Google Linux

Google has changed our lives permanently, no one can deny it. The amount of innovation it brings to the table is almost dizzying. Just a decade ago, if someone told you that a company would offer street views, 5 GB of email storage, satellite pictures of the whole globe…etc you would have been laughed at.

Here you will find some great apps and tools that will generally improve your experience on your preferred Linux desktop, though it is geared to the Ubuntu user (that’s my current distro) any of the below is available for all distros:

1-Gmail Notify

mail Notifier is a Linux alternative for the notifier program released by Googlemail Notifier is a Linux alternative for the notifier program released by Google which still doesn’t have a Linux version (why Google?). I love it because it also works with private domains handled by Google (e.g my email When you receive an e-mail you are notified with a pop-up ala messenger style, which can also be modified to pop-up anywhere on your screen. To install it, invoke:

sudo apt-get install gmail-notify

2-Google Desktop

I hate to say this, but I prefer Google Desktop over the default Ubuntu desktop search applet, Tracker. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, search your Desktop, unlike Tracker that seems to be always a bit off. Install it using:

sudo apt-get install google-desktop-linux

3-Google Gadgets and Sidebar

A lot have voiced their disdain for this as worthless and resource hog. They do have a point, why would I want an over glorified clock or weather widget when I already have both in my panel. Personally I find most of the gadgets and widgets useless, however my only use of it is the Web Clips gadget. Web Clips is just another name for RSS feed, and I like to have 3 or 4 feeds that I always follow on my sidebar. Currently I am using 3 customized Yahoo Pipes feeds. A Digg popular direct link feed, a Friendfeed that excludes Twitter feed, and a feed that monitors submissions on social media networks. To install you will first need to edit your sources:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Then append the following two lines at the end of the file

deb hardy main
deb-src hardy main

Then run

sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install google-gadgets

To find out how to use the gadgets, check out this Ubuntu Geek Howto


Googlizer is a simple panel launcher for Google search. It works like this: you are peacefully surfing the Internet and you are stumped with a word or something you want to Google, instead of copying and pasting it in your bar and opening a new tab. You can just highlight the word and hit the Googlizer button on your panel. Not the best Google tool out there, I admit, but trust me it can grow on you.

sudo apt-get install googlizer

5-Sync OpenOffice With Google Docs

With OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs extension you can easily sync all your local documents with Google’s document tool. This is a great tool for bloggers and people who are always on the run. Always insure that your docs are with you where ever you go! All you need is to get the OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs and open it with OpenOffice.

6-Google Earth

A very obvious one, and I really doubt that anybody out there doesn’t know about this one, but it definitely deserves a mention don’t ya think? Tombuntu takes you a full installation process.


Recently Google announced the release of Picasa 3 Beta version and got it’s wide range of publicity. I don’t really have it installed, since I am not really big on pictures (though I should start to). But if earlier Picasa versions I used are any indication, then Picasa 3 Beta will probably kick ass!

Bonus: Firefox Plugins

  • Gspace: Use your Gmail account as your personal online hard drive
  • gReader: Great tweaks for Google Reader. Change the layout for more content space, open stories within Google Reader, and more!
  • Better Gmail 2: Add useful extra features and skins to Gmail, like hierarchical labels, macros, file attachment icons, and more.
  • AddToPicasa: If you use Picasa’s online tool then this plugin allows you to add any online image to Picasa Web Albums.
  • Googlepedia: In a lot of cases when researching something, the first link that appears would be the Wikipedia entry. This plugin saves you the hassle of clicking on it, it shows you the wiki entry on you the right of your Google page! Do you have any other tools for Google? Please tell us about it!