Google and Google Applications, we have all heard of them and probably most of use at least one if not more of Google Applications. Lately I have been asking myself; what are Google Applications? Can they help me, as a writer, to improve my writing, expand my knowledge, and make research and information gathering easier?
I will provide you with a bit of a background to illustrate those Google tools that I have used, in fact I am using Google Docs to write this blog posting. About a year ago I switched from using MS Office on my personal PC to Google Docs because I just did not feel that my personal use warranted the expense of MS Office. Frankly I have not missed the use of MS Office since making that change. What I really like about Google Docs is that my documents are wherever I am on whatever PC I am using..via the cloud.
I have also seen many benefits to using the Google Calendar. These days my life gets busier and busier and there is a huge benefit to using the calendar to get alerts regarding deadlines and appointments.
I also use Gmail for all of my personal emails. I have two GMail accounts that I use for list serves, professional communication, for twitter, facebook, and other business, professional and personal reasons. Again, what I have always valued about my GMail account is it is where I need it to be, on my blackberry, on the cloud, and integrates with other essential Google services.
Integrated with my GMail account is Google Talk. I use Google Talk to stay in touch with friends, family and business associates. If that person is unavailable to chat then it automatically defaults to their email. I can also chat, using Google Talk, via my cell phone.
I also access the news that I feel most pertinent to me via Google News. From general news items to specific information I have defined, Google News as my “news feed” home page. Another tool I use to push specific news items to me are the Google Alerts. Google Alerts are tools that allow you to set up email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. (retrieved from http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en)
Many people are advocates for Google Reader; I like it because of the convenience of using those tools that push things to my eMail. I do have many subscriptions set up and review those about once a month.
I also use Google Blog Spot. This blog tool is very easy to use and is accessible via my Google account. You can review my blog at www.cathylanderson.blogspot.com.
I have also used Picasa. Picasa is a free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great. Picasa provides for easy photo sharing.
I have to confess I love the Google books search feature. We are so fortunate, as writers to have such a accessibility to resources, which only a few years ago was unheard of in any way. Unless a book is part of the public domain, chances are access to it is only limited. Want to browse books without leaving the comfort of your home? Google Books is for you.
Another powerful tool is Google Translate. I use this occasionally. Is it always accurate on translation? I doubt it. Is it great because we have it? That is exactly the beauty of Google Translate.
There are a variety of Google Apps that I am curious about but have not had much of an opportunity to explore, one of these is Knol. According to Open Culture Knol is a platform for experts to write about whatever they know. The same blog goes on to state that..Rather, they’re simply offering a platform for experts to write about whatever they know. Wikipedia describes Google Knol as Knol is a Google project that aims to include user-written articles on a range of topics. …opened in beta to the public on July 23, 2008 with a few hundred articles mostly in the health and medical field. Knol has no policies regarding sources or neutrality. Some Knol pages are opinion papers of one or more authors, and others describe products for sale. Some articles are how-to articles or explain product use. Other people can post comments below an article, such as to refute opinions or reject product claims.
Google Earth is another Google application I would like to learn more about. This application provides a 3D view of the “world.” You can create videos of your town or community or some place you like. Google Earth deserves a much more in depth review. I am just checking it out today but have heard a great deal about this robust Google App. If you add Street View to your Google Earth app you can “click” on the camera icon and get a view of the streets. These views are not real time.
As you can see Google Applications offer a broad scope of tools to meet all your Internet needs, collaboration and communication. I encourage you take some time to explore, test, and communicate with Google tools to see if it enhances your writing, research, and presentation in anyway.