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Hack 57. Add Google Tools to iGoogle

Hack 57. Add Google Tools to iGoogle

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Here'sashortoverviewofthekindofgadgetsavailabletodayin

theGooglegadgetdirectory—fromlittlehelpersand

applicationstogames,fromtheveryusefultothemerely

entertaining,andeverythinginbetween:

Weatherforecastsforyourlocation

AWikipediasearchbox,restrictingresultstopagesfrom

thislarge,human-editedonlineencyclopedia

Acolorfulboxshowingthecurrentdateandtime

TheEinsteinquoteoftheday,ortheJonStewartquoteof

theday

Brainteaserstostartyourday

YourownToDolist

Asearchboxforadictionaryorthesaurus

AninformationboxshowingyourIPaddress

YourGoogleCalendareventsforthemonth

TheBuddhistthoughtoftheday,orapaintingmasterpiece

oftheday

A"fallingblocks"-stylepuzzlegame,playablerightwithin



yourbrowser

ThetopstoriesfromGoogleNews

Acountdowntickerforyourbirthday(orNewYear'sDay)

AMario-stylejump-and-rungame,oraPac-Man-likemaze

game

HotmailorYahoo!Mail

TheGarfieldorDilbertcartoonoftheday

AneBaytrackertowatchoutforbargainsforyou

GoogleTalk,soyoucanchatwithothersrightfrom

Google.com

Amarketsummary,courtesyofGoogleFinance,orastock

chartofyourchoice

ThelatestheadlinesfromCNN.com,Reuters,ESPN,Time,

orFOX

ThelatestheadlinesfromanyRSS-enabledblogornews

siteofyourchoice

andmuchmore!

BehindeachofthesegadgetsisanXMLfilecontainingHTML,

CSS,andJavaScriptdefiningwhatthegadgetshoulddo;howit

reactstoyourinput,whichdatasourcesitissupposedtopull,

andwhichpreferencesyousetforthisgadget.Agadgetcan

alsosimplyrefertoanotherwebsite,whosecontentsare

integratedintoyourGooglehomepage.Also,gadgetscan

communicatewitheachotherusinggadget-to-gadget

communication.Youcancreateyourowngadgets,too,withno,

little,orlotsofprogramming—whateveryouprefer.Sowithout

furtherado,let'stakealookathowtohacktheGooglehome

pageusingiGoogleaswellashowtohackiGoogleitself(by

goingbeyonditsnativescopeoffeatures).



Someoldergadgetsmayrequireyouto"inline"

them.Aninlinedgadgethasaccesstomoreof

yourGooglesettingsthanregulargadgets.When

itcomestogadgetsthatrequireinlining,onlyadd

thoseyouconsidersafeandtrustworthy.In

general,however,inliningisnotrequiredinthe

firstplace;what'smore,Googledeprecatedthe

inliningfeature,sogadgetsdevelopedthesedays

cannotuseinlining.



GOOGLEDESKTOP

SomeGooglegadgets—theso-calleduniversalgadgets—

alsorunonthedesktopinsteadofthebrowser,aspart

ofGoogleDesktop(andasaside-note,somegadgets

alsoruninsocialnetworkslikeOrkut,bywayof

Google'sOpenSociallibrary).TheGoogleDesktopsetup

isavailableforWindowsVista/2000/XP,MacOSX

10.4+,andLinux,andcanbedownloadedfrom

http://desktop.google.com.GoogleDesktopoffersmore

thangadgets:italsoletsyousearchyourcomputer,or

bringupaquicksearchboxfortheWebwhenyouhit

theCtrl/Commandkeytwice.

Ifyouwantgadgetsonyourdesktop,butdon'tneedall

ofGoogleDesktop,lookintoAmnestyGenerator

(http://www.amnestywidgets.com),whichcanconvert

GoogleGadgetsintoMacOSXDashboardwidgetsor

WindowsVistaSidebargadgets.Also,MacOSXusers

canchoosetodownloadjusttheportionofGoogle

DesktopthatembedsgadgetsinDashboard(click

"Chooseyourownfeatures"onthedownloadpage.)



