Category archive - Google

GTask Issues

One of my most used app on my Droid X is GTask. It’s essentially the Google task bar from Gmail on your phone. It will automatically sync up with Google Task bar, and you can keep a list just for your phone if you like.

I really like that you can set recurring events and set reminders. It is really helpful when trying to remember to put the garbage! The problem I’ve been having recently is that these recurring event reminders are accumulating. So now when the remind comes up about garbage night, it literally announces about 40 reminders, which I’m guessing is the number of weeks that I’ve been using it to remind me to take out the trash!

I haven’t really had the time to dig into it, or at least no time when I’m thinking about the issue. I’m guessing that I’m going to have to uninstall it and re-install from the Google store (which I notice is now called the Play Store). The trick is I just have to take the time to do it. It’s not as quick as it sounds because I need to write down all the things I have in there that I need to remember, so that I can remember to put them into the app when it’s re-installed.

Then I need to dig into why it’s doing this. I’m guessing it has something to do with the way that I click off the reminder when it comes up. It goes away until the next week when it comes back double. So it’s either a bug or something I’m doing.

I’ll keep you posted as to what the deal is when I get it all fixed up. Speaking of which I guess maybe I should do it now while I’m thinking of it ūüôā

Gmail – The Best Email In The World

Email GoogleIt may sound like an overstatement at first but once you start using Gmail you will realize that Google has indeed put together the best email service in the world. The best part of course is that it won’t cost you a penny.

Why is Gmail Free?

Well as the old saying goes, nothing in life is free. Gmail isn’t going to cost you any actual dollars, but Google is making money by signing you up for Gmail. They are going to have their¬†algorithm read through the content of your email and it’ll server relevant ads on the top and or side of your screen when you are in Gmail. They are really not invasive on your experience and to be honest I never notice them until I happen to think to look for them. When I do notice them they are usually ads that I have valid interest in because they are somehow relevant to what I was just reading or typing about on email and I do click on the ads quite often because of valid interest.

Why is Gmail So Great?

I don’t own stock in Google so I can say without bias that I just really think Google does everything better. They just seem to be bound by the traditional thinking of how things are normally done. They just break down the things that we do everyday and take for granted and get right to the core of what is needed and how it should really work. To top things off not only do they make things work better (search, email, etc) but they also make every so very user friendly. With very little exception (Google Wave?) every Google product that I’ve set down in front of for the first time I was able to figure out very quickly and easily. If there are times when I stumble a bit it turns out the be because it is so different then what I’m used to, but then once I learn the Google system I realize that it is the way it should have been done all along!

Gmail was exactly that way for me. When I first saw they Gmail tracked email string in what they called conversations it was very confusing because it was so different then anything I had been used to before. But then as I got using Gmail I realized that it just made total sense to do things this way. All you emails back and forth on a subject are in one place. Instead of having a string of 20 emails in your inbox which was just the incoming part of a email conversation (your outgoing emails are in another folder of course with the old way) they are one spot in your inbox. You can click on it and see everything. I must not be the only one that had a little trouble with this concept at first because I noticed later you could turn this functionality on and off. I encourage anyone that has it turned off to turn it back on and use it for one week. I promise you’ll never want to go back to the old way!

Google Calendar – Keeping Track Of The Family Schedule

Google Calendar AppMy wife and I both have the Droid X. We’ve had them for about a year and a half now and really love them. Sure there are some frustrations that you are going to have with any computer, but over all they are really awesome. Notice that I said computers, and not phones. These things are really little computers that you can carry around that also happen to make phone calls! Both of us came from having flip phones before our Droids and it was like a whole new world!

Google Calendar

One of the really nice perks that we found was the app for Google Calendar. The Droids run on the Android operating system so they all ready came installed with the app. Once we synced them with our gmail accounts we were off and running. We then realized that we could all access to each others Google calendars and life really got easier.

Having a family of four with two young kids life can get really hectic. There is always something going on with school, sports, or some other activity that one or both of us need to attend and be on time. It really used to be a pain to keep track of it all. Don’t get me wrong it can still be hectic of course, but keeping track of it is really much easier now.

