Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

The Google Desktop

I always seem to find time to play with the computer, to test out new things. In the long run this habit causes an instable system and a lecture from Agnes about the time I spend behind the computer. She is right of course.
My recent project (small as it is) was signing up with all services that Google is providing. I had read the various articles about “Google now adding.. ” or “Google now has….”, but never really tried it. Signing up through the various offering is easy once you have a GMail account. From then on it is simple to create your own Google start page with links to the Google Desktop: documents, spreadsheets, notebook, creating HTML pages, chat, email, newsgroups, photoalbums and a weblog. Picasa gives the warning that it supports Windows only, but it is no problem to upload pictures to my album under Linux.

It is an interesting collection of web-based applications/tools, all accessible through one account and one password. Single sign-on all the way (except maybe for Blogger). The settings for each app/tool reveal functionalities that just beg to be tested. Like the ability to recieve notifications from your online calendar via SMS. I want to know whether it works and whether a price tag is involved (since I can hardly imagine it being free). The online help is not really helping since it states that it depends on the provider. “It could be free”. The Calender can be integrated in a personal website. Simple documents and spreadsheets can be created, shared and edited.

The Google Notebook is a fun little tool which embeds itself in Firefox. The right mouse button option to add text to your notebook only works when there is no other extension in FF claiming that (like Radial Context in my case). But the Add note button works just as well and this is great when surfing around and gathering information. The selected text is preserves as well as the hyperlink. You can create multiple notebooks for various projects.

Time to stop playing and start working again, but I can suggest you to Google Desktopping yourself.

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