Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tip - Use free Google Mail and other free Google services

I used a free Google product called Picasa as an entry to the free Google blogging system that hosts this blog. Picasa really seems to be a remarkably good piece of free software from Google, and it integrates really well with and the blog site

How did I get started on this? It all started in 2005 when I was invited by my son to open a Gmail account. I held the view that Google was becoming far too ubiquitous on the Net, and perhaps even predatory in the way it inveigled itself into search bars in browsers - especially in my favourite browser, Firefox. I don't like the way large companies start to become ubiquitous and predatory in the IT world - for example, that well-known company Microsoft. Why? Because it potentially limits the freedom of choice that we consumers have, and I have long disliked the way large corporations try to dictate to the market exactly what they will consume. That's why I am a strong supporter of consumer rights, consumer protection laws, consumer associations, and things like privacy - for example, I used to use JunkBuster (and later it's sister product Guidescope) to help to keep the ad-men and their annoying noise from my Net experience. On Guidescope's recommendation, I have dropped Junkbuster and Guidescope in favour of a plugin to my Firefox browser - the plugin is called Adblock Plus.

Anyway, I opened up a Gmail account, and was grudgingly impressed. Having initially been suspicious, I became assured that:

(a) my much-valued privacy was not going to be lost or exposed to the advertising spammer world, and

(b) I was not going to be inundated with advertising junk, either on screen or in my mailbox.

Then I started to check out the increasing number of utilities that Google offer, and I installed the Google desktop utility, and then Picasa2 onto my laptop. I recommend readers of this blog try out these and other free Google products. You might be as amazed as I was at how brilliantly these products work, what timesavers they can be, and how they open your world up to doing things in new ways and possibly changing your paradigms.

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