Whenever one of us see something that we need to know about we just put it on the Google calendar (which can be easily done right on the phone, or you can do it online if you happen to be at the computer as well). Within minutes, and sometimes less, it is showing on both our phones and online. Also when we have personal meetings, usually for work, where we can’t be available for kid stuff, we make sure to put that on the calendar as well. Then as the days approach and we are trying to figure out the plan we can just take a quick look at the Google Calendar App and know a pretty good idea of what is going to go on. Or if there is a conflict where two things are going on at once, or neither of us is available and need to be, we can see it ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

 

The Groupon App – Don’t Miss Another Good Deal

Deals with AppsSo just in case you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Groupon is, here is a basic definition. Essentially they are a company that finds restaurants, spas, and other companies that are looking to advertise. They they work out a deal with that company which they present to Groupon members. It’s often something like a $20 certificate for food at your local restaurant, which you can buy for $10. They key is that the offer is only good once a certain number of people buy the certificate for $10. This is how Groupon can get advertisers so easily. They say we are going to sell a bunch of certificates to your restaurant for $10, but none of them are good unless we sell 200 of them. The restaurant gets a bunch of people to come in and use the certificates and they get known. It really is a great concept and Groupon is doing quite well. The trick is that it’s not that had a concept to understand so many competitors have entered the market as well, but that is a conversation for another blog.

The Groupon App

So I have the Driod X the Groupon offers an app for the Iphones as well as most of the Android smart phones as well. You download and install it and once it is running on your phone, it is basically a notification system for Groupon. It’ll pop up once a day and let you know that the Groupon of the day is available to view. You can then click in and see what the deal is for today. During your first purchase on the app you will need to enter your credit card information, which you can safe if you like. I did and it makes it so much easier. I can do it on the fly now.

So if the Groupon of the day pops up I’ll hit the botton. If it’s a restaurant I like or know I’ll go to I click to buy button. Since my credit card info is all ready saved it asks if I want to use that card. I say yes, and with one more confirmation it is purchased. Done.

The information is saved, and when I’m ready to go to the restaurant I’ll log in to Groupon at home or work and print out the deal to bring along. There are also options now for some advertisers where you can do everything right on your phone. I haven’t tried this yet but I believe a bar code will come up on your phone and the vendor can just scan it and you are done. Couldn’t be easier.

So if you have a smart phone and like good deals, then you need to download and install the Groupon App. Do it today and you’ll thank me tomorrow!

Soft Download Stuff – Mostly Free Software Online

enter games softI remember when I was young and computers were still kind of a new idea (well lots of people had computers at this point, but they were still rare enough that a family would share one big PC). I’d periodically trek down to the COMPUSA or some other computer store to find some software. Maybe it would be a game that I had in mind, or some application that I needed (OK wanted), or maybe I would just stroll through the long aisles of software boxes (which contained 3.5″ disks) to find something interesting, the same way I’d look for a movie at Blockbuster.

Although I think there is one long aisle of software in the local Staples store, those days are mostly gone. I mean you can find everything you need online and then download it and have it installed by the time you’d warm up the car and leave your driveway!

It’s Usually Free

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all advocating stealing software. If it has a price, then you should be paying it. But there are just so many free options out there that if you are willing to look around a little bit then you can usually find an option that is free for you to download and install. Soft download stuff can really be found with just a quick Google search most of the time. When you get looking, if you are like me, you’ll often end up finding options that will cost you a fee, but as you look into them you decide that they are worth the money.

These downloads are really getting more and more like smart phone apps everyday. Just like on your phone you do a search for some software (app) that will do what you need. When you find it you will find some free options and some pay options. Often the free options will do everything you need just fine. However sometimes you’ll find a pay options that is just so function and slick that it’s worth spending the money.

The Keyword Academy – Make Money With Google Adsense

 

If you have a website then you are interesting in Internet Marketing. What you might not know is that you might be interested in internet marketing even if you don’t have a website currently. There are more and more people that are beginning to create websites and blogs so they have a place to serve Google Adsense ads and can start making a profit. This is where The Keyword Academy comes in.

