Its been a Google Week
|Well, this is the week I decided to take a look at Google's other offerings... all the other places besides the SEARCH where they can get Adwords in front of you. I've just started this account on Blogger, as you can see, but I've also been playing with Gmail, Picassa, and their SiteSearch service
The week got rolling when Ansley Berrones sent me an invitation to gmail. It's a pretty interesting model for email, flavoring things just a little differently than most email systems. While I miss the ability send HTML emails, and set up autoresponders, I'm enthusiastic about a lot of the innovative features. What the archiving, labeling, and starring add up to is: I can keep my inbox empty. In Thunderbird, I had over a thousand read messages in my inbox, waiting to be filed. Here, I can label mail as I read it (actually I have filters handling a lot of the labeling) , star them if there is a TO DO implied by the email, and then archive as soon as they are read.
But I've only been using it for a few days - let's see what I say about it next month.
Next, I decided to take a look at Picassa - Google's photo management software - and started to see what it is that makes these apps Googlish - they are built around what google does - searching. This dynamic searching replaces the catagorization I used to do to keep track of all my images. It makes a a real difference in how you use your data.
Picassa builds an index of all your photos across all your hard drives, and lets you search and label them, just like you do in gmail. Sets of images sharing a common label can be displayed exactly like physical folders. So really, I do not even need to worry about storing all my images tidy little folders. I just need to label them as I dump them on the drive. And I certainly do not need to keep duplicate copies of a picture because I want it in both with the pictures I use for marketing materials and the pictures of my recent vacation. I just give it two labels. Just as we put a a single person record on multiple lists in MEMBERS ONLY.
Finally, I decided to put a google search on my web site. That turns out to be a trivial task. You go to Google SiteSearch and walk through a wizard that build a script for your page. You end up with a little search box on your page that allows users to search either the entire web or your little piece of it. Here's what it looks like. And all you pay for it is putting up with Google adwords on your site. The risk - a competitor's ad could pop up. On your site! harumph!