Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google, Where are you taking me today?

One of my colleagues asked me why I love Google so much [among millions of others]?  I, in turn, asked him how he uses Google.  He gave me a stare that said, "Are you nuts?  Everyone knows that Google is the best search engine out there!".  I took him to my desk and gave him a crash-course on "Google: How to".  Here's an except from the conversation:

[Note: Bear with me, I'm starting from the very beginning]

  1. Get yourself a Google - Gmail - id
  2. Enable Web History
    • Have you ever felt your browser based bookmarks are inadequate?
    • Have you ever searched for links bookmarked earlier?
    • Have you missed your home PC while at office or vice versa?
      • For the browser history etc. I mean
    • If you have answered 'Yes' any of the above, EWH is for you.
      • Privacy Paranoid:  You can manage your data        [Add/Delete]
      • Also:  You have the option of logging out if you don't want Google to know
        • They know it anyway... but ignorance is bliss.  We'll hope Google is more ethical.
  3. Install Google Toolbar
  4. Google Bookmarks
    • Use bookmarks in Google Toolbar to tag links
      • Multiple tags are allowed.  Use as many as possible for you to be able to find it though multiple avenues [of thought] later. 
    • Carry your Bookmarks everywhere
    • I have one complaint though:  Hierarchical Tagging. 
      • Why can't I have a Tag hierarchy?  It'll will halve my Bookmark menu.
      • Google can infer hierarchy from labels too. 
        • I use labels like: .Net:Security, MS:JavaScript, Agile:Scrum etc.
      • Can't we extend Google Toolbar to implement this?  I digress.
  5.  iGoogle: Customize home page
    • Some of the widgets I use
      • Google Reader
      • Gmail
      • iSuggest [15th Oct '07] Update : Thanks to this post here, I now can convert my iGoogle into Google Suggest
      • TODO
      • Google Bookmarks
      • Wikipedia
      • Search.Net [Google Custom Search!  What the heck!  I'll come to it in a minute]
      • Google Calendar and
      • Dilbert!
  6. Google Notebook
    • Clip HTML from any site [if you have the browser extension]
    • Add your own notes to search results using "Note This" link
  7. Google Search Specials
    • define: SOA
      • Expands Acronyms... SOA ==> Service Oriented Architecture
    • Advanced Search [A full list is out of scope]
      • Site Search
        • filetype:pdf
      • Image Search
        • filetype:gif
      • Use Google as calculator
  8. Google Office(!)
    • Spreadsheets / Documents
      • Online Collaboration
      • Share documents that you and your friend can edit online
    • Calendar
  9. Blogger
    • Create your own blog
    • Blogger does not allow image uploads.  See Picassa
    • You can host your blog in your own domain
  10. Page Creator
    • Create simple HTML Pages
  11. Google Apps
    • Do you own a domain?  Google can host it for you - Free of cost
    • You can create - up to 100 email ids -
    • You can also create your own pages for your site
      • A word of warning:  You need to disable this if you want to host your blog in the same domain.
  12. Google Photos aka. Picassa
    • You may download Picassa plugin for Windows Live Writer
  13. Google Code
    •  Open Source Code Hosting
    • Note:  You need Subversion to download code
  14. Google Checkout
    • A Service like Paypal [Registered but haven't used yet]
  15. Google Reader
    • It's an online feed [RSS / Atom] Reader
  16. Google Talk
    • You can even talk with friends who have logged into Gmail
      • Client not absolutely a must
    • I use Yahoo! at home most of the time.  Microsoft Messenger & Google Talk at office. 
  17. Google Maps
    • Custom Maps
    • Street View
  18. Google Custom Search
  19. Google Directory
    • Categorized Search  akin to looking up Yellow Pages
  20. Google Suggest
    • I use Google Toolbar, so I do not use the Web version often


There are entire books devoted to what you can do with Google. Try amazon.  You can also get a full list of Google offerings here and here.  I have not mentioned Google Gears, Google Desktop or other Google APIs.  I have not mentioned Google Timeline view or Google Shortcuts.

I've only included only what I use  [today] that has transformed my browsing experience.  Give in to the temptation!

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