Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Google do it again

So we are now a couple of weeks from Google I/O 13 and things have not settled yet in terms of releases. New toys have been coming thick and fast and trying to keep up with all of it has been an effort!
The new Google Maps really has improved this particular tool, making it much more interactive and easier to find things worth finding. I haven't had the time to play properly yet, but it is exam week and that might mean a few minutes to really see what it can do.

One change I have made use of from the moment of release was the new inbox layout on GMail. This enables streaming of your messages in GMail with tabs for Primary (the important stuff), Social (where all my   Google + stuff ends up), Promotions (for those less important emails- sales etc), Updates (where receipts etc end up) and Forums (where all of my Google community posts go). Also, there is the option to 'train' GMail to direct messages of each type into the correct folder. For me, it has made it easier to sift the 'not so important stuff' from the more useful messages. It made it very easy to delete about 1,000 email in a couple of hours!









Hangouts has also had a big revamp, and this is something I love the idea of using with students, although not sure I want to be hanging out with students when I am at home relaxing! But having the ability to find people who are experts about a subject we are learning about would be awesome and powerful learning.

A lot of the upgrades appeal to me as a bit of a geek  to make the way I do things personally, but it also gets me thinking about the idea of using these apps with students. I'm probably fighting a losing battle with the GMail upgrades as they still don't check their emails, but I have mentioned it to them anyway!
Maps is not something we use a lot in science, but maybe there should be some way to incorporate them into lessons. The Google + and Hangouts have massive potential and there was a post on Google + today discussing the use of G+ with students- something I need to hunt down (not really, I favourited it!) and have a read of. As an update, the blog post I mentioned is here, by Jack West.
Now, off to play with some of the updated apps!