Saturday, April 1, 2017

A convenience

I think getting a book by means of a kind of cellphone call is totally wonderful.  I still use the local libraries, public and university, especially for books that are not available in electronic form.  Still, I have been accused of working for because of my advocacy of Kindles and Kindle books.  Similarly, I could be accused of working for Google.

I still have my UWSP email and I use it.  But as a retired person, it seems right to use some more commercial service and let the university deal with its enormous email and other communications burden without doing much to add to them. Google uses web pages, which are an amazing invention and can serve many functions.  So many functions that it time-consuming just to list all of them so I won't try.  As you may know, one or both of the founders of Google have doctorates in computer science and the sprawling company got its first real lift from having a very good, very handy, very simple search window.  So, we have today's verb Google, as in "Just Google how to use a microwave for immediate answers and information."

Microsoft's Bing and the search "engine" Duckduckgo are alternatives and it is good to have alternatives in mind but Google's search is still very handy and very efficient.  But the company has grown way, way beyond just making search for web sites and information easy.  If you put "handy list of all Google services" in Google, you can find various places where all the things Google offers for free are listed.  Suffice it to say that the first item that came up was a list of 140 different services and products.

Another convenience with Google is that you only need a single username and password to have access to all of their stuff.  I saw years ago that my computer guy nephew used Gmail and I thought I would follow his lead.  Just put "Gmail" into Google and get yourself a Google logon and password.  Then, you can spend the next several months trying out Google Hangouts and Gmail and Google Translate and Google Voice (easy, fast, convenient texting for free to anyone with a cellphone).  Google Earth and Google Trends and plenty of other ways of using your phone, computer and tablet will fill your hours to the overflow point.

I am giving a talk next fall about Google Drive and Google Docs to a group of senior citizens who want to know how to create and keep their stuff conveniently available from any connected device without toting all kinds of equipment around.

When you sign into Gmail or the Google browser "Chrome", you get a small 3x3 pattern of little black dots in the upper right corner of the page.  That little matrix will open to all the Google services.  All you need to get started is a Gmail logon name and password.  

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