Tag Archive | google

… all the colours of the rainbow

“Yeah, you know, that thing that is on all the computers and it tells you very interesting stuff, especially about dinosaurs. You can ask anything! And it’s got all the colours of the rainbow…”

This is how my five-year-old described Google to me only a few days ago. I was shocked first when I listened to him, but then I realised that his description was quite accurate: Google is indeed all that he said… and more.

This week on the CJBSsmdl we explored Google and some of its products. By far, Gmail is my favourite and I rely heavily on it. Gmail has become like my virtual brain, acting not only as my main email hub, but also allowing me to do more than just composing emails. From Gmail I can see my calendar and get reminders, I can see my list of tasks and pending jobs, I can send files directly to Dropbox or Evernote, and my Gmail even tells me what the weather is like!

Working on a library I’m well aware of students using Google Search for their projects and assignments. And as much as we, the I&LS team,  would love to hear that they only use it as a last resource after they have explored all of our very expensive and unique library databases, this is not the case. And I totally understand why they google it before anything else, as my son said it to me, Google can tell you very interesting stuff… but only when used correctly and with a good sense of criteria.

Google+

Despite its 1.15bn registered users and the possibility of having video chats with many people at a time, I’m still not convinced about Google+, at least not from a personal perspective. I recently read an article that described the typical Google+ user: men, aged between 25-34, single and with an annual salary of over £35000 – I don’t tick all the boxes. It also mentioned that of the 1.15bn users, only 32% are active, and the US and India comprise almost 45% of the total users. The UK only accounts for 3.9m active users.

What Google+ is good at is helping brands (48% of Fortune Global 100 companies use it) and individuals (freelancers) to increase their online visibility and create connections. Looking at CJBS Google+ page with its 358 followers and 20,320 views, it’s become clear that Google+ can’t be ignored and it should be considered as another (and very important) social media platform to diffuse your message and reach other people.

Image credit: {Balázs} via Flickr Creative Commons
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Feedly – what’s there not to like?

I’m a big Google fan, I’m not going to deny it, and I rely heavily on many of its products. One of them used to be the now defunct Google Reader, a website aggregator where you could bring the latest content of all your favourite websites into one single place. But as much as I liked the idea and the convenience of it, Google Reader had the most awful and uninspiring interface! It wasn’t the most user friendly tool and as my list of websites got longer, it became more difficult to manage. My enthusiasm didn’t last long and soon I gave up.

I heard of Feedly shortly afterwards, when it was still only a Firefox add-on. I loved the clean and smart-looking interface, but the lack of browser compatibility and problems to sync across computers didn’t work for me. Luckily, in 2013 Feedly finally became a cloud-based service that works with all browsers and mobile devices. Its popularity skyrocketed in the same year after Google announced the closure of Google Reader, gaining over 500,000 new users in less than 48 hours. By August 2013, Feedly users were up to 12 million.

With its clean and minimalist design, which I like, it’s also very easy to use. Feeds can be organised into folders or categories, and you can share with many other social media platforms – e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Evernote, etc. – from right within Feedly. There’s a mobile app, which I understand is brilliant, and being a cloud-based service Feedly syncs across devices. Adding websites is just as easy as doing a copy-and-paste of the url, or you can subscribe to the sites suggested by Feedly. What’s there not to like? Free, easy to use, nice-looking and convenient.

I currently use Feedly for both personal and professional content. At CJBSInfoLib we curate a very comprehensive Feedly list that includes all kinds of business, libraries, university and technology news, that we use to find content for our other social media channels. Personally, I have a similar list, plus a few other blogs that I follow on parenting, cooking, home-deco, and basically any other interesting website I find online.

Image credit: violinha via Flickr Creative Commons
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