Passive Internet Marketing

There are two ways to market a website, passive and active. Passive internet marketing is much like old school brick and mortar marketing. If you have a business in the real world that you want people to know about you might buy an ad in a newspaper or a billboard. Passive internet marketing is the same thing basically, where you buy space on another website that you feel has people visiting that would be interested in your site. So for some fee that website will place a banner advertising your site and you hope that people will click it and come to see what you are all about.

Active Internet Marketing

Active internet marketing is a whole other animal all together. This is going to take much more time and thought but has the potential to be much more effective. Once you realize that other then word of mouth, and an occasional banner ad click, search traffic is the way that people find out about sites on the internet, then you realize how powerful active marketing can be! You need to be the search results when people type in keywords that relate to your site.

So the question is how do you get to the first page of the Google results for keywords that relate to your topic? First you need to understand what keywords you need to be chasing, and this is a really important time not to ASSUME! There is much research and stat available to help you with this if you know where to look! You might think you know the search terms that relate to you site but there could be very few people actually typing those terms into Google each month. You need to find popular search terms that relate to your topic in order to start bringing people into your site.

You also want to work you content around so that it is search engine (Google) friendly. This can pretty easily be done without effecting your overall message if you know what you are doing. In other words you are going to have the same message and say the same thing on your site or blog but you are going to get more traffic. That’s never a bad thing!

You also can create backlinks to your site which is a key element in how Google decided which sites appear in what order for search results. The more you know about backlinks the quicker you can move up the results page of Google, which is what is going to bring you traffic in a hurry!

This all sounds really hard and complicated if you haven’t been exposed to the concepts before. The good news is that thekeywordacademy.com is a site dedicated to teaching you these very concepts, and it’s geared toward the beginner.

Build My Rank – The Best Shortcut To Easy Powerful Internet Marketing

There are a lot of reasons that internet website owners would want to market their site. Maybe they are selling a product and want to sell more of it. Maybe they are a charity and want to get the word out and be able to do more good. Maybe they use Google Adsense ads on their site to make extra income. Or maybe its a combination of all of the above. No matter the reason there are a few solid and proven ways to market a website. The online world is different then the real brick and mortar world and therefore the marketing techniques need to be different. The same concepts are at the core, but the methods or applying them are just different.

Word of Mouth

Just like in the real world one great way to get attention for your website is word of mouth. If you are putting out something really great that is just totally useful for the site visitors this will just take care of itself. Think about the last time you saw a really cool website. Maybe it was just so funny, or was really interesting, or really got the core of that question you have been trying to answer for a while. After you enjoyed visiting the site what is the first thing you did? You probably told someone about it right? If you are the website owner you really like this kind of stuff because you now have people out there advertising your site for free!

Backlinks

If you were marketing a business in the real world and you were new and wanted to get the word out, what would you do. One of the easiest ways to get your name out there is to spend a little money and get a few ads in the Yellow Pages. If you are in the online world the electronic equivalent of the Yellow Pages is Google. Sure there are other search engines out there but nothing with the power that Google has. When someone wants to find something on the internet they don’t say, “I’m going to Bing it”, or “I’m going to Ask Jeeves it”! They say, “I’m going to Google it”. End of story.

So there is two ways that you can get some exposure through Google. One way is to actually buy ads through Adwords. This is a system that Google offers that allows you to bid on certain keywords. If you are one of the top bidders and someone types your chosen keyword into Google, then your link will be displayed as an advertised result on the results page. The cost of doing this is going to be highly dependent on what keywords you choose to go after. Some keywords are less popular with less bidders and will therefore be cheaper, and how some are very popular with lots of bidder and they are going to cost you.

