Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

What Google has been up to

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on November 21, 2005

Today, I decided to go through all of the Google offerings and find out what new applications and features Google has come up with…

Google Reader [site]
Very intuitive and efficient news feed reader. I was up in a flash and navigation was very impressive for a web-based application

Personalized Google Home
I spent a few minutes setting up my personalized home page. It had some nice features: local movie listing, feed based widget, Gmail integration and bookmarks. To customize your own page, just log in with a Google account (e.g. Gmail account). Then, go to www.google.com and select the “Personalized Home” option at the top right of the browser window.

Google Earth [site]
I had heard about it, but hadn’t actually played with it. Not very useful for me, but it is pretty unexpected and amazing if you have never used it before

Google Video [site]
It didn’t seem very useful to me. I did a search for “Lost” [here] and it just returned crap
Google Web Accelerator [site]: I installed it and I like the concept. It is an especially interesting product when you consider what some have said about Google’s business strategy and end page [i, cringley]

Google Ride Finder [site]
Not a very effective idea. 1) it shows far too many cabs on the map [Seattle] 2) it doesn’t work well or at all on a mobile device/PDA 3) by the time you update the cab information, the cab probably already drove past you on the street. Interesting concept to get people thinking, but not much more than that. Frankly, there are some much better uses of the Google Maps API out on the web than Google Ride Finder

Google Suggest [site]
Effectively, this is just type ahead like you might see in a T9 system on a phone or in a software development IDE. Interesting idea, but I imagine it is not too scalable as of yet, otherwise Google would have already put it on their home page. Maybe in the future once Google’s infrastructure improves, they will be able to support this feature

Google Compute [site]
Why is Google doing this? It’s a nice idea and all, but there are other systems already doing [BOINC] this and I don’t see what they upside is for Google

Blogger [site]
Love it, use it, that’s what this weblog is written with

Google Desktop [site]
I’ve been using Google Desktop for a while now. It has completely changed the way that I manage data and files (particularly emails) on my computer. I used to organize my emails in hierarchical folders. Now, all read emails that I don’t care about I delete, those that I care about go in the “stuff” folder. If I ever want to find an old email, I just use Google Desktop. Their new Outlook toolbar has sped things up a bit as well. I’m not too keen on the sidebar feature, so I don’t really use it. I think a personalized Google homepage is more interesting and less obstructive than the sidebar

Gmail [site]
I am not really a true Gmail user, but I have found one interesting use for it. I pay for email service from GoDaddy and retrieve my email with Outlook. However, Gmail is a much better client than GoDaddy’s online email system. Plus, since GoDaddy uses POP3, I don’t leave all of my emails on the server. So, instead, I use Gmail as my web based email client when I am not at my own computer. It works well because I have my GoDaddy account setup to automatically copy and forward every email I receive to my Gmail account. That way, no matter what, I have a duplicate copy of new emails available at Gmail. Gmail’s interface is pretty easy to use and they have slowly been making improvements to the system

Picassa [site]
This is a great application. If I took more digital photos, this tool would be indispensible

Google Talk [site]
Basically just-another-instant-messenger-client. MSN Messenger does everything that Google Talk does and much more. So do Trillian, AIM, etc.Google Toolbar [site]: love it, use it, couldn’t live without it

Google Translate [site]
I haven’t used it much, but it can be great for reading sites that are in languages that you don’t speak

I’m going to stop there for now. Google keeps adding some very interesting products (mixed in with a few lame ones) and there are a ton of search specific features and tools that I haven’t mentioned. You can find the newest Google features the Google Labs page and the rest here.

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