Install Google applications

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As with Windows and Macintosh, Google has released a series of downloadable applications for Linux: Google Earth, Picasa and Google Desktop. Google Earth allows you to spin around the globe looking at satellite photographs and planning routes between locations. Picasa lets you catalog and tweak photographs on your hard disk and then upload them to online photo albums provided as part of your Google account. Google Desktop lets you organize and search your files, as well as quickly search your Gmail account (rather like Tracker, the built-in Ubuntu search tool, as discussed in Tip 77, on page 134, although Tracker will not search your Gmail unless it's been downloaded using

Both Google Desktop and Picasa can be downloaded by adding Google's APT repository to your system. However, for reasons best known to Google's engineers, Google Earth can't be installed this way and must be installed manually.

Installing Google Desktop and Picassa

The following instructions explain how to add the Google APT repository, install Google Desktop and Picasa, and configure them afterwards:

1. Start by adding Google's APT repository to your Ubuntu setup. This will let you install the applications using Synaptic and also receive regular updates in a fuss-free way. Click System ^ Administration ^ Software Sources and then click the Third-Party Software tab. Click the Add button and then type the following:

deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free

2. Still in the Software Sources application, click the Authentication tab. Then open a terminal window and type the following to download the Google APT GPG key, which will authenticate any Google packages you install:

$ wget https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

In the Software Sources program window, click the Import Key File button. Then navigate to and select the file you downloaded—it will be saved in your /home folder and be called linux_signing_key.pub. Once done, click the Close button in the Software Sources program window. Agree to reload the list of applications.

3. Following this, you can use Synaptic to install the Google packages. Here are their package names:

Google Desktop Search: google-desktop-linux Picasa: picasa

If installing Picasa, it is also a good idea to install the Microsoft fonts, as described in Tip 170, on page 206. This is because the program is actually a modified Windows program made to work using the Wine program (for more information about Wine, see Tip 216, on page 249; note that the Wine components are "built-in" to Picasa, so are not visible to the user).

4. Once installed, Picasa can be started by clicking Applications ^ Other ^ Picasa. Before running it, click Applications ^ Other ^

Picasa Font Settings. Click the Menu Font tab and change the Menu Font Size setting to 13. This will ensure Picasa's menus are readable and not in too small a font. Then quit the application and start Picasa. To sign into your web albums, click the link at the top-right of the program window.

5. Google Desktop will be added to the Applications ^ Google Desktop menu. Once started it will add a new icon to your notification area which, when clicked, will open the Google Desktop search window. To have Google Desktop search your Gmail too, right-click the icon, select Preferences, and then click the Gmail tab in the browser window that appears. Check the Index and search email in my Gmail account box, and then provide your login details when prompted.

Note that Google Desktop first needs to index your files and emails before searching will be successful. To see how far it has progressed, right-click the notification area icon, select Index, and then click Index Status.

Google Desktop will start automatically upon login following its initial activation.

Installing Google Earth

Google Earth for Linux must be downloaded and installed manually.

This isn't difficult—just follow these instructions:

1. Follow the instructions in Tip 170, on page 206, and install the Windows fonts. This is useful because Google Earth is actually an adapted Windows program made to work under Wine, and as such looks and functions better with typical Windows fonts. For more information about Wine, see Tip 216, on page 249; note that the Wine components are "built-into" Google Earth and aren't visible to the user.

2. Google Earth requires your computer to be using 3D drivers for best performance. Click System ^ Hardware Drivers to check that this is the case for your PC and, if necessary, choose to enable 3D drivers (users of computers containing recent Intel and some ATI graphics chips do not need proprietary drivers).

3. Browse to http://earth.google.com and opt to download the installation file. Once the file has downloaded, you can install it by open-

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Figure 3.49: Google Earth (see Tip 282, on page 325)

ing a terminal window and typing the following (this assumes the file has been downloaded to your desktop):

$ chmod +x -/Desktop/GoogleEarthLinux.bin $ ~/Desktop/GoogleEarthLinux.bin

When the installer dialog box appears, click inside the Install Path text field and put a period before google-earth. On my test PC, this meant the line read /home/keir/.google-earth. Then click the Begin Install button.

Following this you can start Google Earth by double-clicking its desktop icon. See Figure 3.49 for an example of Google Earth running on my test PC.

There's no Linux version of the handy Gmail Notifier program, the system tray application that can inform you of new Gmail messages. However, there is a community-created alternative that's perhaps even better: see Tip 296, on page 346.

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