Sadly, I read the google guide in between being elbowed by the rapid fire antics of the 40yo guy next to me playing Pirates of the Caribbean on his iPad. ( I think it got really hectic when he was having a sword fight). I'm not sure which of us was the biggest dork....
So....back to getting the most out of free services google has to offer: all the basics of course with the chrome browser, google docs and drive, picassa for cloud storage and sharing of images and videos, blogger, youtube and google+. I guess the main advantages are single sign on, everything synchronised across all devices and simplicity (even if you can only choose a few fonts).
The NEW thing I discovered in this mag is Google Sites, which was JotSpot in a previous incarnation. It isn't on the gmail menu, even the dropdown menu under "more". Which is odd. You have to go to it separately.
- Google Sites . It is GREAT and I can't believe I didn't know it existed. It is google's offering for creating collaborative structures: a web and wiki creation tool. There are lots of templates and themes: I created a test wiki in minutes and I'm going to develop it to see if I can then use mine as a template for students who can further personalise it. The template I used already came with many useful features such as a project timeline page and several widgets all which can be edited or discarded. Much easier than the wikispaces setup process and no need for a separate account and yet another password. The annoying things are the same annoying things wikispaces has, like image sizing, no CSS and limited html use, however, it is what it is. I'll post my wiki here in a couple of days when I work out a few more useful features.
- Historypin. This is a collaborative project between google and a community based intergenerational project where you can pin historical photos onto a google map. It is all user generated and has about 30,000 images already. I don't have an educational use for it right now, but I like that sort of thing.
- Google Voice etc....A way to make calls to phones but when I tried it, it diverted to skype and wasn't free. So not impressed today. There were also lots of business applications and some useful tips for analytics which I must remember to employ.