July 20, 2011

What do you love?: Google (Intro)

Caution: The author is going to gloat multiple times about himself and Google. You should not read this if :
  1. You hate gloaters/fanboys.
  2. You hate Google
  3. You hate author
Introduction
I first got to use Internet in 8th standard as a summer vacation activity, when I made my first email ID. But I came to learn about Google only next year (via a friend) when I used it to print the holiday homework of "Indus Valley Civilization" (technically the cafe-wallah used it, I just saw Google for the first time). I actually used Google for the first time next year when my brother got a dreaded holiday homework.

Getting Hooked
As I started to use Internet more and more, the need for a search engine became clearer. At that time I didn't have any preference for Google, so at times I would use Yahoo also for searching purpose, but I quickly realized that searching on Google was faster and search results were cleaner (if not better). When I got a computer at home the next year after that, using Google became second nature on Internet.

At that time I was a happy Yahoo mail user (with a stupid email ID), but had heard about awesome Gmail and knew it was 'invite only'. Being always a 'trier' of new things, I tried to get an invite. But before I could get it, they made Gmail available for all, the next year (are you counting how many 'next years' have happened?). So, I quickly made an account, even more quickly ditched Yahoo id after that. 

After that I started using other Google services slowly and slowly. And today I use at least a dozen Google services (many of them on a daily basis).

Tried in vain
In the recent years I have even tried to get out of the Google fever by trying alternate services, but without much success:

1. I ditched Gmail for sometime and tried LiveMail and YahooMail. Even desktop clients like Thunderbird and Operamail. While I was impressed by Thunderbird, I gotta say I am now quite used to Gmail and it makes 'dealing with mails' less painful than others (even enjoyable!).

2. Tried to use Bing/Yahoo for searching purpose, but again too much use of Google before, caused me to return to Google yet again (not to mention, that I simply don't like the current interface of Bing/Yahoo sites).

3. Tried Safari and Opera instead of Chrome. While I still use Opera from time to time, I am mostly stuck b/w using Chrome and Firefox (no clear winner here).

4. You know why I don't like Facebook, so I was stuck using Orkut (at one time used to spend hours there) and now recently moved to GooglePlus

5. I am an avid blog reader (blog writer?), so I use Google Reader to keep tab of the latest posts. I tried using other things like Feedly Firefox extension and desktop clients like FeedDemon but again Google interface seemed built to do the heavy duty reading. Not to mention they make it super easy to share stuff with friends from there.

6. I started using Google Buzz and Twitter almost simultaneously (around the time I got Internet@Home) and am hooked to both of them. Again, there isn't any favorite between 2 slightly similar sites. But Buzz helped me get the most out of social networking in the absence of Orkut.

7. I have recently watched a few videos from vimeo and blip.tv (and TED) and I gotta say that they seem to host better and professional quality videos. But no denying the fact that YouTube still rules when it comes to videos. I have recently been hooked to a few of the video series there and can't go without my weekly doses now.

8. Have tried Flickr (and even use it regularly but mostly to get amazed by the photos there) but I mostly use Picasa for storing and sharing photos. Though I should mention that I am really annoyed with their current interface and I believe that it needs a quick and comprehensive overhaul.

9. Have been a recent entrant to Google Docs domain so not tried its alternatives till now (though I have heard about Microsoft Office Live and Zoho Office). While it has its quirks, I found it to be immensely helpful while we made our college projects.

10. I don't see any competition to Google Maps, and a few other translation services I have seen (besides Google Translate) produced hilarious results at best (not to say that Google's solution is perfect).

11. Have tried Calendar service from Mozilla but Google Calendar rocks! I have even tried to use RTM for task management but found it too cumbersome so returned to Tasks.

12. And of course, I almost forgot to mention Blogger! I haven't tried Wordpress much, people say that Wordpress is used by professional grade bloggers. Recently, I am trying out Tumblr and making a mini blog of sort (not in public domain right now).

And there are a myriad of services that I tried and found them to be great (Groups, Sites, News, Code etc.) but not much useful for me in daily life (at least till now). And there are numerous services I am yet to try out (their umbrella of services is really big!).

While I haven't got my hands on ChromeOS and Android, but the press about them has always been good. So, I am waiting for my first Android and getting to test drive a ChromeBook.

So, now that I have talked about What do I love, it's time to explore why?