How To Make Your Google Account More Secure

Have you ever pondered upon the consequences of losing your Google login information to a malicious hacker on the Internet? However frightful the thought may be, the truth cannot be denied that users often lose their usernames and passwords and this generally occurs because of users accessing their account from public computers which are flooded with viruses, Trojans, Keyloggers etc.

Google’s 2 Step Verification method adds an extra layer of security to your Google account and keeps it secure even when you lose your login credentials. Whenever you try to access your account from an unauthorized device, Google will send you a code via a text or voice message. This code needs to be entered in order to successfully log into your Google account. This way, even if someone steals your username and password, they cannot access your account until they get hold your phone.

2 Step verification can be enabled for all Google services such as Gmail, Youtube, Blogger etc. To set up your additional layer of security go to your Google settings page and click on the edit link next to the 2 Step Verification text.

The next step will be to set up your mobile or landline phone number where you want to receive the code. Once you do that, verify your phone by entering the code that Google will send to your phone.

You will then be asked if you want to make the computer a trusted one. Trusted computers are those which require the Google verification code only once every 30 days. This prevents the annoyance of having to enter the code every time you log into your account from your own PC.

Do not make a public computer a trusted one as it will defy the whole purpose of setting up 2 step verification. However, if you have multiple computers, you can add all of them to the trusted list of computers from your Google account settings.

The last step requires your final confirmation and just a click on the ‘Turn On 2 Step Verification’ button.

Accessing your account after enabling 2 step verification does not change for trusted computers. However, if you try to login on an unrecognized device, a code will be sent to your phone immediately which needs to be entered for a successful login.


Since the 2 step verification method heavily relies on your phone for sending code, there can be problems in situations when you do not have your phone or there is no cell coverage. To counter this problem you can go to your Google account page and either add a backup phone number for your account or download an application (only for Android, iPhone or Blackberry) to generate the code. As a last resort, you can also keep a hard copy of upto 10 verification codes, each of which can be used only once.

To sum up, Google’s 2 step verification method is indeed an effective way to enhance the security of one’s account and strongly recommended for anyone who accesses his account from public computers.

Top 8 Must Have Chrome Extensions

Google’s Chrome is an excellent web browser that has rightfully climbed to the top of the charts as far as usage across the web is concerned. Apart from the speed and excellent feature set of the browser, the thousands of extensions give the browser an edge that is hard to beat for it’s rivals.

Of course, not everyone installs and uses the thousands of extensions available in the library and that is why we have compiled a list of 8 of our favorite extensions that ensure that you get the best out of your favorite browser.

Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is one of the most popular extensions for Chrome and if you do not already have it, high time you download it now! It block displaying ads on a webpage. This makes (most) web pages less annoying and increasing the speed of browsing.

Right Inbox

With Right Inbox, you can schedule automatic emails from your Gmail account. Be it a birthday or an anniversary, schedule emails at your desired date so that you never forget sending an email ever again. It also serves as a personal reminder as you can schedule an email to yourself also.

TabSugar

If you are used to opening a lot of tabs simultaneously, managing them can become a herculean task. TabSugar allows you to create groups and then drag and drop tabs into groups or from one group to another. This reduces the clutter on your browser allowing you to manage them efficiently.

Google Dictionary by Google

The importance of having a dictionary on your fingertips need not be emphasised. With Google Dictionary you can get the meaning of any word in a small pop up bubble by just double clicking on the word. It also translates foreign words in the language of your choice.

Xmarks Bookmark Sync

If you use multiple computers or browser, synchronizing them can be difficult at times. Xmark helps you to backup and sync your browsing data such as bookmarks, saved passwords or open tabs across multiple computers or browsers. Supported browsers include Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Chrome Youtube Downloader

It does exactly what the name says, i.e. lets you download youtube videos in a variety of formats including FLV, MP3, MP4, HD 720p and HD 1080p. Definitely a must have for video junkies.

Smooth Gestures

Although it takes some time getting used to, Smooth Gestures completely changes the way you browse the web. With mouse gestures for almost every action such as reload, refresh, next page, previous page, tab management and many more, it certainly makes web browsing a pleasant experience.

