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Oodles Of Google Goodness

Picasa2 Photo Organiser

This simple yet powerful software lets you find photos stored on your PC easily and quickly. You need only a couple of minutes to download the 4.1MB installer and it requires slightly less than 30MB of space on your hard disk. Use Picasa to download images from your digital camera. Depending on how you name your images, Picasa can display a particular image even before you finish typing its filename.

Its trump card is neat displays of your images. In a simple visual album, you can see clear thumbnails, customised to your preferred size, of all images. You can also organise and sort the images according to the date taken or group them into folders that you can easily recognise. Also, rate your images; Picasa can then scan the archive display of your favourites in a matter of seconds. With a right click of the mouse, housekeeping tasks like adding or- deleting photos or adding captions to your images can be done.

With the "Locate On Disk" option you can immediately find out exactly where an image is on your hard disk the software automatically opens up the folder. Another neat feature is "Batch Edit". With blogging, Picasa brings the sharing of images to another level. Working hand in hand with Google's Blogger, Picasa allows you to publish images on your blog in three easy steps.

Google Desktop 3

Retrieving information from your computer can be tricky if you work across different PCs, with files and data scattered across your hard disk. Google's Desktop 3 Beta version helps you organise and get information when you want it. Launched last month, the Google Desktop 3 Beta version is only 1.54MB.

With broadband, it takes less than 20 seconds to download the installer from the Internet. Setting up the software took a few more minutes. The most time-consuming part of getting Google Desktop 3 on your PC is indexing. Depending on the data you have on your PC and your Gmail account, it can take more than several hours to index the data.

Thankfully, this is only a one-time process during which Google Desktop 3 will organise, group and index the data on your PC, making future searches a snap. Upon successful installation, you will see a vertical Sidebar on the right side of your desktop. This Sidebar is divided into several horizontal panels each containing nifty features like news, stocks, weather and map browsers.

All these, including the position of these panels, are easily personalised to suit your preferences. The Beta version, however, has several limitations. You can not, for example, customise your news browser to display local news. But what is going for Google Desktop is its search engine. You can easily anti quickly locate files on your PC by typing any part of a file name or an application that you need.

It can also look for keywords within a document. Another great Google item is the map browser. This mini viewer lets you look at maps and satellite images of locations around the world.. Minimise the Sidebar to make it float on your desktop or park it on the taskbar. There is also a Scratch Pad where you can scribble your thoughts or phone numbers. These are automatically saved each time you type in a character.

Other Google Goodies

For those wanting an alternative to the Internet Explorer toolbar, get the Google Toolbar. The latest Beta version is now available. New features include customisable button, a web form filler and a spell checker. There is also a pop-up blacker. Then there is Gmail, Google's free web e-mail service. It gives you more than 2,600MB of storage space.

Again, combined with Google's powerful search engine, you can easily locate any e-mail message in your account by typing keywords which are in a particular c-mail. New features include a built-in chat feature, spam filter and free automatic e-mail forwarding. The application is still in Beta stage and is available by invitation. Also in Beta version is Google Talk.

This application lets you choose to communicate with your friends by e-mail or by instant messaging. It also lets you make free calls through your PC. Another must-have is Google Earth. This popular software provides easy access to satellite photos of the earth and other geographic information.

Powered by Google's search engine, navigation and looking for locations is easy. The world can then be turned, enlarged, or reduced any way you wish. One click is all you need to identify locations like roads, restaurants, buildings and more. Also, visit Google Labs where software still in the experimental stage of development, awaits your discovery. Test them and give Google your feedback.


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