From: Patrick Douglas Crispen
Subject: TOURBUS -- 11 JULY 2002 -- GOOGLE LABS
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On with the show ...
Over the past few years we've talked about a whole slew of Google- related sites and tools, including
Google http://www.google.com/ Lets you search through more than 2 billion Web pages, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files, Adobe Acrobat files, and so on.
Google Image Search http://images.google.com/ Lets you search through over 330 million images by keyword.
Google Groups http://groups.google.com/ An archive of almost every Usenet newsgroup posting since 1981.
Google Directory http://directory.google.com/ The Open Directory Project Web directory of over 2 million pages coupled with a Google interface (think "Google's Yahoo").
Google Catalog Search http://catalogs.google.com/ A searchable collection of over 4,200 mail order catalogs.
We've also talked about Google's language tools at
This page lets you translate either snippets of text or whole Web pages from one language into another. The language tools page also lets you change the default language of Google, a wonderful trick to play on your coworkers. ["Hey! Why is my Google page in LATIN?!"]
And who can forget our almost weekly chats about Google's browser buttons? If you still haven't played around with these yet, you can learn everything you could ever want to know about Google Browser Buttons at
Just look for "Creating Google Browser Buttons in Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer" in the handouts section of that Web page.
Of course, if you are a veteran TOURBUS rider, you're probably thinking something like "we already know about ALL of these Google sites, squirrel boy. Tell us something we DON'T know."
Your wish is my command.
Deep beneath Google's world headquarters/fortess of solitude is a secret lair called the "Google Labs" where evil Google scientists work on their nefarious creations. Or something like that.
Actually, the folks at Google are always working on new technologies and tools, and some of the newer tools -- the tools that aren't quite ready to be released upon the unsuspecting public -- can be found on the Google Labs page at
Currently, Google is testing four new tools: a Google Glossary; something called "Google Sets" (which I couldn't figure out); a voice recognition tool that lets you search Google via the telephone; and a keyboard shortcuts tool that lets you navigate Google without a mouse.
I'll let you explore these last three tools on your own, but I do want to take a moment to tell you about the first tool -- the Google Glossary -- at
The concept of the Google Glossary is simple: key in a word or phrase and Google will give you pointers to pages that define that word or phrase. And unlike tech glossaries like Whatis.com and webopedia.com, Google's glossary will search for almost any word or phrase. For example, I was feeling a little puckish when I tested the glossary a moment ago, so I searched for the word "hummus." And dog gone it if the Google glossary didn't come up with SEVEN different definitions from sources including an online cookbook and even the BBC Web site.
Of course, that doesn't mean that I'd actually consider EATING hummus. I'm not that crazy. But still the Google Glossary is kind of cool.
Remember, though, that all of the technologies on the Google Labs page, in Google's own words, "aren't quite ready for prime time." In other words they aren't even good enough to be considered beta tests. So expect some bugs and glitches.
But if you're interested in seeing what new tools and technology the evil Google scientists are working on, the Google Labs site is a must- see.
I recently returned from speaking at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference in Birmingham, and a lot of people at the conference were curious about the clock on my computer. You see, I recently changed the default homepage on my laptop to a page that we first visited on TOURBUS several months ago: Yago Nakamuira's Industorius Clock at
I promised the folks at the conference that I would post the address for that clock in today's TOURBUS post. I hope you don't mind. :)
By the way, to change your default homepage in Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options and type in your new default homepage address in the appropriate box. To change your homepage in Netscape, go to Edit > Preferences.
That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon! :)
TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): Google Labs