The other way to get exposure on Google is to get natural organic results for keywords in Google searches. So this means that Google has decided that a page on your site is a good fit or the search keywords that someone has typed in. If this is the case then you are going to appear on the results page as a link with a very brief description of the page (this is usually a snippet of text from the page). The algorithm that Google uses to make the decisions as to which page is a good fit for a keyword is very long, very complicated, and very secret. From doing research over the years there are certain things that are known about how the decision is made though.

One of the key factors in the Google¬†algorithm¬†is backlinks to your site from other sites. ¬†Backlinks are links from other sites to your site. Part of the equation is how many of these backlinks you have, and part of it is how good Google thinks the sites that link to you are. You can’t specifically control how good the sites that link to you are, but you can control how many there are. You can of course start asking sites you link to you which can sometimes work and help out. You can write content for other sites with links to yours and ask that site to post your content which is commonly knows as a guest post. Or you can find a service that will allow you to post short articles with links to your site to a network of sites they own and control. This way you know your work will definitely get posted and you’ll get the link you are after so you can show up in more Google results pages.

This is where Buildmyrank.com comes in. It is a service that you pay a monthly fee for access. You can then submit unlimited posts with links to your site. The posts just have to be intelligible and at least 150 words each. I’m here to tell you that if you think 150 words is a lot, it isn’t. You can often write 150 words just getting set up to talk about a subject. My best advice for these buildmyrank submissions is to just start writing and before you know it you’ll all ready have more then 150 words! Stay at it and submit as many articles as you can partially because you get to do an unlimited amount per month once you are a¬†member, and partially because the more you do the more you will see yourself move up in the Google rankings, and increase your market share!

Google Chrome

Google ChromeIf you are really up on your browsers then you are hopefully viewing this page on Google Chrome right now (well OK maybe Firefox, but those are the only two real options)! For years I was toiling around with Internet Explorer like most everyone else. I had all ready started using Gmail and was loving it. Then I saw and add on Gmail that said to try Chrome because Gmail ran faster on it. I thought well I really like Gmail and really everything Google does for that matter, why not give Chrome a try? So I downloaded and installed it. I have to say I didn’t really notice that Gmail ran any faster on Chrome but over all the experience was great.

What is better about Chrome

Part of the reason I really like Google products so much is that it’s like you can see the effect of their attitude that you don’t always have to color inside the lines. It seems like every time a new Microsoft product comes out it looks new and slick and has some new functionality, but over all it does everything basically the same way, I assume because that is always what they had done before.

With Google though it really seems like they aren’t bound by that kind of thinking at all. They just try to rip apart the issue at hand and just try to figure out what is the best, fastest, and most user friendly way to accomplish it. Sometimes I have to admit that they are so far out of the box that it feel weird at first, but then as you get using it you realize they really have the right answer, and you wonder why you haven’t done it like this all along!

For instance when I first started using Gmail it felt really weird, and almost risky, to just archive something I was done with but didn’t want to delete. I mean emails you are done with and want to keep have to go in a folder right? Right?! Nope. They can just go into a large bucket of archived emails. This works so well because Google does search so well. You just type in some words that you remember from the email you are looking for and in less then a second they are listed on your screen. I have tens of thousands of archived emails and I’ve never not been able to find the email I was looking for!

This same kind of thinking has been applied to all aspect of Google Chrome. It really just feels like they have it all figured out. Once you get used to it you realize this is what you have been missing all along! I’m not a real technical coding guy, but over all there are less bugs. Think about how many times you have to reload Internet Explorer, or even have to reboot your whole computer. It rarely if ever seems to happen when I’m browsing on Chrome!

 

Google Maps – Finding Your Way

Google DirectionsI still remember when I was in college (we’re talking mid 90’s here) the idea of the internet being your answer to finding your way around the roads was a very new idea. I was having a conversation with a buddy who was going to be taking a road trip. I told him he should go on mapquest and print the directions. He was amazed when I told him you could go to the internet and type in your starting and ending point and get turn by turn directions printed in minutes! He even impressed his friend later and told me about it. He was telling them about this new idea and they simply didn’t believe him! He literally how to go to a computer and show them it worked! My how times have changed!

