Tag Archives: Google

Microsoft Office Killer in Making

I first speculated that Google has been creating a Microsoft Office Killer when they acquired Writely around 3 months back. But the recent limited public beta testing of Google Spreadsheets really proves that fact that they are in fact building a Microsoft Office Killer.

Some might argue that this is just hype and Web applications cannot compete with native Windows desktop applications. But I somehow feel that Microsoft Office has become more complex these days and may be only 15-20 % of the people really need those complex features but for others the Web counterparts may be enough. Apart from the simplicity the other huge factor is cost. Most of the people would be comfortable in viewing a couple of ads on their web applications rather than spending a fortune in buying their Desktop counterparts. Added to all these is that the document could be stored in Google’s Server itself which prevents you from frequent backup pain.

So here is a list of products from Google competing directly with Microsoft Office Applications

  • Word – Writely
  • Outlook – Gmail
  • Calendaring (Outlook feature) – GCal
  • Excel – Google Spreadsheets
  • Frontpage – Google Pages
  • PowerPoint – I am 99.99% sure that Google is currently creating a PowerPoint killer. It’s just a matter of time before it gets released.

Apart from the main Office applications here are other applications for which Google has a competing product.

  • Picture Manager – Picasa
  • MSN Messenger – Google Talk, Hello Messenger
  • Windows Search – Google Desktop Search
  • Internet Explorer – Google Tool bar and Google’s support for Firefox.
  • Visio – SketchUP, a recent acquisition of Google

I think in the next couple of years (around the release of vista) there could be some stiff competition to gain the market share and as always it is we the users who are going to get benefited as a result of competition. Eagerly waiting to watch Microsoft’s next move. What do u say guys?

Links:

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Google’s New Layout

I fired up Google this morning to search for something and then noticed that there was some change in the Google’s Layout. The different tabs which leads to different services like web, Image, group, news etc was on the left and the Google’s Search box has gone a little bit high.

I immediately checked my colleagues system and the Google’s homepage was displaying as usual. So then only I realized that Google has selected my ip to do some kind of testing to their new UI. So I immediately took a snapshot of it. Here are some of those screen shots.

This is Google’s web search page. Note the position of the different tabs, they are in the left.
Google's New Layout

This is the Google’s Image search page and see the position of tabs. I somehow felt that they are placed in a very awkward manner. (May be someone at Google is using their 20% free time to learn CSS positioning)

Google's New Layout

And for records I was using Firefox on Windows XP while talking these screen shots. Does anyone else noticed this new layout apart from me?

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Google Search syntax dissected

Here is my compilation of some of Google’s advanced query syntax which you can use to get results quickly.

Basic Boolean

Whenever you search for more than one keyword at a time, Google will search for all of them. If you search for

XML Java "web Services"
Google will search for all the words. If you want to specify that either word is acceptable, you put an OR between each item

XML OR Java OR "Web Services"
If you want to have definitely one term and one of two or more other terms, you group them with parentheses, like this

XML (Java OR "Web Services")
This query searches for the word “Java” or phrase “Web Services” along with the word “XML.” A stand-in for OR borrowed from the computer programming realm is the | (pipe) character, as in

XML (Java | "Web Services")
If you want to specify that a query item must not appear in your results, use a -.(minus sign or dash).

XML Java -"Web Services"
This will search for pages that contain both the words “XML” and “Java” but not the phrase “Web Services.”

Operators

In addition to the basic AND, OR, and quoted strings, Google offers some rather extensive special syntaxes for honing your searches. Google being a full-text search engine, it indexes entire web pages instead of just titles and descriptions. Additional commands, called special syntaxes, let Google users search specific parts of web pages or specific types of information. Specifying that your query words must appear only in the title or URL of a returned web page is a great way to have your results get very specific without making your keywords themselves too specific.

Here are some of the common keywords that you can add to your query in Google

intitle, allintitle

Restricts your search to the titles of web pages. The variation, allintitle: finds pages wherein all the words specified make up the title of the web page. It’s probably best to avoid the allintitle: variation, because it doesn’t mix well with some of the other syntaxes.

Eg: intitle:"george bush"
allintitle:"money supply" economics

inurl, allinurl

Restricts your search to the URLs of web pages. This syntax tends to work well for finding search and help pages, because they tend to be rather regular in composition. An allinurl: variation finds all the words listed in a URL but doesn’t mix well with some other special syntaxes.

Eg: inurl:help
allinurl:search help

intext, allintext

Searches only body text (i.e., ignores link text, URLs, and titles). There’s an allintext: variation, but again, this doesn’t play well with others. While its uses are limited, it’s perfect for finding query words that might be too common in URLs or link titles.

