As you might have seen…John P. went a little ballistic during a recent review of his Google Glass unit, so I thought this might be a good time to give Google a little love for what they HAVE done right.
Although Google’s products seem to be in perpetual beta, the fact is that GeekBeat… like most of you… are heavily dependent on Google, often without realizing it. John & I both carry Android devices everywhere we go. The script of this episode was written as a Google Doc and stored on Google Drive. Our Run Sheets for Friday’s LIVE show are written on Google Sheets. When the GeekBeat community isn’t in our chat room, they’re hanging out in our Google+ “Geeks” Group, AND perhaps right now you’re watching us on YouTube.
Those are Google’s better known services. Today we’re going to crawl a bit deeper into the GoogolPlex to dig up sixteen Google gems you may not know about.
Google Street View
If you’re a heavy user of Google Maps, Street View has probably been a “go-to” tool for some time now. But with Street Views now spanning seven continents and more than 50 countries, there are some hidden treats here. Google has helpfully organized them by “featured locations” (great cities of the world like Paris, Venice and Barcelona), and “Street View Collections” (like “Brazil’s Painted Streets” or “The Colorado River.”) And Street View can also take you to unexpected places, like under the ocean! Thanks to the Catlin Seaview Survey, Street View allows you to swim with giant rays off Indonesia’s Komodo Island, playful sea lions off the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, or Whale Sharks at Isla Contoy in Mexico.
If you think Google Earth is fun, then head into outer space with Google Sky. Google Sky is like Street View for the heavens with images of stars, planets and galaxies taken from telescopes and unmanned spacecraft.
As long as you’re in outer space, why not spend some time time on the Red Planet, courtesy of Google Mars? With the help of NASA and Arizona State, Google Mars mashes up data from the Mars Odyssey and Global Surveyor into a detailed map you can explore online. There’s a menu to select the type of terrain to explore (like Mountains, Craters, Canyons or Dunes) as well as any nearby Russian and American probes that are still on the planet. Sadly no Federation or Klingon vessels can be found on Google Mars (Maybe they’re cloaked?)
Google Public Data Explorer
Besides its familiar front page, more specialized search sites are hidden within Google as well. There’s a treasure chest full of government statistics in Google Public Data Explorer. For example, you enter ” U.S. Unemployment” and Public Data Explorer will answer with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — including an easy-to-read graph which can be filtered by gender, age and state.
If you need to do some research for a college paper, Google Scholar is a good starting point. You can search articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions… from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, and universities.
Important Hint: Access to many scholarly publications is by subscription. Searching through your school’s .edu network or through your school library’s site will ensure you can see materials your school has paid for.
When you need a moment to explore the state of the world, Google Trends shows you what’s on people’s minds. “Top Charts” in Google Trends displays what people are searching for now. “Explore” allows you to use a search term and see how it trended over time and location. If you want to go even deeper, try Google Correlate and compare popular search terms from one US state to another. Google created “Flu Trends” through Google Correlate by tracking flu search traffic from state to state. It’s not only useful within the US, it also allows you to search web traffic by month or week for fifty different countries around the world.
Wondering what videos people are streaming in your country or around the World? Check out YouTube Trends Dashboard. For a more visual representation of who’s watching what switch to YouTube Trends Map where you can drill down even further and see the most watched videos by region or city.
Fun Google Searches
If you just need a break, you could grab a Twix. Or… take a look at some fun features of “The Google”:
Put in “Atari Breakout” into Google Image search, and play the classic 8-bit game online. Personally, I prefer entering “Google Pacman” into Google Search and playing that game online – much more fun!
Or enter any actor’s name then “Bacon number” and Google Search will display their “Bacon Number” (based on the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” Theory). It doesn’t seem to want to calculate MY bacon number, but they just must not have updated their servers. Cause I’m Bacon Number 3. Since I’ve been on stage and done videos with Tom Green, Norm Macdonald, Criss Angel, Adam Corolla and Penn Jillette, who are all Bacon Number 2, THAT means I’m just a step away at 3. WAIT! Josh Malina – “A Few Good Men” OMG! That means I’m a Bacon Number 2!
My life is complete.
Oh and try this! Enter “Do The Harlem Shake” in the YouTube search box and the site will play the Harlem Shake. The YouTube logo will “dance” a bit at first, but pretty soon all the elements of the page will join the party.
So there you have it: Sixteen Awesome Google Features to Rock Your World. (And Annoy Your Co-Workers, if they don’t like “The Harlem Shake.”)
Sponsored by Citrix GoToAssist
If your job is helping people with their tech problems, you can do it remotely without having to go anywhere with GoToAssist Remote Support! Whether they need help on a computer or a mobile device, it’ll allow you to do screen sharing and fix problems faster! Try it today for 30 days. No contract or credit card. If you decide you want it after the trial before October 31st, you can use code GoToAssist3030 and get 30% off the monthly rate!