It used to be that you would use Mapquest or there was another major player that I just simply can’t remember the name of. I’m sure in a few hours it’ll come back to me and I’ll come back and edit this post if so. Anyway, part of the reason I can’t remember the name is that Google go into the mapping game. Like most of the other things that Google does, once they got involved they were quickly the best. And not just the best, but so good that it makes your forget the names of the other competitors.

With Google Maps you can quickly, smoothly, and easily see a map of the location your enter. You can zoom in our out or slide in any direction so you can explore what you are looking for. Of course because it’s Google you can also¬†seamlessly¬†interact with Google’s other products like Google Earth or Google Directions (which is really just Google Maps). So you can put in an address for the area you are looking for and take a look. Then if you want to print out directions you can click the button for directions and enter your starting address. It’ll create specific directions for your trip with estimates of how long the trip will take and other helpful stats. You can also switch to satellite view and see in pretty good detail a view of a location from a satellite.

Turn by Turn

If you are viewing all this on your smart phone you can then switch to turn by turn mode, and Google will talk you through the whole trip. It’ll use the satellite connection on your phone to know where you are and how you are progressing. It’ll give you notice of an upcoming turn, and if for some reason you miss it, it’ll re-route you. Impressive stuff really!

Street View

Google has also been sending around special cars to take street level photos. So when you get to a key turn or your destination you can either print out a picture or it’ll pop up on your phone so you can know you are exactly in the right place. A little scary I suppose from a big brother stand point, but I have used it and it is really really helpful at times!

So the next time you need to take a trip get right on Google Maps and get it all figured out. There is a VERY low chance that you’ll impress your college buddies with this skill but still worth it!

Also if you have a smart phone and don’t all ready have the app make sure you download the Google Maps App today! You’ll thank me!

Google Books

Google BooksGoogle Books is quickly becoming one of my most used apps installed on my Droid X! I resisted the whole book reader on my cell phone for a long time. Well actually it’s been there all along but I resisted using it for more then a year. My thought was that it was just going to be so small that it would be too hard to read. I knew that you could increase the text size but then I felt like I’m be turning pages so much that it would be way too annoying.

Discovering Google Books

So like most all of my other solid app discoveries it came when I was stuck with some downtime when I was bored and looking to pass the time. So I started looking through the apps that I have on my phone. With the the talk of Kindles and Nooks and all that it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while because I do enjoy to read.

So when I looked I have Google Books and Amazon Kindle installed on my phone. I didn’t download these apps so I assume that they were there when I got the phone. So since I like everything else that Google does, I tried that. I was still not that¬†optimistic¬†but luckily they have three classics all ready installed that you could read for free. One was Alice in Wonderland which I clicked on and played around with to see what it was like. Surprisingly it wasn’t really that hard to read at all. I do turn the page pretty often but it’s far less distracting then I thought it would be!

So then I went into their book store to see what they had to offer. It appears that they have quite a few books you can download just like any of the other readers I assume. They were a little pricier then I thought they would be just for a downloaded book, but when I looked into it more they are in line with everyone else’s pricing.

So I chose Michael Connelly’s Suicide Run. It was only $2.99 (I assume because it’s probably in paperback now) and I could get a free sample so I went for it. It let me read the first ten pages. I was impressed both with the book, and the feel and flow of the Google Reader, so I spent the $2.99. Now it’s on my phone and it loads very quickly. So anytime I have downtime I can pull it up quickly and read. It’s so quick that I’ll sometimes pull it up and just read a page or two. It even remembers where I left off and opens up right to the page I left off on.

I haven’t tried using Google Books online but I assume they have a website where you could pull up the books you have purchases on your laptop and read there, and remember where you left off and all that cool stuff. I’ll look into that aspect more and report back.

Text Books

Another cool thing about Google Books is that you can find all kinds of offerings. I have a friend that is taking a college class that found his text books on Google Books. He downloaded it for cheaper then it could be purchased at the school book store and he’s ready to go. Now he has the book in soft copy and can use it where ever he has internet access or right on his phone! Now that is Cool Stuff!