Read Later Fast

Do you often come across a lot of web pages or articles which you wish to read later? Read Later Fast helps you save the webpage with just a right click. You can then browse all the saved web pages and read it whenever you want. Since the pages are saved on your PC, you can read the contents even in the absence of an internet connection.

These are just a few of our favorite extensions available for Chrome. Which other extensions do you guys love to use ?

Two Search Engines To Find You Stuff Google Can’t – Part 2

Google may be the unanimous choice for searching the web but it isn’t very good when it comes to finding something very particular. Google is sort of the “Jack of all trades, and master of none”. We have earlier covered two amazing search engines, Quixey and Wolframalpha, in our post “Two Search Engines To Find You Stuff Google Can’t”.

Now, let’s take a look at two more search engines that do their job remarkably well.

Pipl

If you’ve pronounced it correctly, chances are that you’ve already guessed what it is about. In case you haven’t, it lets you find people on the web. Pipl promises to find anyone on the web, be it an old friend, lost relative, childhood crush, business contact or anyone else whose name you can remember. Even if can’t recall the name, don’t worry. You can still search using keywords like email id, username or even the phone number.

Traditional search engines, while searching for content, usually only search static web pages. However, details of personnel are often stored in databases rather than static pages and are not found by traditional search engines. This is where Pipl comes into play. It finds information from what it calls the “deep web” and yields highly accurate results.

Using the site is as easy as it could get. Visit the Pipl homepage and enter the detail of the person you are looking for and hit the search button. A list of all the matched contacts will be displayed, some even with a display picture. If you still cannot find the person you are looking for, try refining your search by entering a location, age or any other tag.

The picture below shows the search results for “Sachin Tendulkar”.

Depending on the availability, search results include details such as photo, address, contact number and profile links to social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Hi5, Myspace, Twitter and many more.

The search results are impressive and if you ever need to find someone, Pipl should be the first place you should be looking at.

SimilarSites

Hundreds and thousands of sites are created and launched on the internet every day. Even though many of them have great content and worth, it’s a tough job discovering them. Similarsites is a website that helps us find alternatives to the sites we know of.

All it needs is the name of a familiar site or topic from the user and it shows a list of the sites that are similar to it, along with its similarity score. The results are laudable.

Other than the list for similar websites, there are also tabs for “Also Visited” sites, “Keyword Density”, “Top Sites” and “Reviews”. The top sites tab, however, is particularly impressive as it shows the best ranked sites in several of the topics similar to the search term. No doubt, it’s a great way to discover new websites that are related to the users’ preferences.

Take a look at the results obtained when I searched for Youtube.com:

The site also provides extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari browsers. Installing the extension removes the need to visit the website each time to search for similar sites. Simply visit any site and hit the SimilarSite button on the browser to see the results.

If you are an avid surfer and like to discover new websites, then SimilarSites is a service that you certainly can’t miss out.

Do you use any specialized search engine for your needs? Do let me know in the comments below.

Want to see what the Google Wave Hype is all about ? We’ve got invites for you

Google WaveGoogle has managed to create an amazing hype around their new product, Wave. Almost everyone who saw the demo of Google Wave at the company’s developer conference a couple of months back went back impressed, but well, it was disappointing for most people when they found out that wave is still in beta and Google is only going to give out a small number of invites for people to check it out.

Not much has changed since that first Demo and Wave is still an invite-only product and if you still don’t have an invite, I’ve got some good news for you.

I have 25 Google Wave invites to give away to readers of this blog. Read on to find out how you can get your hands one.

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Customize Gmail and remove the clutter with Minimalist Gmail

GmailGmail is one of the world’s most popular free email services and is definitely my favorite email service. The reasons that I like Gmail for are simple enough. In my opinion, the reason Gmail is so popular is because Google really goes the extra mile to ensure that the Interface remains as clutter free as possible.

Even the advertisements that Google displays are all kept as discreet as possible and for people who don’t like to see ads, they even provide IMAP/SMTP as an option for those users.

Google has so far done a very good job of keeping the web based interface of Gmail clean and (mostly) clutter free. But, over the years as google has added features to Gmail, the interface, the two sidebars in particular, have become a little cluttered.

And to satisfy the power users, they’ve even gone so far as to implement a separate Labs section where they release features that are not considered ready for prime time. If you have a couple of these features enabled, they clutter the sidebar even more.

