- Pandora Internet Radio
- Google Analytics
- GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
- Google Docs
- Google Earth
Pandora is a free internet radio. The thing that makes Pandora so great is that it evolves to know your listening preferences. When you first create an account you can listen to one of the already made Pandora Stations or you can “create your own station”.
Creating your own station consists of choosing an artist or a song. Pandora will then play songs that they think match with your station choice. If you like a particular song you can give it a thumbs up and if you don’t like a song you can give it a thumbs down. Pandora remembers your choices and the music that it plays becomes more and more tailored to your tastes as you use Pandora.
There are short 10-15 second advertisements every 4 or 5 songs but the service needs to be funded somehow! This is my top choice as I use it all day, every day.
A list of useful internet tools is never complete without mentioning YouTube. Whether you are looking to be entertained or you are looking to expand you knowledge in a chosen subject by watching tutorials, you can find what you’re looking for with YouTube.
YouTube was founded in 2005 and has grown to be one of the most popular websites in the world. It is now owned by Google and has been integrating into many current and future internet technologies.
Almost all of the content on YouTube is user generated which makes its content unique, user-oriented and almost endless.
Google Analytics is a free website statistic service provided by Google. It is used by both beginner webmasters and advanced webmasters. The amount of statistics that the service provides is unbelievable for being free. Users of Google Analytics can track what countries their visitors are from, the entrance sources of their visitors (organic search, linked referrals, direct traffic, etc. The service also provides important statistics such as bounce rate, unique visitors, time on site, top keywords for the site and many advanced reports (daily, monthly and yearly). If you have a website and you’re not using Google Analytics then you’re missing out on some very valuable information.
GIMP is a free graphics manipulation tool. It is obviously not Photoshop but for the price (no cost) it is definitely a steal. It does require a download as it is too powerful to be solely browser based. It has almost all of the functions of Adobe Photoshop but does not provide quite the level of detail that Photoshop does. If you cannot afford to drop the money on a copy a Photoshop then GIMP is definitely the next best affordable option.
WordPress is a free web development software. It has revolutionized blogging because of its ease of use combined with customization options. It does require some technical knowledge to install but there are many walkthroughs available online that can make this process quite simple. It is a very powerful tool so it requires that you already have a web domain and web hosting with an SQL database. Once installed the user can choose from a variety of free and/or paid-for themes. There are thousands of plugins available for users to install without having any programming knowledge. Advanced users can edit the actual php files installed on their web server for complete customization. WordPress is used for both simple, non-profit, blogs and for many corporate websites. Its effectiveness all depends on what you put into it.
Google docs is a free browser-based word processing, spreadsheet, presentation service. It rivals Microsoft Office in functionality and blows Office off the map based on its free price. The most valuable aspect of Google Docs is that your documents uploaded or created in Google Docs are available anywhere in the World when you log into your Google Account.
The list cannot be complete without Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, it is the most popular online encyclopedia and, although its accuracy can questioned at times, contains an immense amount of information. Most of you already know about Wikipedia so if you don’t, and you want to know more, I recommend trying it out.
If you haven’t tried Google Earth yet then that should be the next website you visit after leaving this one! Originally called EarthViewer 3D by a company called Keyhole, Inc. the program was acquired by Google in 2004. Using satellite images Google Earth displays geographic locations with astounding detail. It is fun to look at familiar locations from such an angle and is also a useful tool when planning trips or vacations. There is an online version (Google Maps) and a downloadable version. Some regions appear more detailed than other so take a look and see if you can find your house- sometimes it is scary how close you can see!
That concludes the top 8! Let me know which ones I missed in the comments section below.