Saturday, June 17, 2006

Google Tools

I've been gradually using more and more Google tools.

I started with Desktop Search. I find I use this as much to run programs as to search for files. My Start menu has grown so big that it's a lot faster and easier to type a few letters into the search box. I don't use much of the Desktop other than the search feature. The "sidebar" and "gadgets" are nifty but I find them more distracting than useful.

Next I switched my primary email to Gmail. I've talked about that previously. I'm still pretty happy with it. I like having my email available wherever I am. I use the POP access to backup my email to a copy of Thunderbird on my desktop. My wife recently got fed up with spam on her email account and I set her up with Gmail, forwarding her old email to it so she didn't have to change addresses.

I use Picasa for organizing, viewing, and tweaking photos. I have other more "powerful" tools, but I find I use Picasa a lot of the time. It makes posting a picture to my blog quick and easy.

Recently I've started to use:
Here's my customized homepage:

I'm still using my Palm calendar as well so I'd like to find a way to sync it with Google Calendar.

And of course, I'm using Blogger, another Google tool. And Google Maps and Google Earth and Google Toolbar for Firefox.

With more of my tools in the browser, Google Browser Sync is a very handy Firefox extension. It keeps my bookmarks, passwords, and cookies in sync between all the machines I use.

Wow, until I started writing this entry, I didn't realize just how many Google tools I was using!

I am using a few Yahoo tools as well - for my bookmark collection and I've played a bit with Flickr for photos.

Someday, I'd like to move to Linux and/or Mac as my primary desktop (instead of Windows) so I like using web tools that are available (almost) anywhere there's a browser. (I did have some trouble using Gmail from some older machines when travelling. I learnt to ask for a Windows XP machine at internet cafes.) It's too bad that some of the Google tools are Windows only, but they are porting some stuff to Linux, like Picassa and Earth.

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