Google has released a beta of its Desktop application, which now includes major visual changes to its gadgets and sidebar.

Google Disktop 5 beta's sidebar has now been altered to blend in better with the your ordinary desktop, while some gadgets have been redesigned so that they're easier to read and more "visually appealing".

For example, the sidebar now samples the colour of your wallpaper and fades into it so it looks like a part of your background.

The Desktop Search has improved so that you can preview search results inside the browser window so you don't have to wait for the entire application to load; clicking on "Preview" lets you check which link is the right one for you.

Security has also been beefed up. Now, when you click on links in documents, IMs or email, Google will warn you if it suspects the site may contain malware.

Google Desktop is available, like all Google software, for free download.