Ah, Google. Yes, I do Google everything, and I have for a while now. Ever since my old Hotmail account got hacked back in 2010, I switched to Gmail, got a Google Reader account, and once Chrome browser was released I never looked back. I don’t think I even type URLS anymore, I just put the company or product into the search bar and let Google bring me the answers.
It does make me slightly uneasy though. Especially those times when it shines through that Google IS watching EVERYTHING you do, building a profile on you, tweaking things to affect your behaviour. As an example, after I got my tax return I spent a couple of evenings searching the web for online stores I could buy a few new dresses on. Now every time I search the web, log into Facebook, open my emails, little ad bars on the side try to lure me in and spark my cheap dress addiction with their siren song of $10 maxi dresses… Don’t cancel my card, Mr Bank Manager, Google made me do it!
Anyway, evil marketing juggernaut aside, there are some nice Google tools around, and it’s nice that there are so many resources and services that work together with one authentication. I know we’re covering several of them individually so I won’t go into too much detail. My favourite new (to me at least) Google tool is the Forms functionality on Google drive: recently I used it to make online submission forms for authors to send in proposals for a conference I was helping to organise, and to collect delegate feedback after the conference. It’s nice that it’s easy to build the forms, anonymous and easy for users to access, and collects and presents information in lots of different useful ways, and for free. Hello, free!!