Hack57.AddGoogleToolstoiGoogle

YoucansearchfornewcontentorbrowsetheGoogledirectory,

addingindividualgadgetsasyoucomeacrossthem.Butyou

canalsoaddseveralgadgetsallatonce.

TheiGooglehomepage(http://igoogle.com)istheperfect

placetoorganizeyourGoogleappssuite,likeGoogleCalendar,

Gmail,GoogleReader,orGoogleDocs.Itoffershelpergadgets

thatshowcaseyourinbox,yourcalendarevents,andyour

currentdocuments.YoucangotoiGoogleandclick"Addstuff"

tosearchfortheseGooglegadgetsonebyone,oryoucanadd

thewholelotoftheminonesemiautomatedswiftswoop.



Toautomaticallyaddthesegadgets,clickon"Addatab"ontop.

Insidethedialogthatshowsup,enterthetabname"Google

Tools".Keepthe"I'mfeelinglucky"checkboxselectedwhen

pressingOK.Afterafewseconds,youwillendupwithanew

tabcollectingallkindsofgadgets.

Becausethisselectionisautomated,itmaynotbeexactlywhat

yourequire.Atthistime,someoftheusefulgadgetsthatare

addedwere(thismaychangeinthefuture):

GoogleReader,tokeepuponyourRSSsubscriptions

GoogleTalk,tochatwithfriends,family,andcolleagues

GoogleNotebookforwritingdownsmallernotes[Hack#14]

AGoogleMapssearch

AToDoList

GoogleGroups(ifyouareamemberofany)

AGoogleDocsfilesoverview

GoogleDocs

Gmail

Butsomeofthegadgetsmaynotbeusefultoyou,andsome

thatyoumayfindusefulareprobablymissing.Tofine-tune

Google'spreselection,goaheadandremoveallthosegadgets

thatyoudonotwantbyclickingthe"x"buttonofeach.For

instance,IremovedtheToDolistandGoogleGroupsgadgets,

amongothers.Nowselect"Addstuff"andlookforothers,and

especiallythesegadgets:

Searchfor"GoogleBookmarks"togettheofficialGoogle

bookmarksgadget.

Searchfor"PicasaWebPhotos"todisplayyourPicasa

photos.



Searchfor"GoogleNewscustomized"togetthelatest

headlinesforyourtopicofchoice;forinstance,I'veentered

"Yahoo".Youcanpickanytopicyouliketotrackforyour

jobprojectoryourpersonalinterest.

Onceyou'veaddedthese,youcanalsochangeyourtablayout.

Clickthearrowiconnexttoyourtabname"GoogleOffice,"and

choose"Editthistab."Selectanewlayoutfromthelistof

optionsforaresultasshowninFigure6-2.

Tosaveyouthetimeittakestoaddthesegadgets,youcan

alsojustintegratethesharedtabweprovideat

http://blogoscoped.com/googleappshacks/link/apps-tab.(To

shareacustomtabofyourown,select"Sharethistab"from

thetabmenu.)



YourGoogleofficehomepage



Hack58.ChatfromiGoogle

Youdon'tneedtoleaveyourseat,ortheGooglehomepage,to

talktoothers.

Googleoffersdifferenttoolsforyoutochatwithyourfriendsor

colleagues.Amongthemare:

1. TheGoogleTalkclient,adesktopapplication.Thisrequires

youtodownloadandinstallafilefrom

http://google.com/talk.Atthetimeofthiswriting,it'sthe

onlyvariantofGoogleTalkthatisvoice-enabled,allowsfile

transfers,andnotifiesyouwhenyoureceivenewmailin

Gmail.

2. Theweb-basedGoogleChatprogram,integratedwithGmail

(http://gmail.com).

