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GoLocal Tech: Why Google is More than Just Google

Thursday, September 27, 2012

 

Even though it holds barely two-thirds of the search mark, Google has nearly 100 percent of our mindshare.

The answer to most everything is, of course, “Just Google it.” I’ve watched people open their web browser, go to the Google home page, and type Facebook to go to Facebook.
(In fact, Google may be in danger of losing its trademark through dilution, a legal term used when a trademark become a common word, such as elevator, dumpster, or aspirin.)

Many of us use Gmail as their primary email service. I started with Gmail in August 2004. At the time, users received an unimaginable 1GB of free storage space. New users now get 10GB. Gmail was in early development. You could only get an account through an invitation from another Gmail user.

I’m nearing 80K messages. With that amount of storage and wicked fast search, there’s little need to delete anything except the occasional stray bits of spam. In the past few weeks, I’ve needed to check on messages that I sent in 2005. It’s all there.

Google is a company with a boatload of products in addition to search and mail. You can see the lengthy list on their products page. Let’s take a look at a few of the lesser known products.

Google Chrome

I use the Chrome browser. It’s fast, stable, and secure. The Chrome Web Store offers a number of applications and extensions to improve your browsing experience.  

Google Maps and Earth

We’ve heard by now of the great Apple Maps Misstep. Apple discontinued its use of Google Maps for the latest release of the iPhone and iPad software. You can see some of the gems on The Amazing iOS 6 Maps Tumblr page. At this writing, Google hasn’t released a new Maps app, letting iPhone users wander in the wilderness.

There’s no better way to waste 10 minutes or an afternoon than with Google Earth. Of course, you’re going to look for your own house. It’s a great resource. For the past few weeks, Masterpiece Mystery has been showing the Wallender series. The Swedish detective has had dealings with investigations in Poland and Latvia. In the case that your geography was a bit outdated, it was good to be able to check a map quickly and see how close those countries are.

Sites

You can create and host your own website on Google’s servers with Google Sites. You don’t need to know how to create HTML. You create pages, add pictures and text, and include links to other documents or sites with a set of simple web tools.

Apps

Related to Sites, you can run your business or organization with Google Apps, providing your teams with mail, documents, calendar, and other shared services. There are free services for nonprofit and educational groups and free to low-cost business solutions.

Special search tools

You can use Google search for scholarly articles, patent information, and images. By the way, did you know that there is a patent for a stick or that Eddie Van Halen holds a patent for a peghead?

Trends lets you compare two search terms and plot their relative popularity over a time period. For example, a Trends search of MySpace and Facebook showed the former’s brief period of glory about six years ago.

One more thing

In case you need more help about Google products, let me Google that for you.

 

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