Everything Google for the Mac

by Devanshu Mehta Aug 24, 2006

It may have started as a search company, and search is still its forte, but Google has gradually spread its tentacles into many different parts of the web and is slowly making progress on to the desktop. Besides the interesting but underused Mac-only search, Google has a lot of Mac services and software available. I have put together a near-complete list of Google software available for the Mac. Some of these were built in-house at Google and many of the larger ones - Earth, SketchUp, Picasa - came to Google through acquisitions.

While Picasa is still not available for the Mac (it is for Windows and Linux), Google recently introduced PicasaWeb. This service allows users to upload and share photographs online - similar to Flickr and a thousand other web sites. To make it easier to upload to your account, Google has released a stand-alone uploader for the Mac and an extension to iPhoto that allows you to upload a group of photographs directly from it. The service is still at a very basic level; it allows a total of 250MB of photographs and the uploader software resembles Flickr Uploadr too closely. But if you are looking for yet another photo sharing service with no extraneous features, this one will work.

Google Notifier
The Google Notifier was released by Google last week. It combines the previously available GMail Notifier with a similar reminder app for the Google Calendar. It shows you alerts in your Mac menu bar so you can keep track of your email and calendar events.

Google Video Player
Videos downloaded from the Google Video service can only be viewed in the Google Video Player. It is available for the Mac and has quite a few features enhanced for viewing while the video is downloading.

Google Earth
Google Earth is one of my favorite pieces of software of them all. It is so addictive and fascinating, especially with all the new collaborative features Google has been building in to it. Also, if the melding with SketchUp catches on, things could get a lot more interesting.

SketchUp is a 3D modeling software that Google recently acquired. Soon after buying it, Google started announcing ways that people could build real-world object models and merge them with Google Earth. This allows you to fly over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and then suddenly around its 3D model. This is a powerful idea and is allowing Google to control a user-built real/virtual world.

Dashboard Widgets

  • Blogger -  If you have a Blogger blog, the Blogger widget provides a simple interface to quickly post to it.
  • GMail - This widget provides a simple view of your GMail inbox - but I would recommend the Google Notifier instead. It is easier to keep track of.
  • Search History - This one keeps a log of your search history and allows you to search it as well.

Google Toolbar
The Google Toolbar for Firefox has a wide range of functionality. In addition to a Google Suggest powered search box, it has Gmail integration, phishing protection, translation, spell check, form auto-fill features and a lot more.

Firefox Extensions

  • Google Browser Sync - This is a nifty Firefox extension that allows you to synchronize your browser settings across multiple Firefox browsers. This includes bookmarks, history, cookies, saved passwords and open tabs, all of which can be restored on different machines.
  • Blogger Web Comments - I do not use Blogger enough for this to be useful, but this extension brings up what bloggers are saying about the page you are viewing and allows you to make a blog post of your own without leaving the page you are on.
  • Google Send to Phone - This extension allows you to send text messages to any US mobile phone.
  • Safe Browsing - This firefox extension is now part of the Google Toolbar, but it is also available alone. It protects against phishing sites.
  • Suggest - Uses Google Suggest to auto-complete your search queries as you type them.

Of course, the best Google Firefox extension is unofficial - it does not originate from the house of Google. It is called CustomizeGoogle and it makes my online life a lot easier.


  • Good article Devanshu Mehta. I love to learn about programs for the Mac and software that Google has for the Mac. Thank God that Google did not forget about Mac users. Google is a high quality company.

    Mac_Man had this to say on Aug 24, 2006 Posts: 14
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