Thursday, December 22, 2005

Google Desktop Plug-ins: How to install the Hello World plugin

I recently installed the Google Desktop. It has some very nice built-in features that let you read your gMail and regular mail at a glance, as well as some very advanced local and remote search capabilities. But what really interested me was the vast number of Google Desktop plugins being developed, and the capacity to create my own plug-ins. I'm especially interested in the SideBar plug-ins that allow you to embed a program in the sidebar.

I poked around and found the necessary SDK to do Google Desktop Plug-in development. I found that getting the first, Hello World plug-in up and running was a little involved, so I thought I would post how I did it in case anyone else had this problem.

How to Install the Google Desktop Hello World Plug-in

  1. Download the Google Desktop SDK from This will download the file Unzip it. For this example, I'll assume you unzip it to c:\GD_SDK.

  2. Download the WiX Toolkit (Windows Installer XML) from You want to download the file called "binaries...".

  3. Important: Unzip the WiX binaries file to c:\GD_SDK\api\tools.

  4. Open a command window. Change directories to the location of the Hello World plugin:

    cd c:\GD_SDK\api\samples\scripts\display\HelloWorld

  5. Execute this command to create the Hello World.msi file:

    c:\GD_SDK\api\tools\GoogleDesktopPluginInstaller.exe plugin.gdp

  6. Run the resulting Hello World.msi. This will install the plug-in to your Google Desktop sidebar.

Of course, you have to learn a lot more than just this to write Google Desktop Plug-ins, but this process will ensure you have what you need to produce them.

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