FW-96 -- Why Google is Great (and Frugal)

J@pan Inc Magazine presents:

* * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most
expensive country to live (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.

Regular edition, August 28th, 2006 Issue No. 96

- Why Google is Great (and Frugal!)
- Credits

Go to http://www.japaninc.com/subscribe_news.html

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***** Why Google is Great (and Frugal) *****

Dear Frugal Readers,

It is a well-known secret in our family that I am a Google
otaku, orGoogle geek. As a translator by profession, I spend
many hours each week searching for obscure terminology and
usage examples. Spending so much time with a website makes
you rather fond of them. I've watched the company since it
was simply a little-known, but very accurate, search
engine to the 'monolith' software/services firm it is today.
Believe it or not, Google is actually an excellent frugal
Here are five reasons why:

1) Froogle (www.froogle.com) (Beta)
Froogle is Google's shopping search engine, which essentially
harnesses the company's search technology to locate a desired
item and points you to the place where it can be bought.
Simply entering what you want to buy ("ipods" for example) in
the search window will show results both from Froogle's
webcrawler and information submitted electronically by
sellers. You can toggle "local shopping" or "online shopping"
to help you find items available near your physical location
("ipods in San Jose"), or online.

Froogle is not a store, nor does it accept payment for
listings. It's a fast and efficient way to compare prices
for the same item across a variety of websites - useful for
the web shopper browsing from Japan, or about to go home on
holiday. Anything that saves time, and money, is (in my book)

2) Google Catalogs http://catalogs.google.com/ (Beta)
Do you miss browsing the funky catalogs from home? Looking
for a particular item to send to relatives in the United
States or Canada? Look no further. Google Catalogs features
full color versions of printed catalogs available for your
viewing pleasure. Everything from fly fishing tackle to
knitting yarn can be found. Unfortunately, some of the
catalogs are old, so take care in your selections.
Why is it frugal? It's a great resource for price
comparison and shopping for many niche items.

3) Google Maps (Japanese: http://tinyurl.com/qadqv)
If you're familiar with the Google Maps English version,
then this should be fairly simple to use. Simple type in
(or copy and paste) the Japanese address of the place you
want to find in the search box, and press enter. Use the
"+/-" scale to reduce or enlarge the map, and the arrow
keys to move about. I've found these maps quite simple to
use and fairly accurate. You can also search for businesses
and services. Why frugal: Cheaper than buying a map or
using your keitai navi system!

4) Writely (www.writely.com) Beta
A new web-based word processing program recently acquired
by Google, Writely lets you share your documents instantly
and collaborate in real time, edit your documents from
anywhere using your web browser, and store your documents
securely. It's compatible with MSWord, and you can save to
your desktop, publish to the web, or upload to a blog.
Cool, and free! Why is this frugal? You can save yourself a
few license fees for MSWord, and avoid buying a flash disk
or other storage media.

5) Google Labs (http://labs.google.com/)
So, what cool stuff does Google have in store? Check out the
Google Labs collection to see what applications and services are
currently under development. Some interesting offerings
include: Google Mars ("view some of the most detailed maps
of Mars created by NASA scientists), Google Spreadsheets
(a Google verison of Excel?), and Google Notebook ("Clip and
collect information as you browse the web."). Why is this
frugal? It's *such* a cheaper time-waster than manga,
movies, or TV!


Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch at japaninc.com)
Edited by: Japan Inc Editing Team

Copyright 2005 Japan Inc. Communications