Gadgets For Productivity

There’s a lot to be said about Google’s full-frontal attack on the software industry. It is buying and relaunching all kinds of basic software offerings for free, including word processing, spreadsheets and online collaboration.

Less understood, and perhaps equally fascinating, is the world of third-party plug-ins, known as “gadgets” that roam the Web for you, looking up airfares, tracking news or otherwise keeping you up-to-date. Some are serious time-killers, but many are suprisingly useful.

First And Foremost, Get Google Desktop
This little-understood Google browser plug-in creates a searchable index of your own PC hard drive, as well as any drive you can reach on a local network, even behind passworded folders (assuming you tell Desktop the password).

I recommend: After a few hours of examing your drive, you can suddenly lightning-quick search for obscure files, forgotten e-mails (even in Outlook), any office file, calendar item, stray spreadsheet — whatever.

Go Beyond Simply Searching Phrases
The most annoying part of looking for a specific file is knowing it exists — somewhere — but not being able to nail it down.

I recommend: Google allows a series of search strategies, like searching for phrases and file types. If you know some client’s specific data is in an Excel spreadsheet, for instance, knock any other type of file out of the search in one click.

Photo by erkinsahin.

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