Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Google stuff

You may be able to use a connected electronic device (computer, tablet, phone) quite happily without meeting up with the Google app launcher.

Image result for google app launcher

It is the first item to the right of Alex's name.  It's that little 3x3 set of small squares. There are other ways to see all of the Google stuff but finding that little set of dots on a Gmail page is a good one.

I am much weirder than you are but even I don't use this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products
It gives all sorts of Google services and products but it also gives lots of information about discontinued Google services.  Unless you are scholar of public computing, you may well have enough to see and do without quite so much information.

A while back, we basically had big, expensive "mainframe" computers and then in the 80's, we got desktops.  About that time, we had individual IBM computers and individual Apple computers, although many other brands and types tried to make a go of things.  At that time, the idea of a computer was a machine that could do things, such as word-processing (better, easier and more correctable than typewriting) calculating all sorts of math and databases that could be put into this order or that order quite quickly.  But then, computers got smaller and more powerful at the same time as people created "web sites", places in cyberspace where information and comments were posted.  So, the worldwide web came into being and again several companies tried to create "browsers" to enable people to browse and to search.
Today, we also have the dark web but I don't want to hire a hit man or buy a ton of drugs.  Google, Facebook with its billion users all over the world, Apple with its pioneering and excellently designed equipment and Microsoft with its strong majority of operating systems are competing strongly and sometimes cooperating.  Not to omit Amazon with its dominant web services and everything-store approach.

We are approaching a time when youngsters will ask "What's a computer?" while using a smartphone or an Amazon Fire tablet.  Microsoft doesn't want to be left behind but basically this business of mini-programs called "apps" (from "applications", programs that accomplish things)  falls into two groups Apple (think "iPhone, iPad, Mac") and Android (think Google and Amazon).

Only one of these companies works mostly on web pages, open to any and all and that is Google.  That means that Google stuff like email, photos, cloud storage can be accessed pretty easily on any connected device.  Some companies resist using Google's stuff more rigorously than others.  Some people are interested in Google Photos or Google Voice or Google Earth and I say look them up in a Google search and give them a try.  Sometimes, using a Google item works better with Google's own browser called "Chrome".  You can search for it and download it on any computer, phone or tablet. Try everything of interest.  If you can't get your way, search the problem in Google.

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