Today I attended a college class on Google Tools. Google is my encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, phone book, atlas, cookbook, calculator, photo album, travel agent and more all rolled into one. I have Google set as my home page and have it customized with iGoogle (see video below). I frequently use Google as a verb rather than a noun....oh probably 25 times a day!
As I tweeted this morning before going to class, "there is always more to learn". So, I signed up for the class to see what I cool things I could learn. And learn, I did! Many thanks to my instructor, Cammy, for being a part of my PLN and helping me learn about some great Google features! Below are some highlights:
Google can be used as a calculator. Simply type in the equation and click search. The equation and answer will be displayed. This works for many types of equations. For a list of types, click here.
Google can be searched for a certain file type so that the results only display those matching a particular file extension. To do this, type in your search terms then type filetype: (file ext. here)
ex. water cycle filetype: .ppt will return results of PowerPoint presentations about or relating to the water cycle.
Google can search for synonyms of search terms that you enter. I am often searching for tutorials or guides for software that teachers use. Sometimes I spend lots of time just changing the search term to include words like "guide, tutorial, or directions". Using the synonym search, I can tell google to look for all of the above by only doing one search. To do this, in the search field, type: keyword ~tutorial (or whichever word you want it to search synonyms for).
I downloaded Picasa a couple years ago and found it completely annoying, so I uninstalled it. It is much improved since I last looked at it. One of the features that I looked at and seems pretty cool is the picture collage. It is very easy to create one of four different styles of collages. Here are a bunch of tutorials (guides? directions?) from Learning Electric. I have decided that the improvements in Picasa make it worth another try.
Google Earth is another program I once had installed, but got rid of because of slowness of my network. Since then, my network has improved, and so has Google Earth! The feature I like most is the layers feature. This allows you to find information about a place as provided by many partners with Google. Layers can show tourist attractions, video clips, GPS tracks, National Geographic images, articles and movies, and more.