Thursday, February 15, 2007

Google Lab

Ooohhh! What won't those clever guys and gals at Google think up next? I was happy to see that they are doing some applications for users with visual impairment too. Hurray! They have stuff just for Macs! Not that we own one anymore, but I often wish we did. I miss our Mac. I also was initially impressed that they were provided a route planner for users of public transit, but at this stage it seemed more usable for someone going on vacation rather than someone who regularly lived in the city. It's also currently only available for a few cities.

I did the lab project at home since several of them require downloads to operate and I can't do that at work. I was also able to use Corey's FireFox preview screen to get a quick glance at some of their new ideas without having to open it completely or download it. This feature is part of the Google Extensions for FireFox which is still in the development list adds extensions to the Google tool bar. Corey already had the toolbar and the FireFox extensions installed on our home computer. So, far it's his favorite new feature from that application.

The applications I spent the most time testing myself were Google Notebook and Google Trends. The notebook application doesn't seem like something I would use at this time, but I'm still a "take notes on real paper gal." I did think it would be useful if I was a college student or a researcher working with others on a project. It will allow multiple users to see the notebooks so I could share information and web links with the other team members across campus or across the country. Also, if I was a person who used a PDA, a laptop and a desktop computer for business and I needed to transfer web links, notes to self, or other notebook type information I could see this being useful. Again the Google Trends would be more practical if I was doing research. It was interesting and fun to play around with however and see what topics and websites have been searched recently by city and how that has changed over time.

Since I was home Corey wanted to check out Google Mars and Google Code Search. This is not my thing and I eventually left him looking up programs and code terms on the computer. He did comment that the code search may pose a problem for teachers of computer programming since he found some of the beginning assignments easily using the code search.

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