Googling Around

By | January 28, 2012
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This week has seen a flurry of anti-Google blogs and news reports. Google revised its privacy policy. So now instead of having separate privacy policies for each service or product – it now has one privacy policy that covers everything. We didn’t see anything wrong with it -it’s short and to the point. And, it’s written in plain English. We’re not going to get into the debate over the new one-size-fits-all Google privacy policy. We’re going to continue to use Google because we like it. The new privacy policy is just fine with us. If you want to read it, you can do so here .

For those concerned that Google is gathering information from your Gmail account. Relax. They’re not. But if you think they are – read on.

Gmail and You

Now privacy aside…  let’s move right along. We’re going to talk about Gmail and its associated Google Docs. You can sign up for Google Gmail account using whatever name you like. We’re not advocating anything, we’re just telling you there isn’t any law preventing you from signing up with whatever name you like as long as you’re not doing it with the intent to defraud or commit crimes. If you have a Gmail account you also have Google Docs and Google Calendar. With Google Docs you can open many MS Office documents and edit them with Google Docs. And if  you’ve never used Google Calendar — you’re in for a treat. Google Calendar let’s you organize your days, weeks and months. When an event you want to be notified about is about to occur – Google will send you an email 10 minutes (or whatever notification time you set) before the event. It will send you recurring reminders too – if you choose You get Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail and more with your Gmail account. So a Gmail account it worth having even if you don’t use Gmail that much.

But what about your privacy? Yes always the privacy thing rearing up its ugly head. So…here’s what you can do:

Say your name is Gayle Shrivers and you live in Fairport, Maine. You can sign up for a Gmail account under the name of Francis Bellywaggle and say you’re from Augusta, Maine.  You can make up any email address you want –, if you like. Your friends know your real name is Gayle Shrivers and that you use as your email account. So how much personal information does Google have about Francis Bellywaggle? What do you care?  Does it matter? How much information does Google have about Gayle Shrivers? None. So those of you worried that Google is coming to take away your big screen TV or your first born or your pet poodle, Emerill – read above.  As we say — we’re not advocating anything – we’re just sayin’. Oh yes — if you do this, don’t give Google your cell phone number to contact you in case of data loss — or if you forget your password (USE LASTPASS!). Give them a Hotmail address or a Yahoo address or a GMX ( ) address (not your ISP address) to use in case you’re locked out of Just make sure the email address you give them actually works. OK?

Google Public Alerts

Did you know that you can access weather alerts across the U.S.A. — they do. These can come in handy if you’re planning on traveling. You don’t want to have to carry your car over flooded rivers – and you sure don’t want to get stuck in a 15-foot snow drift in Borneo, Maine, do you? You can plan your trip or just peruse all the alerts at

You an track flu activity around the world to see if your area is affected. Is there a new flu near you? Here’s what to do: . We’ve seen Google Flu Trends before – and we can tell you for a fact — if you want to be flu free flee to Greenland. We’ve never seen any flu flying free in Greenland.

Buy more space from Google

Do you have a lot of precious files? Do you backup your computer to an external hard drive and want to make sure you have an extra copy of that backup? Do you just like uploading and downloading files for fun?

Google offers a little over 7GB of space free. That’s a lot of free space to store email messages, photos with Google’s Picasa, documents, etc. But if you need more space Google will sell it to you for a reasonable price. Here’s Google’s pricing if you’re interested in buying more space:

Select a plan:

20 GB ($5.00 USD per year)

80 GB ($20.00 USD per year)

200 GB ($50.00 USD per year)

400 GB ($100.00 USD per year)

1 TB ($256.00 USD per year)

2 TB ($512.00 USD per year)

4 TB ($1,024.00 USD per year)

8 TB ($2,048.00 USD per year)

16 TB ($4,096.00 USD per year)

You can buy more space by logging into your Gmail account and clicking the link that says “Need more space?” But before you leap into the 400GB or 1TB plan because you want to store that 200GB drive image in another location besides your external hard drive — keep in mind it takes a long time to upload 200GB even if you have a 20MBPS high-speed connection. Why? Upload speeds are about 50% or less of download speeds. So keep that in mind before you hurry off to buy 16 terabytes of drive storage.

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