Google Pack offers useful products for business and pleasure
THERE is probably no technology company around (except perhaps for Microsoft
) that gets more attention than Google
. There are good reasons for this. The Internet has become an indispensable part of our business and personal lives. Google makes the Internet easier to use by offering great productivity tools that are free of charge.
In this tradition, I'd like to pass onto readers one of the latest Google downloads that may help you both for business and pleasure. As the name "pack" implies, this is a collection of products. I've found many of them to be useful, but in this piece I want to name a few that are essential to my daily routine. You can download these tools (and more) by going here: http://pack.google.com.
Google Desktop >> How many times have you scratched your head looking for a memo, a photo or a letter that you know is buried somewhere on your hard drive but you have no idea where to look? Google Desktop has the answer to this eternal problem. It allows computer users to search the contents of their own PCs just like you'd search the Web. It does this by indexing all your data, including word docs, e-mail, photos, online articles and other Web pages. All you need to do is type in a key word. Thus, if you're looking for a memo to Judy or Sean about their vacation to Tahiti, just type in "Tahiti" or another key word and bingo, you'll find the doc. The program allows you to set up a tiny window on your tray on the bottom of the screen or on a toolbar on top so that you can do your search without going to a special page. It's incredibly easy to use and has saved me a lot of aggravation.
Norton Security Scan & Spyware Doctor Starter Edition >> Security is a never-ending line battle and Google Pack includes a special edition of Norton Security Scan, as well as another program, Spyware Doctor, to help you evaluate your computer's vulnerability to security risks. The two apps combined will detect and remove viruses, worms and Trojans; detect, remove and blocks all types of Spyware; run and schedule scans to keep your system healthy. This is not the full-featured version of security and anti-spyware software which you'd have to pay for, but this is certainly a good place to start, especially if you have a small-business or home-office operation.
Toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox >> This item has a multitude of cool utilities that will save you time and frustration.
Here's just a few features that I find very useful: The Pop-up Blocker keeps your screen free and clear of those irritating pop-up ads; the translate feature will translate French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other non-English language Web pages; Spellcheck finds any spelling mistakes whenever you type into a Web form, including Web-based e-mail, and then corrects them; "word find" buttons help you locate a name or description on a Web page; and AutoFill enables you with a single click to fill out Web form info -- such as credit card data -- when you shop online.
Note that these are just a few of the items you can download for free. In future columns I'll discuss some of the others that I think you'll find useful.