Google Pack software – free tools and utilities

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What is Google Software Pack?

Google software pack is a collection of free software from one of the world’s biggest IT companies. It includes useful software for everyone… web developers in particular. In fact, a few of the software are essential for web developers.

The Google software Pack offers utilities for image management, virus scanning, spyware and adware detection and removal, internet browsing, searching, voice, video and IM communication and much more.

Google software list - all programs in the Pack

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Google Pack includes essential software for web developers

From a web developers point of view (mine), the five essential software in the free Google Pack are the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer, Google Desktop and Skype. And why do I think these are so important… read on.

Free web browser Chrome in Google packGoogle free web browser Chrome was not a part of this software collection till it came out of the beta version. However, it is now the first program in the list and carries a check mark by default. This is one browser you HAVE to check out, especially, if you are a web developer – experienced or a newbie. Chrome offers an uncluttered work space with no distracting icons and uncessary buttons. I specially like the single text field at the top that allows you to enter both URL and search query (searches performed using the Google search engine) – really neat!

Firefox web browser software included in the Google PackThe usage of the Firefox browser has been steadily increasing – statistics from this web site show that more than 40% visitors surf the web with Firefox. (Update: The past several months lesser number of people are using Firefox). No web developer or web designer worth his/her salt can be without this browser. It is imperative for web developers to check a newly designed web site in both Internet Explorer and the Firefox web browser. The tons of free Firefox Addons make it a must have software.

Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer web browser included int eh Google PackThe Google Toolbar, which comes with Firefox, but has to be installed for Internet Explorer is an indispensable tool. In addition to a pop-up blocker, AutoFill (saves you time, as you no longer need to fill up online forms each time), SpellCheck (helps you correct typos and spelling errors), the Google Toolbar has some really nifty things for web developers. The one I like the most is the Enhanced Search Box in which you can type your query directly and search the Google database. This search box also offers “useful suggestions based on popular Google searches”. Now these suggested queries may help fine tune the chosen keywords for Search Engine Optimization. (FYI, this should be used in addition to the fabulous Google Adwords Keywords Tool). The other two elements of the Google Toolbar that I really like are PageRank Display (all web developers know this or should know about the Google PageRank) and Bookmarks that lets you create and label bookmarks which can be accessed from any computer.

Google desktop utility provided in the Google PackThe Google Desktop is one great piece of software. The main reason I first installed it was to have a better search tool on my computer – to replace the Search feature provided with Windows. But man… this is way-way more than a simple search tool. It has these little elements called the Google Gadgets like the Scratch Pad and To Do list that I now cannot live without.

Skype communications software included in the Google PackSkype is a communications software tool and if you don’t have it (or worse, don’t know about it), you are missing out on a lot of time+money savings… as well as, fun! I use Skype (and Google Talk, which is another software that comes with the Google Pack) regularly to keep in touch with my customers (who are in 7 different countries). No more emailing and waiting for a reply and then emailing again. With Skype I can make calls to my customer’s telephone line for pittance. By the way, Skype to Skype calls are 100% free. So if you have your friends/relatives residing abroad you can ask them to install this software on their systems and then you would be able to talk endlessly… and it’s free!

Here is another article if you want to know more about the software in the Google pack.

I am not a web developer – will the software in the Google pack benefit me?

Oh, yes! Very much so. In my opinion, some of the software utilities in the Google Pack are really helpful to the “common man”. Take for example the spyware detection tool, the anti-virus software, Skype, Google Talk or even Google Desktop. These will not only enhance your productivity but also make your system more secure providing a better web experience.

Here is another article if you want to know more about the software in the Google pack.

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