I have mentioned some of these in a previous blog but I have now got them all together. Also there is one very good bonus, you use the same user name and password on each site. This means that if you think your password has been compromised, changing it once will change it on all websites.
Google Reader. I use Google Reader to read the morning newspapers, I also have the latest additions to a lot of sites about Linux and a lot of political information. Every morning when I look in, I see a one liner for every addition that these sites have added. I can, for instance, run my eye down the newspapers and in two minutes or less I know everything that is happening in the world. This is usually all I need to know. If I wanted to know more about a particular item, I click on it, and it opens a paragraph about it. If I want to know more I click on the link and go directly to the full article – I rarely do that as I don’t really need to know such detail unless it affects my family or my business.
Google Trends. I use Google Trends to look to see which item is generating the most news on the Internet. I just type the names, separated by a comma and it shows me. Type in “Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera” and in the first graph it will show you that users of Google are more interested in Firefox, followed by Opera and finally by Internet Explorer. The second graph shows the amount of news from media websites on each item.
Google Finance: I use Google Finance to keep track of my shares. I have just looked up my shares and 60% of them are worth more than when I purchased them a year ago, and I am only losing on 40% of them which is better than many people I know! Google Trends show some stock-markets in real time instead of the 20 minute penalty most have to accept without payment. They intend to cover all shares instantly, eventually.
Google Analytics. I use Google Analytics on my websites to track visitors to my websites. I used to pay for this but now Google offer the service free and give me far more information. For instance, I can see that my blog is read all over the world, even in Japan and Indonesia!
Google Docs. I use Google Docs when I am producing a report with others so we can all work on the report together, and spreadsheets. I can also use the presentation manager to build up a presentation and if I am in someone’s office, just go into the application on my client’s browser and pull it up and run it for them.
Google Mail. I have been using Gmail for years now and when abroad I find it so very useful to have every email I have ever written immediately available anywhere in the world. The alternative if I needed an address I know was sent to me three years ago, would be to keep my PC on burning electricity whilst away, so I could log on from abroad – and if I were a Windows user, I’d be hoping it hadn’t crashed.
Google Calendar. I use Google Calendar because of its versatility. Although when working, my wife and I sit in the same room, we allow each other access to our Google Calendars. If I click on her tag, her appointments are immediately superimposed on my calendar in a different colour (of my choice) I also have a weather calendar superimposed which shows me today’s weather and the next four days. I write for different magazines and one of them has a production calendar available so I can immediately see last dates for articles. My wife uses Outlook and Windows, and I use Evolution and Linux but we can both incorporate our Google Calendars in these program’s calendar pages.
Google Talk. I use Google Talk and it is much better behaved than Skype. However, I still have to use Skype as so many more of my contacts are on that.
Google Maps. I am certainly an avid user of Google Maps and I have an add-in with my Firefox browser which allows me to highlight an address on the web, right click on “show in Google Maps” and see an instant map of where it is.
The most useful thing about these web based applications is that you have all your information at your fingertips, no matter where you are. At work, at home, in a client’s office, in a friend’s or relation’s home, in an Internet café in London, Paris, Texas, Australia or even Timbuktu (an oasis in the Sahara Desert). This is not so important if you don’t mind keeping your computer on 24/7 whilst away from your home or office, or you have complete faith that Microsoft Windows won’t crash! If you do… no, I won’t go there… a good blogger doesn’t insult his readers!
There are more Google applications but the above are the ones that I, use most often..
In addition to these web based programs, there are some other superb free programs from Google. I use Picasa v3.0 for my digital photographs. This program allows me to organise all my photographs on my computer and to edit them. Crop them and use special effects with them. I used to use Adobe’s Lightroom when I used Windows but Picasa is nearly there, and I would think, by version 4 it will be at the same level. But Picasa is free and Lightroom is nearly £200.
And I spend hours on YouTube all sorts of short videos. Political, musical, amusing, wild life, and so many more types. My Panasonic Vierra TV allows me to plug in my notebook and watch my YouTube videos on the large screen.