Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Apps I use

Even a few years ago, the number of products available from Google seemed dizzying and hard to keep up with. The flow of new stuff (and the deprecation of old stuff) hasn't slowed down and may even have picked up some.

Because of conversations with some folks about the apps that are around now, it seems like a good time for a quick inventory. Here are the Google apps that I use the most, that are most important, and that I'm most excited about. At least they are sorted by some product of those, roughly.

Also, please note that this isn't a complete list of everything that I use, but just those that are highest on the list given the above sorting criteria.

  • Search - Mostly taken for granted now, I use it probably hourly and it actually continues to evolve and improve rapidly.
  • Gmail - Though I think email should die and is, in fact, well on its way out, this is still one of Google's best apps and I rely on it completely and continuously.
  • Android phone software - My phone is probably The Computer I Use nearly 50% of the time, not counting desktop programming and such at work. Use means reading, reference (looking things up), communication (email, messaging), task and calendar tracking, notes.
  • Chrome browser - I use it on all platforms now (Windows, Linux and Mac) almost exclusively.
  • Wave - Though I've been using it for real work for weeks, it's now brand new to the public. It hits a lot of my targets squarely in the center, while bringing along a huge mass of features.
  • Gmail Tasks - Now that I'm fully emerging in GTD, Tasks fits the needs there very nicely. I use it nearly hourly.
  • Maps - I use them daily, to find restaurants and such, and every time I'm going somewhere new. In combination with GPS on Android, I use Maps while driving sometimes. At home I use a combination of satellite, map and street view to plot a course to somewhere new or for a trip. I use the Terrain view pretty often, too. I use the traffic view daily, too.
  • App Engine - I don't create or need them much, but this is a wonderful environment, I'd say *the* way, to develop and deploy a web app.
  • Picasa - For pictures.
  • Google Documents - About the only word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation environment I ever use now. Period. I fire up Open Office for something maybe once every six months. Microsoft Office: never, and not for maybe four years.
  • Apps for my domain - I have a number of instances for domains I own. It's the only email solution I use.
  • Google voice - We've dumped Vonage and GV is now our only family/home number.
  • Sites - This is about the only solution I use now for non-app web sites. I wish it had more themes but those it does have are good enough for my needs, and I'd rather use Sites than do the extra maintenance and customization. It's just not what I want to spend my time on. I have so many sites for so many purposes, I don't even know what the number is.