|Remember, you can change your background|
If you have never dug deeper than the more feature on Google, you are in for a pleasant surprise with the even more category at the end or the drop down menu. Clicking it takes you to a different world of applications, and that’s where the real fun begins. Many of my favorites are there, but when Jennifer Brinson explored GOOGLE LABS, well, it was like entering another world. Some great things going on, mostly in Beta version, but very cool tools.
|Explore Google’s technology playground|
The first thing I learned–there are many Google Labs, so you can pick by category what you want to explore. Just in case you have some spare time, Google Labs has an APP INVENTOR FOR ANDROID but you need to request an invitation to join.
|Multiple views–great in art, history, virtually any classroom|
Here’s the first Google Lab app Brinson presented, and it is definitely my favorite. IMAGE SWIRL lets you see an image from many different views. Many is almost an understatement in this case. You can select from a preset image bank or enter your own search. I chose the Eiffel Tower because I toured it a few years ago in utter height fright. How Image Swirl works is really simple. Select an image, click, and you get multiple views of multiple views ad infinitum. You get a sense of almost being inside the structure, with close ups and distant shots. Definitely check out Image Swirl; I can promise you this app is almost addictive.
|Interesting, but I’ll stay w/networks I know…|
GOOGLE AARDVARK lets you ask a question and get an expert’s answer–within 5 minutes. You can use Aardvark on the web or go through your existing communication channels–IM, AIM, Gmail Chat, MSN Messenger, Twitter, Plurk, iPhone, or any email program. If there’s a downside to this app, it would be the account creation going via the web. Conceptually, clever, but answers do take time (more than the promised five minutes) and I just didn’t see any vark difference that I could not do faster through my social networks without the vark. Nor was I sure how expert the source was. Still, I enjoyed the trial run.
|Some familiar points from last trip|
GOOGLE CITY TOURS is one of those apps that I ask myself how I ever traveled without, and I can tell you I’m using it on the Greece-Italy trip this summer. On my Droid for certain. City Tours is beyond intuitive. Simply type in your city and you have a planned itinerary. Love it! I tried London, England and looking at the two-day tour was a walk down memory lane, so I tried Athens, Greece, expecting English, but it was Greek to me.
|A must-ad mobile app|
GOOGLE GOGGLES was one of two apps Brinson presented from the Lab sequence that I actually knew because I added it to my Droid via Market and have been using it ever since. Loads instantly; easy to use. This is one cool application and I recommend your trying it. From an educational use standpoint, imagine your students using their mobile phones as a learning tool on a field trip.
|Picasa syncs to Blogger|
Of all the web album hosting sites, GOOGLE PICASA is my all-time favorite. What I love about Picasa harks back to why I like the Google suite; everything is in one place with ease of use. It’s easy to like Google; if you use Blogger (I have 3 Blogger blogs), your images autosave to Picasa. If you are concerned with the move to the Pro version (paid), I can tell you that will take thousands of images before you need to upgrade (or create a new account). For ease of use if you are a Blogger (or not), this one’s for you.
FLU TRENDS, IN QUOTES (interesting point counterpoint here), and GOOGLE MARS (absolutely beautiful) concluded Brinson’s 42 minute tour of Google extras. It was a fast fun class and the students loved her teaching style and content; it was one of those perfect days when everything clicked. And it took 3 blog posts to capture.