Eg: intext:"yahoo.com"
allintext:html

inanchor

Searches for text in a page’s link anchors. A link anchor is the descriptive text of a link. For example, the link anchor in the HTML code O’Reilly and Associates is “O’Reilly and Associates.”

Eg: inanchor:"tom peters"

site

Allows you to narrow your search by either a site or a top-level domain. AltaVista, for example, has two syntaxes for this function (host: and domain:), but Google has only the one.

Eg: site:loc.gov
site:thomas.loc.gov
site:edu
site:nc.us
You can also use site: operator to exclude certain domains from a search

Eg: google -site:google.com
This is particularly useful for ego searches. You can find out all those sites which mention your name expect your site.

Eg: bill gates -site:microsoft.com -site:wikipedia.org

link

Returns a list of pages linking to the specified URL. Enter link:www.google.com and you’ll be returned a list of pages that link to Google. Don’t worry about including the http:// bit; you don’t need it, and, indeed, Google appears to ignore it even if you do put it in. link: works just as well with “deep” URLs-http://www.raelity.org/apps/blosxom/ for instance-as with top-level URLs such as raelity.org.

Eg: link:www.google.com

cache

Finds a copy of the page that Google indexed even if that page is no longer available at its original URL or has since changed its content completely. This is particularly useful for pages that change often. If Google returns a result that appears to have little to do with your query, you’re almost sure to find what you’re looking for in the latest cached version of the page at Google.

Eg: cache:www.yahoo.com

filetype

Searches the suffixes or filename extensions. These are usually, but not necessarily, different file types. I like to make this distinction, because searching for filetype:htm and filetype:html will give you different result counts, even though they’re the same file type. You can even search for different page generators, such as ASP, PHP, CGI, and so forth-presuming the site isn’t hiding them behind redirection and proxying. Google indexes several different Microsoft formats, including: PowerPoint (PPT), Excel (XLS), and Word (DOC).

Eg: homeschooling filetype:pdf
"leading economic indicators" filetype:ppt

related

Finds pages that are related to the specified page. Not all pages are related to other pages. This is a good way to find categories of pages; a search for related:google.com would return a variety of search engines, including HotBot, Yahoo!, and Northern Light.

Eg: related:www.yahoo.com
related:www.cnn.com

info

Provides a page of links to more information about a specified URL. Information includes a link to the URL’s cache, a list of pages that link to that URL, pages that are related to that URL, and pages that contain that URL. Note that this information is dependent on whether Google has indexed that URL or not. If Google hasn’t indexed that URL, information will obviously be more limited.

Eg: info:www.oreilly.com
info:www.nytimes.com/technology

define

Will get the definition of the term that you have entered. This syntax can be used to get the definitions of words, phrases, and acronyms

Eg: define:dreaming
This query will get you the definition of the word dreaming

numrange

If you want to search for a range of numbers then you can use two dots (without spaces) to represent a range of numbers

Eg: inventions 1850..1899
This query will get you all the inventions between 1850 and 1899

safesearch

If you include safesearch: in your query, Google will exclude adult-content.

Eg: safesearch:breasts
This will search for information on breasts without returning adult or pornographic sites.

stocks

If you start your query with stocks:, Google will interpret the rest of the query terms as NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, or mutual fund stock ticker symbols, and will open a page showing stock information for the symbols you specify.

Eg: stocks:goog
This will show information about Google’s stock. Specify ticker symbols not company names. If you enter an invalid ticker symbol, you’ll be told so and given a link to a page where you can look up a valid ticker symbol.

The Special Syntaxes

Currency Conversion

Google makes it easy to calculate money conversions from one form of currency to another.

Eg: $5 in yenThe above query will let you know that five dollars is worth about 566.599846 yen.

If you’re not sure of the name of a currency, use nationality instead.

Eg: 25 Australian money in Italian money
This may sound awkward but it does the job.

Eg: $5 in indian money
This will let you know that 5 US dollars is worth about 224.477976 Indian rupees

You can even convert units in this fashion.

Eg: $2.85 per gallon in British money per literThis query will tell you that it is about 42 pence per liter and provides an international basis for discussing gas prices at the pump.

Check Airfares

When you google for the names of two major cities, Google automatically offers to search for flights.

Eg: Denver Fort Lauderdale
In the form labeled “Flights from Denver, CO to Fort Lauderdale, FL”, enter a departure and return date and choose whether to search using Expedia, Hotwire or Orbitz. Do not use quotation marks in your initial search. Denver “Fort Lauderdale” will not bring up the flight search form.

