Apr 282009
 

Google and others are providing us with a great variety of free tools that enhance and organize our Web experiences.  The following shows how you can use Google’s free iGoogle desktop.  I use Firefox as my browser and this setup works exactly the same on my company PC and on my personal Macs.  I’ve numbered just a few of the key features.

igoogle-desktop

  1. To set up iGoogle, just go to google.com, download, and install in your browser.  I suggest Firefox.  After you install, make this your browser home page so that anytime you click the “home” icon it will load.
  2. Also go to delicious.com and set up Delicious bookmarks (free) including installing the toolbar icons.  Using Delicious gives you access to all your bookmarks from any computer.
  3. Once installed, Delicious give you a sidebar navigation to your bookmarks folders.  When you click on one of your named folders, its contents gets sorted out and listed in the window below (in this case “movies”).
  4. iGoogle gives you easy access to Google searches, both basic and advanced.
  5. “Add stuff” provides a huge choice of widgets (like “Google Map Search”) you can add to your desktop.  You can easily add, try them, them remove if you wish.
  6. You can change the header graphic using this prompt.  I selected the one you see because it reminds me of roads in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  7. I simply LOVE Google Docs and the fact that you can create and store them online and have instant access to them anywhere in the world you are located.  Add this using “add stuff” just like any other.
  8. I used to keep to-do lists on little pocket notebooks.  This widget has made a much better replacement.
  9. If you use Gmail, your mail is accessible using this widget.  I think there are also widgets for other mail systems such as AOL.
  10. You may often maximize one of the widgets to use it.  Clicking “home” restores your desktop and this toolbar also lets you navigate around among the widgets you have installed.
  11. I also use the free Firefox toolbar and find the AutoFill function especially time-saving.  Firefox is available for both PC and Mac and can be downloaded from firefox.com.
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