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Posts tagged ‘google’

Smarty Pins – Google Maps, geography trivia, and video games

Google Maps. Geography trivia. And video games. Three of my favorite things. And now, they’re all together in one place.

Google’s new Smarty Pins. (Get it? Smarty Pants – Smarty Pins? You nutty Google engineers!)

Smarty Pins is basically a simple trivia game that asks questions with geo-tagged answers using the Google Maps interface. Read more

Mobile Google apps – now they’re just showing off

I think Microsoft hit a Google nerve. Just weeks after Microsoft posted new mobile tools for its office suite, Google comes back with handy mobile apps for each of its Google Drive tools – Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

The Drive app is still around and still a handy place to store your stuff but the individual mobile apps make it easier to find, edit, and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Starting today, you can download standalone mobile apps for Docs and Sheets – with Slides apparently coming soon.

So. Need to mess with a document? Read more

More “un-Googleness” and what that can look like in practice

Several months ago, I posted some thoughts about the importance of creating better problems for our kids to solve. Basically I asked:

“If a kid can Google whatever you’re asking, what value are you bringing to the process? If they can ask Siri the answers that are on your test, why do they need you?”

The value we bring is a deep understanding of not just the content but the process needed to understand and apply that content. And the ability to create authentic and engaging questions that lead your kids into that content and process.

In the earlier post, I listed a few suggestions about what those sorts of questions might look like. I called them “un-Googleable” questions, the kinds of questions that Siri can’t really answer: Read more

Google Maps Gallery: Interactive digital atlas

Google just keeps coming up with more cool stuff. And for all you map nerds, and history teachers, their new Maps Gallery is just the ticket.

Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas that lets you search for and find powerful, compelling maps. It’s much like the Gallery of tours you can find via the Google Earth tool. One of the biggest differences is that the Google Maps Gallery contains maps created by a variety of organizations, both public and private, and so you can find all sorts of maps, many mostly inaccessible to the public before now. Read more

Don’t ask what. Ask where.

The Google StreetView cars have mapped over six million miles of road around the world. And depending on your perspective, that’s either a ton (240 times around the equator) or barely getting started (just a tenth of the world’s possible 60 million miles of road.)

An article in a recent New York Time Magazine shared this information along with an interesting commentary on the state of digital maps. Adam Fisher, the article’s author, claims that over 20 percent of searches made using Google are “where” related and growing. It’s no longer just a matter of  searching for the “what” – it’s becoming increasingly important to know the where. The StreetView cars, and the data they collect, are the new Google Search.

And it’s not just where. It’s something called “location-awareness,”  the sort of geographical information that our phones and other mobile devices already require in order to function.

In the future, such location-awareness will be built into more than just phones. All of our stuff will know where it is — and that awareness will imbue the real world with some of the power of the virtual. Your house keys will tell you that they’re still on your desk at work. Your tools will remind you that they were lent to a friend. And your car will be able to drive itself on an errand to retrieve both your keys and your tools.

While it’s not exactly clear how or when we’ll get from what we have now to that sort of future, one thing is clear: Read more

Using Chrome apps to get smarter, faster, stronger

Leap tall buildings. Outrun speeding locomotives. Stop bullets. Save the world.

Okay. Perhaps a bit of exaggeration. While Google can do a lot of stuff, I’m not sure that even the folks at the Googleplex can save the world. But they do have some very cool tools. And until recently, a lot of them didn’t live in the Mac/Apple world.

They lived in the Google Web Store, on the Chrome browser in the PC/Windows world. That’s changed. Mac users can now access the apps and extensions in the Web Store for use on the Chrome browser running on Apple devices.

And my world has gotten better and worse. I’ve been a Firefox browser for years. I did dip my toes in the waters of the Apple Safari option a few years ago and found it clunky. I also tried Chrome and liked it. But Firefox had so many more working add-ons and extensions. So I’ve stayed in my Firefox rut.

With the Google Web Store open to me now, I’m rethinking my options. Safari is also much better now – adding a third option to the love triangle that is my browser decision. So . . . more choices about where I spend my time online. That’s the better part. The worse part is deciding on one.

I’m leaning Chrome.

So today a quick list of Chrome apps that can make you smarter, faster, and stronger. And for you Internet Explorer folks out there in the PC/Windows world, you might want to slip over to Chrome and give it a try. Read more

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