The Google Pack software is a free collection of useful tools and utilities for everyone especially web developers. To know how the Google Pack software collection can help you, read free software from Google in the Google Pack.
Though, you can download the entire Google Pack in just a few mouse clicks and get all the programs, Google, being the smart company it is, lets you to choose the software before you want to install. I am going to classify the software and utilities available for download in the free Google Pack software in categories as I deem fit.
There are many programs in this collection that are indispensable for web developers. The other software are more for fun and enjoyment and can be installed by the casual computer user. So here goes…
All web developers (and I mean ALL) should download Firefox and install it on their systems to check how their web sites appear in this web browser. Based on the Firefox statistics from my web sites, almost 25% of surfers use this browser. These numbers may be skewed (stats usually are) because my web sites are geared towards web developers who are more likely to try out and adopt new technologies and software. But even so, if one looks at the global web browser usage statistics, the Firefox browser has a fair share. You cannot afford to have a web site that does not work well for a sizeable percentage of your visitors (especially true if you are using browser specific tags and a WYSIWYG editor). Also, writing W3C compliant HTML or CSS does not guarantee that a web site will appear the same in Internet Explorer and Firefox web browsers.
By the way, Firefox usage had hit a high of 45% and then started to decline at a steady rate.
Final verdict: For budding web developers it’s almost a sin if newly designed web sites are not checked in the Firefox browser.
I didn’t take to the free Google web browser, Chrome, immediately. I got it a few days after launch, checked it out and quite simply forgot about it. So my first impression of Chrome was far from ‘wow’. But after reading about it repeatedly in Matt Cutt’s blog, I gave the browser a second shot… and I was hooked! The no-nonsense and clutter free interface which was actually a put-off at the start, turned out to be the thing I love the most. There are also no distracting icons and buttons, most of which you will probably never use. The one feature I’ve grown to appreciate a lot is the single text field in which you can enter either the URL or the search query (searches performed using the Google engine). Chrome is supposedly the fastest web browser and provides excellent security.
Final verdict: Download Chrome immediately and use it religiously for a few days to get over the initial inhibition of working on a new program. I’m sure you will end up making it the default browser on your computer.
The Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer integrates itself with the browser. It helps you save time as you can perform a search on the Google index from any web page. It also provides some SEO details such as the Google PageRank and keyword sugggestions.
The Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer has the Enhanced Search Box that lets you search Google’s database of web sites, Google Images, Google News, Google Maps, Google Groups and more. The new search box provides helpful suggestions based on your latest queries or the most popular queries of people around the world. If you are a web developer you will quickly understand the importance of this as a keyword suggestion utility. The PageRank display on the Google Toolbar is another thing that is important for web developers. It can help you ascertain whether a web site is good or bad. The Bookmarks feature of the Google Toolbar allows you to store favorite web sites at one place that can be accessed from any computer (you need a Google account for this… which is free any case). Other features of the Google Toolbar are Pop-up Blocker, AutoFill, SpellCheck, Send To (with which you can “use your Google Toolbar to share web pages via email, text message (SMS), or blog”) and much more.
Final verdict: Gotta download it especially if you are a web developer and use Internet Explorer regularly.
Another winner from Google. I first installed it on my system to replace the no-so-good search utility provided by Microsoft Windows. But this has proved to be much more. The Google Gadgets and Sidebar that come with this tool are very useful. I specially love the Scratch Pad (“type and save notes for yourself”) and To Do list (“easily add new tasks, check off completed ones, and drag and drop items”) – has helped little old forgetful me tremendously!
Final verdict: Get this tool for yourself without thinking twice. It’s going to change how you work.
Do you have friends/relatives living abroad? If so, this is a must for you. As for me, I routinely use Skype and Google Talk to stay in touch with my clients. I have even used Skype successfully to hunt for new customers. And I can not only chat and talk but also see them using video. Skype-to-Skype calls are free; so you can talk endlessly to someone if they are also on Skype. Additionally, Skype also allows me to make calls directly to the telephone for a nominal charge… and here lie big savings.
Yes Siree! No more emailing for me. If I have a doubt I usually call my clients abroad and clarify the issue.
Final verdict: If you have a business that caters to clients and prospects abroad or simply want to stay in touch with friends/relatives abroad, Skype and Google talk will bring in mega savings in telephone bills.
Picasa locates and organizes all photographs and pictures on your computer. As a web designer, I have found it a mega time saver. Now I keep all the stock photos and clipart on my system organized in nice albums. In fact, Picasa even located some of the photos I had forgotten! Talk about efficiency! The program also lets you move and re-name pictures and photos, make an album to collate similar images, rate them and even password-protect selected collections.
Final verdict – Do you have a digital camera or are you a web designer – Picasa is a must!
Spyware Doctor detects, removes and blocks all types of Spyware and Adware threats. With over 50 million downloads and one million each week, the Spyware Doctor is a trusted award winning tool for everyone. It’s very easy to use and features intelligent automatic protection with frequent Smart updates that ensure you always stay protected. Spyware Doctor now includes an anti-virus feature.
Final verdict: A useful Google pack software essential for all web surfers and Internet users. Period!
Lets you create a screensaver of your photos and pictures. Now you don’t need specialized skills to create screensavers. Just supply the images to the Google Pack screensaver and you will be able to “enjoy your favorite photos when your computer is idle”. You can view the photos in full screen mode or as a collage. This is a fun piece of software and ideal for family computers.
If you ever wanted to fly over your street or have a feel of the world through the eyes of a bird, Google Earth is for you. With this software you can zoom in from space almost to street level and tour the world if you want. The Google Earth web site mentions: It’s the planet inside your PC; an atlas, encyclopedia and flight simulator, all rolled into one. You can also take virtual tours of certain places (like the Grand Canyon, for example). Additionally, Google Earth helps you locate maps, hotels, restaurants, provides driving directions and much more.
In addition to the above, Google Pack also includes RealPlayer and Adobe Reader.
Though the digital data on the Internet resides on millions of interconnected servers, the net itself is just data transfer which takes place by electrons and radio waves. Russell Seitz, a physicist, tried to find the weight of the Internet based on this. His calculations, using Einstein's famous e = mc2 formula, revealed that the mighty Internet weighs as much as a strawberry. [more...]