So, what are your options if you want to use the web based interface of Gmail but still want it to be as clutter free as your desktop email client ?

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How to setup Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook syncing for free

Google Calendar Microsoft’s email and PIM software, Outlook, is without a doubt the most popular software of it’s kind. Thousands of companies and individuals swear by it and use it day in and day out to streamline their otherwise chaotic online (and offline) lives.

Even in this day and age when cloud based solutions rule supreme, Outlook has, so far, managed to stay ahead of the rat race. And for good reason too. Microsoft Outlook along with Microsoft Exchange server provides a level of integration that the others can only dream of. And unlike Windows, this is one Microsoft software that even the users seem to love.

But, Microsoft Outlook also has it’s limits, right ? For one, it is a desktop application. Sure, Exchange does provide a pretty nice web application (If you’re using IE, that is) if your administrator allows it but for the most part Outlook is a desktop application and to make use of all the cool features it has, you need access to your desktop.

While there are ways to get access to emails while on the road (set up mail forwards, for example), getting access to your calendar on Exchange has been a little difficult until now. Today we’re going to show you how you can sync your Outlook calendar with Google’s cloud based calendar offering and have the best of both worlds. Outlook when you’re on your desk and Google Calendar when on the road.

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3 ways to search photos online for reusing on your blog

Creative Commons LogoSearching photos online is a big PITA if you care about copyright laws and stuff. A lot of bloggers just use Google image search or Flickr to search for images to use on their blogs without really understanding the terms under which the owner of the photos has released them. Yes, photos have owners (and licenses) too and like all documents they belong to the person who created them. Using a photo or a document belonging to another person without their permission is a violation of copyright laws and can lead to a lot of legal troubles, if you’re not careful.

The way around this is to only use photos which have been marked for reuse by their owners. While there are a number of licenses which are used for this purpose, the most popular one is the Creative Commons, CC for short.

Most image search engines like Google’s image search and the one at Flickr let you restrict your search to CC licensed images but the problem is that the option to enable that is usually hidden away.

In this post, we’ll teach you how you can search for CC licensed images on the internet easily and for free.

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How to translate emails to English with Gmail

GmailThe Gmail team has just made your life infinitely easier by enabling you to translate all the chinese spam emails that you get, to English. I can’t begin to tell you how much more productive I will be because of this new feature.

On a more serious note, this is probably more useful than it sounds. We all live in an increasingly social world. The Internet has made it possible to communicate with people from around the world and I cannot begin to tell you guys the number of times I’ve recieved emails from people with a phrase in a foreign language which I don’t understand. That will be a thing of the past from now on.

Gmail Translate uses the google translate service which, while quite accurate, is not always correct. But, it works quite well for translating simple phrases and understanding the gist of a conversation.

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Google releases iPhone interface for Google Book search

Google Book searchGoogle has just released an iPhone optimised interface for their Book search portal.

This brings almost 1.5 million public domain books within easy reach of iPhone/iPod touch owners.

The only problem is that unlike other eBook readers available for the iPhone, the user has to be connected and online to read books on Google’s platform. The other ebook readers usually let the user download a copy of the book on to their fancy devices and read the books at leisure.

Apart from the above problem, Google’s interface is also quite spartan compared to the other offline readers like  Stanza. The web based Google Book search does not support hand gestures to change pages, will not have fancy page turning effects and it looks like in its current avatar, tends to display multiple pages of a book on the same page and so reading a book requires quite a bit of scrolling.

Book search interface

That said, having access to 1.5 million books can only be a good thing and I’m sure many of us would love to curl up with a good book … err iPhone .. in our hands on a nice sunday afternoon. Get start by visiting Google book search from your iPhone at http://books.google.com/m.

This web application also works with the Android browser.

Search Wikipedia and Google from the Start menu in Vista

vista The search function integrated in the Start menu is probably one of the best features in Windows Vista. I use it all the time to search for files on my computer and even as a launcher to launch applications.

It also gives an option to search the Internet from the same search box, but the only problem is that using this option will by default use MSN as the search engine which is not what I am used to.

searchnet

Wouldn’t it be nice if the search box could give me an option to search using Google and wikipedia instead of MSN. This post will help you add Google and wikipedia to the Start menu search.

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