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Google gems

I'll never forget the day I first went online. It was on a Friday morning, and I decided to start off my browsing with something I was familiar with, so I hopped off to the CNN website. A couple of minutes of click-on-every-link-you-see later, I stumbled on a website that seemed anxious to ship me a Ford truck that I had supposedly just won at an online lottery. Half an hour of sluggish and unfairly expensive dial-up time later, I discovered that I needed a credit card. Ah, childhood memories.

Of course, special offers and prizes are still out there. But imagine finding the perfect deal only to forget the website address… If perchance such mishap befalls you, just enter the name or keywords relevant to the website you wish to look up in Google's search field, and instead of clicking on Search or hitting Enter/Return, click on the I'm Feeling Lucky button. The site that Google deems the best match for your keywords will now start loading, and it’s usually the page you’re looking for. This is also a great way of weighing your online presence – key in your name and try it, and if you’re popular enough you should be looking at your Facebook page or most popular blog entry. (My digital ego just got deflated 45 seconds ago.)

You could also customize your Google homepage (if you have a Gmail account) at www.google.com/ig. It’s cool and clean, and features daily weather projections, a quote of the day section, and tons of other widgets to choose from. If you have neither the Google toolbar (http:// toolbar. google.com), nor a Gmail account (www.gmail.com) – well, I just provided you with the links, didn't I? The toolbar is currently in version 5.0, and frankly, it’s so useful that I’ll refrain from any spoilers here, and let you discover it and go bonkers on your own time.

And if you have do have lots of time to spare, why not use it to put some space to good use? Hop off to http:// www.viksoe.dk/ code/gmail.htm to download Gmail Drive, a tiny application that lets you use your Gmail account storage like a remote hard drive. Just back up your work at office to your Gmail account using the tool and comfortably download the files when you get home or whenever you feel like it. But it's been enough Google for a day, right? Trust me, it’s got tons of goodies. I've only touched the surface here (if not less). Hop off to http://www.google.ca/intl/en/options/ if you’re feeling curious.

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