3. TheGoogleTalkwebpage.Youcanlaunchanewchat

windowathttp://google.com/talk.

4. TheGoogleTalkwebpagegadget.Startingoffat

http://igoogle.com,youcanaddthegadgettoyour

personalizedGooglehomepage.

Oneoftheeasiestwaystochatistousethestandaloneweb

versionofGoogleTalk,eitherrunninginitsownwindoworasa

gadget.Toaddthegadget,clickthe"Addstuff"linkatthetop

ofiGoogle.Searchfor"GoogleTalk"andchoosetheofficial

GoogleTalkgadget(itwillsay"ByGoogle").Click"Additnow"

andyouriGooglepagenowcontainsaninstantmessenger,as

showninFigure6-3.

Togetstarted,simplyenteryourfriend'sGmailaddressintothe

topbox.Theymaynotappearinthelistuntilthey'veconfirmed

youasacontact.Chattingisnowaseasyastypingsomething

andhittingReturn,asyouwoulddoinanyotherinstant

messengerclient.Thereareanumberofspecialsymbols,so

calledemoticonsorsmileys,thatyoucantypetodisplaya



graphicicontoyourfriend:

:DSmile

=)Smile

:)Smile

=DSmile



TheGoogleTalkgadgetoniGoogle



:-)Smile

;)Wink/irony

;-)Wink/irony

:-0Surprise

x-(Angry

B-)Glasses/cool

:'(Crying

:-|Neutral

:-/Disappointed/skeptical

:pStickingtongueout

<3Heart/love


:(|)Monkey

\m/Hand/rocking



}:)Devil/evil



Youcanuseanyotheremoticon(see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon)notonthislist,butit

willnotbeconvertedtoagraphicbyGoogleTalk.

Ifyourchatpartnerusesanon-Googlechat

client,orGmailchat,yoursymbolsmayshowas

differenticonsorremainplaintext.



Google'sgadgetframeworkalsoallowsyoutoincludeaGoogle

Talkgadgetonyourwebsiteorblog.Openthemenuofthe

gadgetbyclickingitsarrowiconontopandselect"Aboutthis

gadget."Onthepagethatfollows,click"Embedthisgadget"

(lookinthesectionofthepagelabeled"forWebmasters").You

canthenchangethetitleandlayoutofthegadgetandclickthe

"Getthecode"button,asshowninFigure6-4.Copyandpaste

theresultingHTMLandincludeitonyourwebsite.Ifyouadd

thecodetoablogpost,makesureyouareintheEditHTML,

nottheCompose/RichText/WYSIWYGmode.Figure6-5shows

howthegadgetappearsonablogpost.



GetthecodetoembedtheGoogleTalkgadget



TheTalkgadgetembeddedinaBloggerblog



Pleasenotethatduetosecurityrestrictions,

embeddingtheGoogleTalkgadgetintoaweb

pageworkswithmanybutnotallbrowsers.

InternetExplorer7,forinstance,maynotallow

userstosignintothegadgetifit'sincludedon

yourblogorotherwebpage.



Butwouldn'titbenicetotakecontroloverthegadgetdesignas

well?Creatingauserstylesheet[Hack#41]mightcomein

handyhere,though(interestinglyenough)thiswillnotwork

withtheonlineversionofGoogleTalk,butitwillworkwiththe

desktopvariant.Thereasonisthatthegadgetversionof

GoogleTalkactuallyusestheFlashplug-ininsteadofbeinga

plainwebpage,whereasthedesktopversionofTalkusesHTML

andJavaScripttodisplayitscontents.GoogleTalkdesktopalso

comeswithasetofpredefinedthemes.Tofindoutmoreabout

hackingthedesktopTalkCSS,takealookat

http://kylehayes.info/blog/index.cfm/2006/4/1/HackingGoogle-Talk-Themes .Todownloadaselectionofready-made

newthemes,pointyourbrowserto

http://gtalk.anthonysottile.com.



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Hack 57. Add Google Tools to iGoogle

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