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Thing #9 – The World of Google

October 31, 2010

WHAT

Google started out as just another Internet search engine, but its popularity grew quickly. The act of searching for something on Google even has its own verb: Googling. Since beginning as a search engine, it has grown into much more.

This list of all of the Google products available is quite extensive, and you can see that Google has a stake in a lot of areas of the Internet. If you signed up for a Blogger blog, you’re using a Google product. Obviously Google Reader is made by Google. Did you know that YouTube is owned by Google?

In fact, Google has so many new things going on at one time that they have developed Google New—”The one place to find everything NEW from Google.”

Here are a few of the more popular Google tools that we haven’t looked at yet.

Google Books allows you to search within the texts of books that Google is digitizing. They want to bring as many of the world’s books online as they can. Obviously not all books are included in Google Books, but it can be a useful resource when you’re helping patrons.

Google Docs could also be very useful when helping patrons that need to save a Microsoft Office document but don’t have a flash drive. All they need to do is sign up for a Google account, and then they can put their document into Google Docs. Google Docs is also an alternative for someone who does not have access to Microsoft Office. It’s also a great tool when you need to collaborate on something. Check out this video:

Google Translate is helpful when trying to figure out what a foreign word means or even an entire foreign website.

Google Maps provides driving directions, street views, satellite imagery, and traffic intensity.

Google Calendar is an online calendar tool to help you organize your life!

Google Labs has a long list of smaller products that are in the works, which makes you wonder what the next big thing by Google will be.

Picasa is a program you can download to your computer to help you manage digital photographs.

WHY

Google gets talked about a lot. Some of the things that they develop don’t take off (anyone else remember Orkut? No? Ok. But it’s pretty big in Brazil), but a lot of their products are widely utilized, like the aforementioned Blogger, Reader, and YouTube as well as the other services I linked to.

The benefit of a lot of the Things that we’ve done during 23 Things SCPL is that they are available online, on demand. No matter what computer you are using, no matter where you are, you can have access to so many personalized things. This move toward online accessibility is called cloud computing. With almost all of its services available online, Google is very active in cloud computing.

HOW

Choose any two of the Google services listed on this page and explore! Some will require a Google account, but others will not.

SHARE

What two Google services did you explore? Do you think the ones you looked at could be used in a library setting? Why or why not? Could we use them to help patrons? Name this blog post Thing #9.

STRETCH

Read about the future of cloud computing and watch the following video:

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