandic. Simply type in or copy and paste the text you need translated and Google Translate will handle the rest.


free desktop gadgetsEver want to know how a word is spelled as quick as you can snap your fingers? Usually you’d have to open Word in such a situation, or you might just type your suspected spelling into Google and see what you end up with, hoping that the Internet steers you true.


With the Spellchecker Gadget, however, you have no reason to doubt. This simple gadget allows you to enter a word. Press Enter and the word is checked for spelling errors and corrected if there are any. You’ll also receive a quick definition below the word.

On-Screen Ruler

free desktop gadgets

If you work with web designs or photographs you’ll often need to measure an image of a size of page element. However, this can be difficult, particularly if importing the item you’re working on into your favorite editor is, for whatever reason, not possible.

The On-Screen Ruler can solve this problem. It is very simply a ruler which appears on your desktop and can measure the size of an image in pixels. By default it is 500 pixels wide, but it can be adjusted to be as wide or as narrow as needed.


How do you use Google Desktop? Any more productivity gadgets you’d like to recommend? Voice them out in the comments.

Related topics: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Translate, Task Management.

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  1. af
    April 11, 2016 at 6:30 am

    wrg .

  2. Steve Yancharas
    May 31, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Currently I use an Adobe Air app called Klok ( for keeping track of billable time, but the Task List and Time Timer gadget looks pretty interesting. I'm going to try it out.