You might’ve noticed a bit of a Google theme going on a while back. I decided to take a bit of a break from boring everyone silly with it, but there were a few other things that I couldn’t quite shoehorn in.

Google LogoIn previous posts I tried to give some search tips, a quick guide to Google Maps, Google Earth and a few other bits and bobs.

So in the penultimate part (thank god I hear you cry), I’ll skim through some of the less sexy but nonetheless useful Big G services…

When Dejanews went tits up back in 2000ish, Google acquired their archive of Usenet dating back to 1981. This is huge resource which is online today as Google Groups. There’s some nuggets of gold to be found there if you’re prepared to pan for it… however it would seem Google are inclined to promote this less now in favour of their newer, more popular video search. Google Groups is a bit old skool I know, but still a shame to see it demoted.

There have been many, many, many, many Google acquistions since Dejanews. It’s always worth keeping an eye out for new Google purchases as you can bet yer ass they’ve got something up their sleeve for it. Anyway… what else have we got?

Google supposedly let’s their engineers spend 20% of their time working on personal projects that they’re passionate about. Google News is one of these ‘personal’ projects that have eventually become one of their major offerings. It’s totally automated and works by fetching news stories from thousands of traditional news websites. A whizzy algorithm can then work out the trends in breaking news and the popular/important stories and compiles Google News accordingly. I must admit though, I do still prefer the more human BBC News.

Gmail

Gmail is another of these “20 percent time” projects. It’s a feature packed email fest that’s accessible from anywhere and has all the power of Google’s normal search applied to your email. I’ve been using it for years and frankly I’d be lost without it now – you can see above how it nicely filters all the spam emails from the domain names I own! Whenever I check my old Hotmail account it all seems a bit slow and clunky in comparison. Give me a shout if you’d like a Gmail invite, but I’m sure everyone who really wants to sign up has already Googled one by now!

If you’re really curious about what Google are up to next, you can take a look at their ‘labs‘. Google LabsNot all their work in progress is listed, but there’s occasionally the odd interesting thing thrown up.

One not listed is how Google are making their Image search better. Try this. Quite a novel (and I’m sure effective) way of tagging images with keywords I think you’ll agree.

There are lots of things I’ve not even touched on, like the webmaster related products (Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Adsense, Adwords etc), but there’s not time for everything. If you’re really interested in finding out more, have a look at something like Google Guide.

To be honest, there’s so much that Big G offers these days it’s almost scary. Well actually, it is scary. Very scary. I’ll try and tell you why in the final part. All isn’t quite as it seems.

In the mean time, Happy Halloween! *cackle*

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