NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, July 2007
The New, the Best, and the Worst - May 2007
Collected by Pim Borman, Webmaster, SW Indiana PC Users Group, Inc.
swipcug@sigecom.net (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

(Since the original publication of this article Google has changed it's main Web page. The "more" button is now on the menu bar and the drop-down menu does not list all the features described in this article, although they are still available. The easiest way to find all the Google services is to do a Google search on "google." It yields more than 40 direct references to Google offshoots.- Pim B.)

Google – The Rest of the Story
If you only use Google the way I do, using keywords to search the Web, you're like the polar bear walking on top of an iceberg, ignorant of all that's underneath. As scientists are finding out in the Antarctic, there is an awful lot to be learned from drilling down into the ice below, and there is a lot to be learned by drilling down in the Google menus. Go to http://www.google.com, click on more... and in the pop-up window click on even more... and you'll find a page full of links to Google offshoots. I'll just list some of them here, as space permits, but you may want to go see for yourself.

Google News (news.google.com) presents a current news update worth being bookmarked for a quick check on what's going on in the world. Google Finance (finance.google.com/finance) has all the latest financial news. Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) sends email updates on the topics of your choice. Monitor a developing news story, get the latest on a celebrity or event, or keep tabs on your favorite sports teams. This site is still in beta.

Froogle (froogle.google.com) is the place to go for online shopping. If you like to browse through catalogs, go to Google Catalogs (catalogs.google.com). Find local businesses as well as directions for getting somewhere with Google Maps (maps.google.com/maps). Use Google Checkout (google.checkout.com) to set up a Google account with which you can order from many participating stores and be protected against online fraud.

Search a variety of printed matter with Book Search (books.google.com), covering the full text of books, although many publishers refuse Google permission to put the content of their books online. Scholarly publications are available in Google Scholar (scholar.google.com), but many of the publications at best only provide an abstract to non-subscribers. Sometimes you may be able to get access to the complete articles through the Web site of your local library, such as the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. Over 7 million US Patents can be searched with Google Patent Search (http://www.google.com/patents)

Google Images (images.google.com) lets you search for images that include a title, description, or keywords. To come up with descriptions for unlabeled images Google uses an online game, Google Image Labeler (images.google.com/ imagelabeler). Two separate contestants are shown a picture and asked to come up with descriptive labels. For each label they provide in common they earn points. It is an addictive game with the benefit that the resulting winning labels are accurate descriptions of the image.

For general searches use the Google Directory (http://www.google.com/dirhp) that organizes the Web by topic into categories. And if you have a problem locating stuff on your own computer drives, Google Desktop (desktop.google.com) will help you find it.

Other Features. Google has been extending its services beyond searching. GMail (mail.google.com) offers online email accounts with many features and very large mail storage areas (several gigabytes as of this writing). Docs and Spreadsheets (docs.google.com) offers an online word processor and spreadsheet program that facilitates project cooperation between groups of persons. Additional cooperative programs are Calendar (http://www.google.com/calendar), to organize your schedule and share events with friends, and Groups (groups.google.com) to create mailing lists and discussion groups.

With Talk (http://www.google.com/talk) you can IM and call your friends through your computer. You can also use Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) to create a shared online diary. Picasa (picasa.google.com) lets you edit, organize and share your photos with others, while YouTube (http://www.youtube.com) lets you watch, upload and share videos.

Google Earth (earth.google.com) is in a category of its own. It lets you roam all over the earth and zoom in on specific areas of interest.

If you want to know what else Google may come up with visit Google Labs (labs.google.com) for a preview.

Rebates With Manners?
I recently purchased a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements. It came with a $20 upgrade rebate offer for which almost any photo editing program, including Picasa2, passed muster. I sent in the box tab with a Xerox copy of my old MS PhotoDraw disc and the invoice. To my surprise I received an email, several days later, acknowledging receipt of my submission. A week later I received a notice that “Your rebate check was mailed on 09-Apr-2007. Please allow at least 30 days for delivery.” So far, so surprisingly good. I received the check on April 25, not bad for, maybe, surface mail from India.

Super Internet Creation?
Many newspapers carried an Associated Press article by Anick Jesdanun, dated April 14, 2007, about movements afoot to create a new and improved Internet from scratch to replace the current one. As the article states, “...many believe a clean slate approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges...” For some time this has been the dream of university researchers trying out new concepts, but now “Industry is playing a bigger role this time, and law enforcement is bound to make its needs for wiretapping known. “ Sounds ominous.

The National Science Foundation is sponsoring several projects toward the goal of establishing an experimental network known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations, or GENI. Major universities are involved, as well as the Defense Department. The European Union has its own independent efforts underway.

The current Internet and its World Wide Web superstructure, with all its shortcomings, is a truly wonderful achievement. Twenty years ago no one in his wildest dreams could have foreseen the worldwide scope and the extent to which it has become an integral part of our civilization. It demonstrates how natural evolution can achieve the unthinkable. And that should now be replaced by a politically correct product, created by committees of programmers and approved by international governments and “industry”? Lord help us. Let's stick with evolution.

(If you want to read the original article use Google to search for “Jesdanun Associated Press”. Thanks to Linda Gonse, editor of the Orange County PCUG, for bringing the article to my attention).

© 2007 Willem F.H Borman. This article may be reproduced in its entirety only, including this statement, by non-profit organizations in their member publications, with mention of the author's name and the Southwestern Indiana PC Users Group, Inc.

This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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