May 02, 2007
Going Google: Progress Report
Posted by Gordon Smith

With the end of the semester upon us, I decided to take some steps in my plan to "go google." Google has replaced the "Personalized Home Page" with "iGoogle." This seems to be mostly a marketing change, though the new service has themes (that change with the time of day and with the weather) and a gadget maker, which is pretty cool. My new home page includes Google Calendar, Google Reader, and Gmail, among other gadgets.

I am particularly excited about Google Calendar. This afternoon I exported entries from Outlook to Google (using these handy instructions) in about two minutes. The ability to create multiple calendars is a nice feature, and my plan is to start entering "Family" dates tonight. Of course, that Family calendar can be shared with my wife and children, meaning that any of us can view or update it.

The Google Reader displays entries from all of my favorite blogs. The new iGoogle also allows for the creation of multiple tabs, and I plan to gadgetize several pages for other websites that I frequent.

Finally, I have integrated my work email with gmail. This took a bit longer than setting up the Calendar and Reader, but only because I had to track down the server settings. I confess that of all of the Google programs on my target list, Gmail is the one that I find least exciting, though I haven't used it much. Once I get it customized, I suspect that it will work just fine.

UPDATE: Ok, I just discovered something about Gmail that I dislike and (apparently) cannot change. I wanted to send all of my messages from my work email, but when I send a message from Gmail and the recipient reads the message in Outlook, she sees this in the "From" line: "myusername@gmail.com; on behalf of; Gordon Smith [gsmith@law.wisc.edu] <myusername@gmail.com>." According the Gmail Help, that's just the way it is. Yuck!

UPDATE2: As luck would have it, Jeff Nolan blogged today about a hack that loads Google Notebook into the sidebar of Firefox.

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