The other day I was talking to a friend who recently joined a large investment bank in India and he shared that a lot of websites and IM clients are banned inside his Office under the pretext of “security”.

While he is not a regular on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace or Orkut, what makes him unhappy about the new workplace is the fact that he cannot check Gmail in Office or connect with other friends over Google Talk – they are all blocked by the corporate firewall.

If you are in a similar situation, worry no more as here are some simple workarounds to bypass the filters (but use them at your own risk). [Access Restricted Websites]

Google Talk (GTalk) – If you are not allowed to install the GTalk IM client on your computer, there’s a better web based version of Google Talk available at talkgadget.google.com – open this page in your web browser, sign-in with your Gmail user/password and start chatting with friends who are online. You can even group chat with multiple contacts, a feature that’s missing in the desktop version of Google Talk.

Gmail (Google Email) – There are multiple ways to check your Gmail email in the office. The first option is to create a Gmail filter, an option that’s available right near the search box in Gmail. Type your email address in the To: box and then select “Forward all incoming email”. You can select any other email service that’s accessible from office and Gmail will auto-forward all incoming email to this address.

The other option is to use Gmail RSS Feeds. You can use Google Reader, Newsgator, Bloglines or any other newreader and add a new feed with the URL https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom – then submit your Gmail address and password. All new messages can now be read inside your RSS reader.

Google Web Search – If Google.com web search itself is blocked in your office, you can try other alternatives like www.jux2.com or www.aftervote.com which offer search results from Google. Another option is to use googlesyndicatedsearch.com which is the same as google.com but on a different server that’s probably safe from your corporate firewall.

Related: Chat with Multiple Contacts on GTalk