Find Song Lyrics

If you are looking for the title or lyrics of a song then you can use Google search phrases and wildcards to find them.

Eg: "Friday I am in love" lyrics
Or use the wildcard operator to get lyrics with certain words in them, like this

"Friday * love" lyrics

This compilation is just a tip of the iceberg of the features available in Google’s search syntax. If you come across any other special syntax, then do let me know so that I can add it.

Update: Some of the latest additions to Google Search Syntax can be found here.

Update 2: You can also get the current time of any city using Google Search query.

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , | 166 Comments

Google + Writely = Microsoft Office killer

Well, the news is out. Google has acquired Writely – The web word processor. I expected this to happen, but when I read about it for the first time at TechCrunch, I was little bit skeptical due to my experience with the Technorati acquisition rumor. I wrote about Technorati acquisition in this blog and then only realized that it was just a bit of Google Juice.

Now that both Google and Writely have confirmed the acquisition I can put down my thoughts on this acquisition.

When the rumor was out at Techcrunch, lot of people were of the view that Google doesn’t need to acquire Writely, but can build an in-house web word processor by just using the Gmail and blogger code as the base. But I think that Google did this not because of its inability to code but just to keep its competitors away.

I have been using Writely for nearly 4 months now and I should say that I am a satisfied user. The main reason for me to choose Writely was the ability to share my documents between my home and office computers. I was also using Writely to jolt down notes as and when I found something interesting when I am hooked on to the net. Previously I used to compose a mail in Gmail and then save it in the draft or send an email to myself to share my documents and notes between my home and office computers.

With Google Calendar under beta testing I think Google is going to roll out lot of features with this merge. Some of them could include the integration of Writely with Gmail for composing and the ability to open & store attached word documents in Gmail with Writely and the possibilities could be endless. So as a user of both Writely and Gmail I am very much happy about the merge and I am looking for some cool features in the future. It’s just a matter of time before they buy or develop the online Spreadsheet like NumSum and integrate it with Google Calendar and Writely to provide a full fledged online Office suite, the dreadful Microsoft Office killer.

But this doesn’t stop me from being skeptical about the possible privacy issues. I some how get a feeling that people have started to believe Google too much. But whether Google is keeping the belief is a different story. For instance right now Google know who are my friends (Orkut), my email correspondence (Gmail), my conversations with others (Google Talk), the web pages I search for (Search History), the feeds that I read (Google Reader) and now all my documents (Writely). Will Google keep up their motto “Don’t do evil”? I don’t know, but let’s hope they keep it up.

Links

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Google Calendar – CL2

The long waited Google’s version of calendar is out for some beta testing now. It’s been named as CL2. TechCrunch has some exclusive screenshots. Looks really sleek and a lot similar to Gmail. It’s also said that it will be very tightly integrated with GMail (which is expected).

Here is the expert about CL2

CL2 makes it easy – even effortless to keep track of all the events in your life and compare them to what your friends and family have going on in theirs. We’ve designed a calendar that works for you, helping you add events from email, friends, and other public calendars so you don’t have to spend all your time maintaining your schedule. CL2 even helps you discover new events you might be interested in. We think it’s a great tool for managing your daily schedule, keeping track of what everyone in your family is doing, organizing events for a club or team, or creating public events that you can promote to the world.

Lets hope that it is released to public soon. :)

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Matt, Here is my Feedback

Matt Cutts, (the-guy-next-to-God for SEO’s) is a asking for feedback about various Google products and services at his blog.
Initially I thought of giving the feedback as a comment in his blog itself. But it was only after I gave the comment I realized that I need more from Google. So Matt here is my feedback

GMail

  • Gmail as my default mail application – I want to read mail from my other POP3 accounts
  • DELETE button and also a keyboard shortcut to delete the message
  • Keyboard shortcut to assign a label to a message.
  • Single keyboard shortcut to do a couple of things like pressing D makes all unread messages as read and achieve them
  • Ability to add my own custom RSS feeds for web clips

Google Talk

  • INVISIBLE mode
  • Offline message
  • Ability to add my webcam too
  • Connect it with telephone like Skype
  • Infinite archive of conversation

Google Pack

  • Ability to add our own software to the list provided

Google Earth/ Maps/ Local

  • Add India and the rest of the world too.

New products/ Services

  • Google Calendar
  • Google Office
  • Google Browser
  • And also Google OS :)

So guys, have you ever felt of giving feedback to Google? If so then here is your chance.

