• You can collect mail from five other e-mail accounts. Any replies you send will look like they came from the original e-mail account.The Gmail calendar is a button at the top of the screen if you sign up for it, and it lets you keep track of all your appointments, set reminder messages and add search results, like TV show times and dates. More on this later.Package tracking. If you order something from online retailers, they usually send you a note when it is shipped and they include the shipper’s tracking code. Ordinarily you would have to go to the shipper’s Web site and type in the code to find out where the package is. But on the right of the Gmail screen there is a button that will automatically link to the shipper and track the package.
  • If someone sends you a PowerPoint file, you don’t have to launch a PowerPoint viewer. Just click the “view as slideshow” button.
  • ┬áThis is the top “wow.” Along with keeping your appointments, you can search for events. Enter your U.S. city and state and you will be connected to a summary of every available online events calendar for that location. It also works for many cities around the world, and those lists are being expanded as well.Google Calendar
  • Click on something you’re interested in and it will not only be added to your calendar, but all subsequent events in that category will be added to your calendar. Want to watch the World Series of Poker? All matching programs with their times, dates and channels for your location will be entered on the calendar. If you search on just “poker” as an event, you get a ton of listings, each with a brief summary line. (Some are events in neighborhood bars.) To find all this stuff, go to can search public calendars by any keyword, by the way. Such calendars include public appearance schedules of the current presidential candidates, concert dates hosted by Atlantic Records and other companies, new DVD movie releases from Netflix, new TV shows and sporting events, updates on special travel deals, etc.
  • Who Pays the Piper?

    How does Google get paid for providing its services? It sells ads, of course. The ads appear as remarkably unobtrusive short boxes of text along the right-hand side of your screen. There are no distracting pictures, just a few lines of text. Similar unobtrusive ads appear on screens when using the browsers from Mozilla, Firefox and Maxthon.

    This contrasts remarkably with the ads we get with America Online, which come complete with flashing lights and automatic video sequences you can’t turn off. Every single e-mail has an advertisement at the bottom, usually in motion. Many of the ads seem like spam — like pitches to take out new mortgages, just when mortgage defaults have become a national problem. The ads are so annoying that Bob swears he will never patronize any company that runs a promotion on AOL.

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