Google SMS

If you do not have a smart phone with a data plan, Google SMS may be a useful tool to check flight arrival times, get definitions, search for local restaurants, do basic web searches, and more.  Simply send a text to 466453 (GOOGLE) and you will receive a reply that is similar to a typical Google search.  View an interactive demo.  Here are some keywords you can use.

  • Airline code – “aa101”
  • Restaurants – “pizza 94040”
  • Web search – “web free sms tools”
  • Sports – “score red sox”
  • Definitions – “define missions”
  • Weather – “weather atlanta”
  • Currency – “5 usd in eur”
  • Time – “time nairobi”

Google Voice

Google VoiceGoogle Voice, formerly called GrandCentral, is a free phone service from Google.  The basic idea is that you choose a local US lifetime number which forwards calls to your phones (home, work, mobile, computer, and more) automatically.  It is currently in an invitation only roll out, so you have to request an invitation and then wait for an email from Google to sign up.

Some neat features:

  • Forward all calls to voicemail (voicemails are delivered via email or SMS)
  • Make calls for free to US numbers (calls your phone and then the other persons phone)
  • Send SMSs for free to US numbers
  • Temporary forwarding to a hotel room or other temporary number
  • Press * to switch phones without loosing the call
  • Forwards to phones in other area codes, giving you a local number even if your real number is in another area code
  • You can create a separate number that only goes to voicemail for use when buying things online
  • You can setup a number for a “duty officer” and forward it to the on-call person of the week

Sign up for Google Voice now (requires requesting an inviation)

Read more about how to use this along with Project Gizmo (which gives you a free phone number on your computer) at Gizmo Voice

Google Apps

Google AppsDo you want to use web-based applications to share files and save money on expensive office software?  You should try Google Apps.  If you have a Gmail account you can click the Documents or Calendar top at the top of the page.  Google offers a free web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application.  You can create, modify, upload, download, and share your doc, xls, and ppt files.  You may also store your pdf files online.  This is useful for collaboration with teammates on a document.  If you have your own domain (i.e. or you can have Google host your email.  You can keep you personal or corporate email address and use the innovative Gmail interface, as well as their POP, IMAP, and forwarding.  You can share a contact list, send meeting requests, have a common iGoogle-type start page and host a private intranet.  With Google Docs and Google Calendar, you can have a poor man’s Microsoft Office, Exchange, and Sharepoint.  When you compare the total cost of ownership associated with a typical small office setup (servers, software, staff) you may find Google Apps to be an attractive alternative You can signup now for free and if you do not have your own domain, you can get one for $10/year.

Google Pack

I remember when I used to compile a list of the essential freeware to install on a new computer.  Now it is much simpler thanks to Google.  Google Pack is a bundle of quality freeware that may be downloaded easily at  Google Pack includes: Adobe Reader, Firefox with Google Toolbar, Google Earth, Google Desktop, Google Photos Screensaver, Google Talk, Google Toolbar for IE, Norton Security Scan, Picasa, RealPlayer, Skype and StarOffice.

Google Desktop

Have you ever lost an email, document, spreadsheet or other file… on your own computer?  Do you wish you could search your whole computer as easy as you can search the internet?  Google Desktop allows you to do precisely this.  It indexes your emails (Outlook, Outlook Express, Gmail, Thunderbird), documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, text files, instant messaging chats (AIM, MSN, Google Talk), and internet browsing history (Internet Explorer, Firefox).  With Google Desktop, you can stop filing and start searching.