Have you ever wondered what the World would be like without Google? Since its creation almost 20 years ago, Google has become an important part of our daily lives, taking over the internet and most of the smartphones that are being used in the World. The fact that many people can’t even navigate in their city without the help of Google, or even post anything on social media without verifying first by ‘Google-ing’ it, speaks for itself. Google has come up with numerous application and services since its creation, catapulting the company from a two dorm startup to a multi billion organization spanning more than 50 countries and almost 60,000 employees.
Stark believers in innovation and keeping things ‘colorful’ from the start, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google have declared Google’s motto to be “Organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful”. Today, Google Search is the most popular search engine across the globe (except China) for accessing information and data on any and every topic, while YouTube boasts the largest database of videos till date. And they don’t stop here. Over the last few years, Google has experimented with a diverse range of products which include solutions for cloud computing, robot assistants and a language translation service.
Contrary to common belief, Google is no longer just one big search engine. In fact, their most recent ventures in natural language processing, deep learning and artificial intelligence has given a whole new face to the company. Most of their newer additions may not be accessible to everyone just yet, but there are scores of other products that are hidden inside their vast network that are lesser known but equally awesome (like all Google products). Let’s take a look at some of these unsung features and services that Google has to offer.
Google Web Designer
For people who are more visually inclined and don’t want to put in effort learning to code, Google Web Designer is the perfect solution for creating interactive HTML5 content. Termed as a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, GWS allows you to create what you imagine without the need of writing code.
Google Web Designer, as with most Google applications, comes with a simple yet powerful user interface that helps the user to create engaging content based on HTML and CSS. Most of the common designing tools are included in the GUI such as the Shapes tool, Pen tool and 3D tools which can be used to bring ideas to life on screen without getting into the hassle of writing a single line of code. You can easily add YouTube videos, Google Maps and other extensions to your web design with the new advertising feature that has been added.
In stark contrast to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite where the user is charged monthly for using their services, Google Web Designer is absolutely free and is supported on Windows, Mac and Linux. It is great for creating advertisements and banner designs and you can create animations with ease as well. Sounds fun, right?
Since the application is one of the more recent products by Google, it is still in its beta version and possibly the reason why it is relatively unknown to the masses. It lacks in some areas, for example it does not support prior HTML files to be edited, but is great for prototyping your entire website in a short period of time. Needless to say, being a Google product, GWS is constantly evolving to improve itself and might one day substitute Adobe’s Dreamweaver completely.
YouTube Kids is a similar version of the original YouTube that all of us have come to cherish, a perfect app for parents who want to avoid exposing their children to inappropriate content. Even though no age group has been specified by the developers, the app is found to be suitable for children aged between 3 and 10.
Basically, an initiative by YouTube to give more control to the parents over what their children watch on the internet, YouTube Kids allows the parents to hand-pick each video or channel that can be viewed. In a recent update, a new feature was added that disables the app’s search function so that your child does not wander off unknowingly. Instead, custom playlists can be included comprising of content that is uploaded specifically for children. Even after all the precautions and filtering, it is still possible to come across a video that is unsuitable for your child. In that case, the app provides the option to flag inappropriate videos so that it does not show again.
The only downside of the app, as far as the content is concerned, is that it does feature advertisements which the parents can’t remove or filter. However, the YouTube team has always maintained that the advertisements posted on the app are carefully scrutinized and reviewed to ensure they are age appropriate before being posted on the app.
Google Arts and Culture
An online platform for art lovers, Google Art and Culture allows the user to virtually access hundreds and thousands of artworks, paintings and sculptures from around the World from their smartphones. The app is a wonderful learning tool that supplies the user with daily tid bits of information regarding art pieces and the most popular artists. It also gives a heads up for any cultural event that may be happening near your current location.
Another feature that is very popular among users is ‘Art Selfie’. Ever wondered if there is a piece of art out there in the World that resembles you? Well, this feature allows you to take a selfie and then finds your ‘art doppelgänger’ from a huge database of artworks and portraits. Basically, the app uses a machine learning algorithm to get a scan of your face, and analyzes the different characteristics that are unique to you. The characteristics are then used to compare against a collection of around 80,000 paintings to find the best match.
Since Google announced their collaboration with over 150 museums globally, it has become possible to take a virtual tour of many famous museums and landmarks. Recently, Google revealed the Google Arts and Culture extension for Chrome. The extension can be added to your Chrome browser so that each new tab displays a new piece of artwork from one of the museums that have partnered with Google.
If you’re doing research and need access to scholarly literature and academic journals, this is the place to start. Much like Google Search, this is a powerful search engine that is relatively easy and simple to use having a familiar user interface. Google Scholar uses an ingenious algorithm to index and classify hundreds and thousands of reputable legal documents, journals, thesis and conference papers.
Users can search for digital as well as physical copies of documents that are uploaded on the web that amount to almost 160 million according to a statistical estimate in 2016. By help of a few well-chosen keywords, you can search for a wide variety of material that you would never be able to find elsewhere. Google scholar has a huge database that is a credible citation index, where you can search for the number of times a journal or a paper has been cited by other scholars.
For some commercial journal articles, only an abstract is shown to the user and they have to pay a fee to access the entire article. Other than that, Google Scholar is completely free and is just one click away: https://scholar.google.com/
If you have that passionate spirit to donate to causes that are dear to you, or you want to help the World in some way or another, this is the perfect platform for you. With Google One Today, it is possible to support a number of charities and nonprofit organizations without the hassle of any paperwork or physical locomotion. You just need to download the app and choose from a number of authentic, Google approved organizations to donate.
Google One Today aims to provide a simple way for people to make donations so that you have no reason not to be charitable. With donations starting from $1 (hence the name), the app inspires you to give away on a daily basis with complete details of how and where your donation will be utilized. What makes this app stand out among other apps of this kind is that One Today makes the whole process of giving donations a lot more fun and interactive. The app comes up with different non profit organizations each day, based on your interests, for you to check out. Achievements badges are awarded on subsequent donations to keep you motivated, and you can even invite your friends and request them to donate to different causes.
All in all, One Today is a great app for crowdsourcing donations where it is possible with micro-donations to actually raise large sums for nonprofit organizations. With the ease of payment and the fact that you can give away to your favorite cause anywhere, anytime you just can’t miss out on this app.
Chrome Remote Desktop
This may be one of the most underrated tools that are offered by Google when you look at how useful it is. Finding a good remote desktop software is difficult. Finding a free one is even more rare. Google Remote desktop is a free remote desktop software that is used as an extension with Google Chrome. Using this ingenious piece of program, you can remotely control another computer (or computers) from miles away. Mouse and keyboard events can be relayed from one computer to another, as well as the graphical updates over a network.
CRD offers two modes for users: the remote desktop mode allows you to make connection to one of your own machines remotely, with the help of any computer or smartphone available to you.
The other mode, called the remote assistance mode is for the purpose of trouble shooting or fixing a bug in another person’s computer (also remotely). This can be useful when you want to diagnose or remove any issue from a client’s machine urgently.
The software allows a maximum of 100 machines or clients to connect at a time, but you seldom need to such a big network. Normally, there are other custom-built software for such networks. But if you just want to connect to your own devices occasionally, or need to fix someone’s computer quickly, then CRD is a perfect choice. You don’t have to spend a single dollar to get it running or on maintenance, and it is so easy to set up that anyone can use it.
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