So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]

Google-Logo

 

Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

IE Team Sends Mozilla a Cake Again for Firefox 5 Launch

The web browser teams at Mozilla, Microsoft, Google and might definitely hate each other secretly, but there are times when all of these come together to set standards or further the future of the web.

Microsoft and Mozilla have had a love hate relationship for a while now. After all, was the web browser which turned the browser industry on its head and gave the dominant Internet Explorer a run for it’s money.

IE Congratulates Mozilla for Firefox 5 Launch Cake

Lot has changed since then, but one thing continues to remain common including Microsoft sending cakes with the IE logo to Mozilla on a product launch. The last time I remember them sending a cake was for the launch of Firefox 3, and with the launch of Firefox 5 today they have repeated the act.

The cake had a similar message from the earlier one which said:

Congratulations on Shipping! Love, the IE Team

The image was posted by @damons, who is the VP of Engineering at Mozilla. This definitely makes for some good rivalry. Here is wishing the Mozilla team a great launch and look forward to some exciting new features in Firefox 6 and beyond.

Internet Explorer 9 Being Rolled Out Through Windows 7 Update

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 to the world last month to much fanfare and millions of downloads. However, the rollout was only done through direct downloads for users.

Internet Explorer 9

However, not each and every user has upgraded to the latest browser from Microsoft and they do have a way to get it out; through Automatic Updates. Microsoft has confirmed that they are now rolling out Internet Explorer 9 to all users through the automatic update channel.

IE9 Windows 7 Update

The update will be rolled out as an important update to all users. It is not clear yet whether users have to upgrade to it compulsorily or not. I am unable to confirm this since I have already upgraded to IE9 but will do so shortly on another PC. The update will be a part of the regular updates rolled out by Microsoft.

If you haven’t used Internet Explorer 9 yet, you should definitely upgrade to it and check out our of tips and trick for IE9.

Ultimate List Of Tips And Tricks For Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft’s latest browser which was launched on 14th March 2011 has quite a few improvements when compared to it’s previous versions. IE9 has a sleek new interface which is less cluttered and provides rich browsing experience.

IE9 Ultimate List of Tips and Tricks

There are no intrusive toolbars, unnecessary navigation buttons and other eye tiringbuttons or graphical elements. Moreover, Internet Explorer 9 is way faster, has improved performance standards and hardware acceleration support. And yes, Internet Explorer 9 is the latest version of the browser that’s supports HTML5 technology.

We tipped you with a list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 8, now here is another comprehensive list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 9 which is worth bookmarking. Don’t forget to visit our section to find more such useful and comprehensive lists for different software and browsers.

Note: This list will be regularly updated as we come across new posts.

Download, Installation And Getting Started With IE9

Download Internet Explorer 9

If you haven’t tried the newer Internet Explorer 9 yet, we suggest you download Internet Explorer 9 final version or try the RC download here. There are separate download links for Windows7, Windows Vista and Windows Server, so make sure you download the right setup installer.

You might also want to check out IE9’s brand new website at beautyoftheweb.com

ie9-download

Prerequisites For Installing Internet Explorer 9

When you install Internet Explorer 9, additional prerequisite software and components are also installed. The prerequisites vary, depending on the operating system you use.

Microsoft has put together a support and FAQ page for installation compatibility fixes for Internet Explorer 9, so if you’re having problems installing IE9 on your computer, head over to this support page to learn more about the required software and components required for Internet Explorer 9 installation.

Disable Windows 7 Tab Previews in IE9/IE8

If you have downloaded Internet Explorer 9 or have been using with , you might be familiar with tab previews shown in the taskbar for individual tabs open in the browser (see screenshot below).

Tab Previews in IE8/IE9

Though this feature is useful, it can get quite annoying if you have multiple tabs open in the browser. However, thankfully there is an option to disable the tab previews in Internet Explorer 8 and 9. To do that, follow the steps listed below.

Step 1: Open the Internet Options by pressing Alt + T and selecting "Internet options" from the menu or going to the Tools menu and clicking on "Internet options".

disable_tab_previews_ie8_ie9

Step 2:  In the Internet Options window, click on the Settings button under the Tabs option. This will open up a new popup. In this popup uncheck the box next to "Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar* and click on the OK button. Click on the OK button in the Internet Options window too to close it.

Step 3: Restart Internet Explorer for the changes to take effect.

That’s it, you will no longer see tab previews in Internet Explorer. However, you will still see previews if multiple windows are open, but they are not as annoying as seeing previews for 10-15 open tabs.

