Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How To Live a iLife gLife googLife

After browsing through the feeds in my reader, I cam across an article that critiqued a bunch of readers. One of them, Google Reader, was my new one that I have just fallen in love with. So I was going to write an article about how good it was. Then I realized that I use a hell of a lot more Google products than just their reader. I am now living what I dub the googLife.

You can’t just have "g" in the title and expect everyone to know what it is, especially when compared to "iLife". You would just never know that the "g" was for Google. Hence the goog. Plus I like saying goog a lot...goog. So, without further hesitation, the list of things you need to live a googLife.

[Full article after jump]

1) Google Reader, from the Google labs section
I have used a lot of in-browser readers in my time, but none have the functionality that Google reader has.

- I used to just read the feeds when I was at work. Now I don't have to. Since this is a Google product, I just need an internet connection and a computer in order to read my feeds where ever I go.
- Say that I still just read the feeds at work. When I get back to work from a weekend, or a long weekend, I would only find 20 new stories/articles in each feed when i was using the in-browser rss reader. Just to put this into perspective, digg's front page is one of my feeds. Now those of you that are not familiar with digg, there are a hell of a lot more articles than 20 that reach the front page over the weekend. With Google reader I get an accurate number up to 100. After 100 i1 just goes to "100+".
- want more articles from your feeds? Just keep scrolling down in Google reader. With the in-browser feed readers, I was only able to get the articles from when I first subscribed to the feed. If I wanted to go back further than that, I would have to go to the feed's website and dig through the archives. If you run out of articles in Google reader, just scroll down a bit more and it will automatically read more of the rss feed and populate them on the screen for you.

Some functions/features that Google reader lacks:
- A simple button to go from the Google reader page to your personalized Google home page. sometimes there are pc's that I’m on (take my work pc for instance that goes to the intranet home page instead of Google), making it difficult to go from the reader page to the Google home page where I have my favorite widgets (gmail, reader, clock, calendar and traffic for my area). So instead of relying on the home button in the browser, there should be a button build into the Google reader page, as well as the other Google items I will be talking about below, to go to Google personalized home page from the reader.
- There is already the ability to share some choice stories that are accessible through a feed. But a small step up would be the ability to share all of your subscribed feeds with other people, instead of just choice stories. I don't mean share all the stories from all your feeds, just what feeds you subscribe to. Sure they can probably get the hint by the handful of stories you share, but do you share stories from all of your feeds? I don't. Perhaps even the ability to visit one's Google reader home. Crazy enough to work? I think it would be cool to go to someone's reader’s page and see if they have anything interesting that I might want to also subscribe to, if not something to poke fun at them for.

2) Google personalized home page as your home page
This is a must have for the googLife. And it is especially necessary to have a handful of Google widgets on your personalized page. Yes, you do have to personalize it a bit. Some suggestions for widgets: weather, clock, traffic. Some necessary widgets to classify you as living the googLife: Google calendar, Google reader and gmail.

This leads me into number 3...

3) A gmail account
More specifically, 2 gmail accounts, because just one account won't do. You need one entirely for spam that you might be interested in the near future and one for regular use. If you have spam that you know is just completely junk and you will never be interested in it at all, feel free to use either dodgeit.com or the tempomail firefox extension.

This should be a bit more enticing these days since Google now has pop functionality. Allowing you to forward a copy of incoming email to a desired separate email address as well as being able to add your gmail account to outlook.

4) A Blogger blog
Gotta love blogs. And with googles new blogger beta, with increased functionality, it’s even better these days. Its cake to do a quick post, tinker with the html in your template to adjust your main blog page or just to double check on your adsence account. It's a bloggers world out there these days, and Google’s Blogger is extremely easy to use.

5) Google's Calendar
This one is not a necessary one for you to use extremely strictly each and every single day. This is just something to lightly use. Going away from work for a week or more? How are you going to remember the meeting you have on the Monday you are coming back? Simple! Just upload your outlook calendar to your Google calendar and check your Google calendar before you go to bed Sunday night. This can be checked in a flash if you have the calendar widget on your Google personalized home page.

6) Google docs/spreadsheets
with Google expanding more and more into the office world, this one is a must for the quick document that you wish to share between computers. Feel free to do up your resume allowing you to not have to hunt and peck for the most up-to-date version of it between your work computer, your home computer, monster.com and careerbuilder.com.

7) Google Earth
I'm talking about the free application, not Google maps here. The application is more flexible than maps. There are user options that you can customize to your needs. There are just a lot more functions in the application version than the Google maps version and I suggest you give it a try.

8) Google Notebook w/firefox extension
take notes one whatever website you are on with the firefox extension. When you start a new note, Google notebook automatically puts in the URL of the current site you are on as part of the note. After saving the note(s) you can use the maximize function of the extension to go to your Google notebook account and take a look at all of your notes on a bigger page. This application is extremely flexible and, like all googLife products, the follow you around the net to whatever pc you are on.

9) Froogle
Whether you are selling something, buying something or just looking for gift ideas froogle is the place to take a look at. And it is incredibly easy to get to as well. Just do your Google search like you normally would (from your personalized googLife home page), click on more at the top center of the page and then froogle.

10) Specialized Searches
And just to keep this list to a nice round number, specialized searches. This is where you would go if you are looking for that special search that has to do with c++ code or Linux commands. I am a programmer and work and this site is very useful.

And that wraps up the googLife list. Be sure to stick to the rules and you'll be living the googLife in no time flat. There are a lot of these products that are still in the beta phase. So I encourage you to frequently visit the Google Labs section of Google to see what is new and what has been updated and to see if there are new things that can help get you closer to living a full googLife.

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