September 30, 2008

Still No OS, But Google Takes Over My Desktop Anyway

The Google Mac team seemingly doesn't get to play with all the fun toys its Windows counterparts do. While the Windows team got to use Desktop long before we Mac users did, and thus far, holds a monopoly on the Chrome Web browser, it looks as if their hands weren't completely idle - as on Monday, they announced the release of a tool called Top Draw, which creates complex imagery and has the option to replace users' desktops. While an automatic background refresher isn't exactly innovative, as Apple has had this capability built into its system preferences for years, the new tool offers up compelling images that had me checking out my new desktop time and again.

Top Draw comes with integrated scripts with many preloaded image types, from Grid to Plasma to WavyGlow, for example.

The small viewer simply lets you select what Script type will run and how often it will refresh. For me, I have it running on randomly chosen scripts, every two minutes.

While not all the resulting images are postcard-perfect, a great deal of them surpass the bundled desktop patterns and pictures provided by Cupertino. A few examples are below:

It's one of those small products that piques the interest throughout the day. Also piquing the interest is wondering just what the Google Mac team is working on that would require this kind of engine, and if we'll soon get to see some serious Mac software and not just flashy toys that hearken back to decades-old screensavers.