We are all familiar with the Google search engine, and many of us have used Google Maps to get directions and may even have gmail accounts which are also hosted by Google. But most people don’t know that Google has a wide variety of tools available that can help with research and organization.
Because there are so many Google tools that I would like to highlight, I have decided to make a separate page of them rather than add them to the regular posts. The list of tools that I am highlighting is by no means an exhaustive list. To see a more complete list of Google tools, check out these two links: More Google Products / Wikipedia’s List of Google Products.
Here is a list of Google tools that I have found to be useful:
Advanced Image Search allows you to refine your search for images. You can access Advanced Image Search by clicking on the “Advanced Search” link next to the Search button on the Images search page. Advanced Image Search allows you to search for images of a particular type, size, and/or color. You can also filter by license which makes it easy to find images that are free to use.
Bookmarks is an app included with your Google Drive account that allows you to store your bookmarks online. The beauty of storing your bookmarks online is that they can be accessed from any Internet-connected device (computer, laptop, netbook, phone, tablet). You can use the Google Toolbar to import bookmarks from your computer into Google Bookmarks. You can also easily install the Google Bookmarklet onto your browser for adding new bookmarks. You can access your Google bookmarks page by logging into Google Drive, clicking on the “More” link on the top of the page, then clicking on “Even More”. The link to your Google Bookmarks page is in the “Web” section. The unofficial Google Bookmark FAQ page has much helpful information for using Google Bookmarks.
Books is a collection of over 10 million digitized books and magazines. Search results range from a few short excerpts from a book to the entire book. If you have a Google login, you can create your own library by clicking on the “Add to My Library” link on the search results page.
Calculator is one of Google’s little-known tools. Calculator allows you to enter a numerical expression in the regular Google search box the result will be the answer. Calculator also allows you to convert between different units of length, weight and volume. Just enter the desired conversion in the Google search box (e.g. 896 ft. in yards).
Define a word is a tool that’s available in a Google Drive Document. To use the tool, just highlight the word that you want to define, and choose “Define” from the Tools menu. A screen will open with the definition and pronunciation of the word. To define a word that’s not in your document, just open the Define tool from the Tools menu, type in the word, and click on the Define button.
Docs is a free web-based production suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. The beauty of Docs is that documents created by these tools can easily be shared for collaboration. Since Docs is web-based, documents can be accessed from anywhere. Be sure to check out the hundreds of templates that are available. Google Docs requires that you create a free account (you can use your gmail login if you have one.)
Google Tools to Support Bloom’s Taxonomy is an interactive graphic created by Kathy Schrock that shows how many of the Google tools relate to the levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
KidRex.org is a safe search engine designed for use by kids. Sites listed in the search results are mostly fun and educational. Its kid-friendly design makes it more appealing for younger students but it can also be useful for teachers trying to find appropriate sites for their students to use.
Lesson Plan Search is a part of Google’s Google in Education website. The Lesson Plan Search tool allows teachers to search thousands of lesson plans by Google tool, subject, and age. The lesson plans are all free and open up in the user’s Google Docs/Drive account.
News is a great source for keeping current with the news. Google News is a compilation of news stories on a variety of topics from a variety of sources. To search articles more than 30 days old, use the Google News Archive Search, which can be accessed through the Google News Advanced Search link. You can search articles that are more than 200 years old!
Reader is a web-based aggregator that manages your RSS feeds and allows you to read all of your favorite news sites and blogs in one place. Google Reader requires that you create a free account (you can use your gmail login if you have one).
Research tool is a tool that can be accessed from the Tools menu in a Google Drive Document or Presentation document. When you click on the Reasearch link, the Research tool shows up at the right of the screen, and you can enter your search term into the Search box. You can also right-click on a word and choose “Research” to open the Research tool. In the Search box, click on the down-arrow to choose the type of results — web, images, quotes, or scholar. When you click on one of the search results, you have the option to Preview the site, insert the link to the site into your document, or create a footnote citation of the site in your document.
SafeSearch allows you to filter search results to eliminate sites with adult content. You can set up SafeSearch by clicking on the “Search Settings” link in the top right corner of the Google search page. You can also lock the search settings to prevent someone from changing them — just click on the “Lock SafeSearch” link on the Search Settings page (a Google account is required to use the Lock SafeSearch feature). Note that SafeSearch only applies to the browser and computer you configure. If you have multiple computers or use different browsers on the same computer, SafeSearch must be configured on each.
Scribble Maps is not a tool created by Google but it’s a great tool that allows you to create a customized Google map. Scribble Maps offers you tools to draw on a map, add markers and add text to a Google map. One of my favorite features of Scribble Maps is that you can save your map (without having to set up an account) and share it with others (who can also add customizations to the map). You can also save your map as a .jpg image to insert into a document or worksheet.
Search Results by Reading Level is a part of Google’s Advanced Search function. Click on the Advanced search link on the Google home page and choose to display the reading level and which level (Basic, Intermediate or Advanced) you want displayed from the Reading level dropdown box.
Timer – Did you know that you can use the Google search box as a timer? Just start by typing in the word timer followed by a colon, then type in the amount of time (e.g. timer: 3 minutes 40 seconds). Once you click on Start, the timer will begin to count down, and when it gets to the end, an alarm rings.