Drag and Drop Attachments in GMail

19 07 2007

I’m a Google-holic. I use GMail and Google Calendar religiously. One thing that always bothered me about GMail was the fact I couldn’t drag and drop my attachments into the browser. Lucky for me I found this useful Firefox extension called dragdropupload that allows me to do so.





Google Desktop Search vs Tracker

29 06 2007

After reading Mohammad’s blog post about Google Desktop, I thought I’d take it for a spin since I’m a GDS fan when I’m on XP. Though I’ve only been using it for two days, I soon realized that I am going back to Tracker. Here’s why:

1. Memory Footprint

GDS is costing me 50MB+ for the search utility, the indexing process, and the tray icon. Tracker peaks at about 4MB for me – and that includes the indexing process.

2. No Deskbar Integration

With tracker I can integrate it into my deskbar. I can launch apps, search the web/desktop, and run system level commands from one place. GDS is limited to only searching the web/desktop, so as a power user I’m still stuck using 2 applications, when I can be using one integrated solution. I hope in the future we will be able to integrate GDS into the Deskbar, but it seems unlikely since GDS is a closed-source binary.

3. Firefox Results

GDS displays search results in Firefox. Though this is nice, we all know that FF isn’t the fastest loading application in our toolbox. Tracker has its own native GTK+ search window which loads up a lot quicker.

3. Privacy

If enabled, Google can monitor your usage, which they claim is non-personal information. I’m still a bit weary about anyone collecting my data for that matter, even if its Google who sees, hears, and speaks no evil. Tracker just does its job, it searches. No fuss or hassle.

One thing I will note however – GDS is blazing fast. It picks up search results as I type, faster than Tracker. The speed difference isn’t enough to outweigh its large memory footprint though. I am indexing my root folder which is the culprit for GDS eating up my memory, but if Tracker can do it efficiently, I expect the boys at Google to do so as well =).





Google Browser Sync – Take Your Browser Settings Anywhere

7 06 2007

If you work on multiple machines, and are anything like me – you hate re-entering your password for websites that require authorization. I have most of my passwords saved in Firefox on my home laptop, but when I visit those same sites at work I am prompted – which annoys me. Here is where Google Browser Sync comes to the rescue:

“Google Browser Sync for Firefox is an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings – including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords – across your computers. It also allows you to restore open tabs and windows across different machines and browser sessions.”

Now you can synchronize all of your browser settings with Google, and if all of your machines are running this Firefox extension, you can surf hassle free. Even bookmarks are saved, so no need to export from one machine to another. This extension gives you the option for encrypting your data with a personalized PIN; this even encrypts your data from Google. If you trust your data in Google’s hands then give this extension a shot (even if you don’t trust Google, they still know what you are doing – but I’ll save that for another post).

Download:

http://tools.google.com/firefox/browsersync/install.html





Google Maps For Your Mobile Phone

5 06 2007

Google has released a new verson of its maps software for mobile devices. It now includes GPS (if you have an external, or built into your chipset), as well as real-time traffic data. Now when you’re on the go and can’t decide which pizza joint you want to eat at, Mobile Google Maps will tell you which routes are crowded along with multiple options so you and your buddies can fight over where to eat.

What more could you ask for? Maps, directions, gps, real-time traffic data, and a business directory all on your phone. Users beware: do not use this application while driving.

Download:

http://www.google.com/gmm/GoogleMaps.CAB

Windows Mobile Users – just download and install the CAB. It should show up under Programs. For non-WM  users, Google offers the software as a midlet, so if you’re device is Java ready check out http://mobile.google.com





Killer App – 5 Reasons Why Google Gears is Great

1 06 2007

Google Gears (BETA) is an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality. Gears just may be the platform Google needs to compete against Microsoft. Here are a few reasons why I think this is the new killer app:

1. Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Imagine being able to take the documents you write offline so that you can edit it on your computer. When you get back online you can synchronize your changes with the version thats on Google’s servers – all within your web-browser – all for FREE.

2. GMail

One of the reasons why Microsoft Outlook is so popular is due to the fact you can read your mail on your desktop (offline). GMail is a great e-mail application, and I have completely replaced Outlook/Thunderbird for that matter. However, if I could read my GMail content offline it would make a nearly perfect product simply golden.

3. Google Maps

Save maps offline. Get driving directions offline. Need I say more?

4. Google Reader

Taking your RSS feeds offline allows you to read more content when you’re not live on the wire. I would love to be able to read Engadget where I’m not connected to the internet.

5. Taking Web 2.0 to Web 2.5

All of those online photo editors, and AJAX apps make life a lot easier. Some of them downright are easier to use than desktop applications. Why not take those apps and bring it to the desktop? We are getting closer and closer to ubiquitous computing.

With the above points mentioned Gears seams awfully similar to Adobe’s Apollo platform. Adobe announced that their platform will integrate the Gears API,  paving the way for mass adoption. Microsoft is coming out with their own technology called Silverlight, but as usual its closed-source and will lock you into their technologies. We’ll see where the road lies ahead, but an open-source platform seems very enticing to me. I have a feeling the web is about to get a whole lot smarter.

Note: For all you developers check out the Google Gears API. Make your web application desktop ready. The power of open-source will prevail.