Matt’s Feedback url’s

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Happy Birthday Google

Happy Birth Day Google.

Google has turned 7 this month. And the birth day gift is that Google is expanding it’s web search index by 1000 times.

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

My Own Google Page

Hi,

Due to my enormous presence in the online world, Google has decided to dedicate a separate home page for me. You can check it out in the following url http://www.GoogleMyWay.com/Sudar

With Regards,
Sudar

PS: If the geek with in you is still wondering, ask him to check out the url

Posted in Random/Personal | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Some useful Certification Groups

One of my friend, gave me a nice collection of yahoo and Google groups related to Certifications. Thought it will be useful for those who are preparing for certifications.

Here is the list

Yahoo Groups

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/codnet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotnetstudygroup
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotNetindonesia
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/net-vs-java
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotnetgrp
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dot_dumca
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotnetwithus
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gurusdotnet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/networkAkademiDotNet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DotNetMania
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AscendDotNet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DOTNETWorks
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mydotnetbatch
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DotNetDaily
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/covaidotnet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pondydotnet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MCAD_NET
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/edsDotNet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SacDnug
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dot4net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotNETArchitects
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dotNetSpiders
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vcode
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DXNet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/allcsharp
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learndotnet
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ASP-NET_Developers
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CSharpGuru
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Intermediate_CSharp
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/csharp-pt
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/csharp_India
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/csharp_profeesional
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CSharp_OO
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CSharp-Prog
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/csharp_tr
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CSharp_Solution2004

Google Groups

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/microsoft.public.cert.exam.mcad
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/microsoft.public.cert.exam.mcsd
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/microsoft.public.cert.exam.mcdba

Note: The familiar disclaimer. I am not affiliated or related to any of these groups. Use them at your own risk. If you find any links broken or not appropriate to certifications do leave a comment, I will remove it.

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Getting the best of two worlds – Google and Yahoo

Not long ago, having an hotmail email account with a couple of MB storage space was the only option left for users who wanted the flexibility of Web-based email. Then came Yahoo with a host of others features like photos, briefcase, messenger, personal website to name a few. A couple of more similar services came into the picture. But things changed dramatically during the DotCom burst. Many popular services either closed their services or converted them into fully paid services like USA.net. A handful of services still offered free services reduced their storage space and also set a limit for the size of the attachment and almost most of them stopped POP access to the mail also.

All these things changed completely some one year back. Yes, when Google launched GMail. Google easily pushed back the leaders in the email service like Hotmail and Yahoo. Though Yahoo some how coped up with it, Hotmail was fully thrown out of business. One of the reasons for initial success of GMail was due the fact that it was available only through invitation. So having a GMail account was a kind of pride together with its 1 GB of space. This was one of the reasons for me to move completely to GMail somewhere in July 2004. Soon GMail became the top story in most of the news channels and also in the blogsphere and Google was clearly leading the competition.

To stay in the competition Yahoo have also started adding new features like 250 MB of space (they even have a plan to give 1GB of space), a sleek layout, auto-complete for address fields to name a few. And Google have been adding features like auto-forward to any email address, free POP access, basic HTML site for older browsers etc.

Off late, Yahoo started to lead the race. One of the main reasons for that was due to the positive environment created by its employees in their blogs. (Om Malik also feels the same way in his blog) Notably Jeremy Zawodny and Russell Beattie. Even Jeremy Zawodny was talking about it in his blog. This created a huge positive image about Yahoo in the blogsphere. Google somehow got lost in this race and got itself a negative image in this blogsphere when it fired its employee Mark Zen for disclosing some sensitive information about Google.

Yahoo has now stated using the buzz word all under one roof by giving a host of services under one account. For instance their new service Yahoo 360 is one such example. Even accruing flicker has helped Yahoo regain its popularity. Jeremy Zawodny also speaks about it in his blog.

April 1st was GMail’s first birthday. So Google has started adding more features to GMail. The recent ones being 2GB of storage space and HTML formatting. So what will be Yahoo’s reaction for this?

So, what is the impact of the clash of these giants? Is it good or bad? But one thing is for sure, this competition has given the users a lot of options to choose from. The web-based email services have seen more features and invocations in the last one year than in the last 10 years or so since their invention. This goes with the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Both of them know that the users have lot of options to choose from, so they will be working very hard to stay in the competition. So the real winner of this race is the users who are using this service. Now they can expect to get the best of both worlds – Google and Yahoo.

Posted in Google/Yahoo | Tagged , | 1 Comment