Saturday, July 11, 2009

Do you Google?

I like Google. In fact, I like the whole Google package: the search engine, the email service (Gmail), the blog service (Blogger), the maps, the satellite images (Google Earth), the video sharing (YouTube) and the online photo album (Picasa). I'm sure there are plenty of anti-globalists, anti-monopolists, anti-Big Brotherists out there who will tell you I am selling my soul to the Devil to be relying so heavily on one organization, but hey. Did anyone gripe about Sears & Robuck 150 years ago when they pretty much owned catalog shopping?
Some features I have no use for - Google AdSense - and some don't seem to work very well - Google Docs - but overall their portfolio of FREE online services is pretty darn handy and relatively easy to use, even if you're not a computer science major. Our new book Googlepedia is an owner's manual to this suite of software, and it is an essential tool for anyone wanting to optimize their use of Google Groups, Calendar, Desktop, Chrome or mashups. Author Michael Miller walks you through all the possibilities, from creating advanced search strategies with Google's search engine to buying & selling with Google Base.
His explanations are very easy to follow, and there are lots of screen shots to guide you through the steps. He also gives you plenty of tips and suggestions for tweaking the Google services to your own preferences, including an entire chapter on creating applications using Google tools. Just like the software manuals for Windows and Microsoft Office, this book will help you maximize your effectiveness and streamline your activities.
Chances are, if there's something you want to do with your computer, Google has a free tool for doing it (and if you're feeling really experimental, try some of the Beta services on Google Labs - - which is where Google Maps, Scholar and iGoogle started out life). And to do it well, you need Miller's book.

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