2.3 Million IE9 Downloads in 24 Hours

Looks like Internet Explorer 9 is getting quite a lot of love. Since the release of Internet Explorer 9 on March 14, IE9 has already been downloaded 2.35 million times in the first 24 hours.

Internet Explorer 9

This averages to 27 downloads every second or around 250 download every 10-11 seconds. Internet Explorer 9 is the latest browser from Microsoft for and which includes several new and exciting features such as in-built Do not track options, site lists .

Overall IE9 has been downloaded over 40 million times in the past year. The record downloads for the final version of IE9 was more than double the downloads for IE9 beta and 4 times that of IE9 RC.

You can download Internet Explorer 9 for your PC by visiting http://beautyoftheweb.com or through the direct download links for IE9.

Direct Download Links for Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 couple of days ago for , and Windows Server 2008. If you haven’t tried out IE9 yet, you might give it a go as it is completely different from the earlier versions of IE.

Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9 brings about a world of changes to the browser, making it more compact and adding in lots of new and exciting features to it. However, IE9 provides users with a web install and you will have to download multiple copies of the browser if you want to install it on different PCs.

If you don’t want to do that, you can download the full install links through the direct downloads for IE9 below.

How To Show Tabs on Separate Row in IE9

Internet Explorer 9 will be released any day now, but if you have been using the release candidate of IE9 you will notice that the tabs are stacked along with the address bar itself.

IE9 Tabs on Separate Row

This is kind of annoying if you have too many tabs open. Fortunately, there is an easy way to show the tabs on a separate row in Internet Explorer 9. To do that, right click on any tab and select the option “Show Tabs on a separate row”.

That’s it, you will now see the tabs on a separate row and have enough room for them. Have you been using IE9 yet, do you think it is better than or ? Do let us know your thoughts about it.

Download Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate

After the release of the Windows 7 service pack 1, Microsoft has made available the release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 to users, albeit unofficially yet.

Internet Explorer 9

Win Rumors spotted the downloads for the Internet Explorer 9 and posted links to the downloads before Microsoft made them available officially. Internet Explorer 9 includes tracking protection which was also recently included by and . Using this privacy feature, users can opt-out of advertising tracking cookies and analytic software tracking.

Internet Explorer 9 will most likely see a full public release by the end of February and it might roll out after the service pack 1 has been made available to users.

You can download the Internet Explorer 9 RC from the links below, courtesy Win Rumors.

Note: Microsoft will not be making Internet Explorer 9 for Windows XP users.

Microsoft: Take That Google, We Just Added H.264 Support For Chrome Users

Yesterday would have been a very eventful day at Google and Microsoft after Google accused Microsoft of stealing their search results and displaying it in the competitive search engine Bing. The day was filled with accusations and defense galore and lot of Google-and-Microsoft haters had a really big field day.

Day 2: Microsoft just did something that would irk Google even more, they rolled out a new Windows Media Player plugin for Chrome which supports the H.264 code. In a blog post, Microsoft said that they are rolling out these plugin which is also part of Internet Explorer so that Google Chrome customers on would be able to continue to play the H.264 video in spite of Chrome not supporting it.

Today, as part of the interoperability bridges work we do on this team, we are making available the Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome, which is an extension for Google Chrome to enable Windows 7 customers who use Chrome to continue to play H.264 video.

We believe that Windows customers should be able to play mainstream HTML5 video and, as we’ve described in previous posts, Internet Explorer 9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec.

The announcement could just be a right hand jab from Microsoft on Google’s chin after they had earlier declared to drop support for the H.264 codec in because of lack of openness and could fuel a much more deeper war amongst these two tech giants.

It also gives consumers of Google Chrome a chance to view the videos encoded with H.264 codec which they could not have done otherwise. In a battle of browsers Google Chrome, and have openly said that they would not support the H.264 codec because of royalty issues and would instead rely on the WebM codec, which is still not the best codec out there. Currently, it lacks hardware support and there is still a lot of work to be done with it. Microsoft and Apple on the other hand support the H.264 codec in the Internet Explorer and Safari browsers.

The said plugin is also available for Firefox but the main jabs taken by the article was at Google Chrome which is rapidly gaining more users from both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

So will this war continue to rage along? Will these competitors try to go down the throats of each other in the future too? Well, as per me they will. They will not let go off a chance to bring each other down. The wars had already begun, someone just put more fuel in the fire. What do you think?