Friday, December 21, 2007

Google Update and the New Google Applets for BlackBerry

A couple of days ago, I was checking a Gmail on the BlackBerry and noticed that Google had sent through a link to the Google Mobile Update applet. Since I love new gadgets, especially from Google, I quickly downloaded it.

This utility is impressive. It does the same thing as Google Updater does on the PC (which is more or less a google style Windows Update).

On the mobile, it lets you update the following;

  • Search
  • Google Maps
  • Gmail
  • News
  • Google Sync
  • Google Reader
  • Google Docs
  • Picasa
  • and the Updater Applet itself.

I didn't have all of these but decided to add them anyway.

For me, the "New ones" were Google Sync, Reader, Docs and Picasa. I had the other apps, albeit older versions.

Google Sync
This synchronizes your Google Calendar with your Blackberry Calendar - and - if you've got a domino server running, you can sync with that too. This means that your three calendars can always be in synch. Obviously, this isn't for everyone as some people share their Google calendars on the web and don't want confidential company information spread around, while others may want to keep their work and private calendars separate.

Google Reader
If you haven't been using Google Reader for your RSS Feeds, then you've been missing something great. Not only does it allow you to read your feeds, it also integrates well with Blogger so that you can share items of interest (You can see an example on the left hand side of this blog). With Google reader on the Blackberry, you can read posts, look at specific categories only and a few other things that I haven't got around to trying yet. Of course, my Blackberry doesn't support 3G, so it's still a bit slow.

Google Docs
I'm glad that this finally made it to the mobile. I've been slowly moving my non-confidential personal stuff off our work server and putting it into Google docs. That way I can access it from anywhere (and share it if I want to).

In particular, I find Google docs is great for holding lists of books or DVDs that I want to buy. I was quite sad at not being able to access the web version via blackberry (It wasn't compatible with the browser) so I'm really happy now that with the Applet, I can access, and apparently Edit.. (I couldn't get that bit to work so I'm not convinced yet, but the menu option is there) the documents while I'm out shopping.

The word processor is much better on the BlackBerry than the spreadsheet since those cells are quite hard to move around in.

The picasa applet basically provides access to your Picasa Web Albums - Something I think I've blogged about before. It allows you to view and search your albums and to add comments. Obviously the search isn't going to be too useful unless you have decent descriptions attached to your photos. I've used the web version of picasa on the blackberry before but the applet is definitely faster and more stable.


Eric R said...

How do you get Google Sync to sync a Notes calendar without a Blackberry involved?

Gavin Bollard said...

Because I use a Blackberry, I don't need to sync my Google calendar directly with Lotus Notes, so I haven't tried these options out...

1. You could setup Outlook for Notes and Synch using the Google-Outlook synch tools.

2. If you have a Treo, you could use Companionlink.

There's also some export/import code here.