Sue Waters Blog

June 13, 2007
by Sue Waters
1 Comment

Googleless and Googleholics

googleholic.jpgWhile I was unable to participate (see reasons) in the “A Day without Google (Tuesday June 12th)” it has been interesting to observe how others have gone in this challenge (check out responses on AltSearchEngine post “A Day without Google” – love the fact that people from lots of different nationalities got involved in this challenge – I hope there will be more responses over the next two days as people report back on what they discovered).

Well I am happy to report that my friend Frances passed the challenge of going without Google for a day – and I congratulate her for being able to do something that I could not do. I really enjoyed reading her post on how her Gooogleless day went.

Here is an extract of some of her post:

I found it interesting to try different search engine and did find the information I was looking for in my searches, but also had to make a conscious effort not to use Google for finding information. I think that we have been using Google for so long now it has just become a way of life. I do find myself talking about “googling things” and have even said this to my students”.

“I may continue to use some of these alternatives if Google doesn’t return what I want and when helping my daughter with school projects, they may help to return different results to what her class mates or teachers will get!”

It does not appear at the moment, from her experience or feedback on “A Day without Google” that there is an Alternative search engine that stands out, maybe this will change as more people submit their feedback. Perhaps David Berkowitz is correct when he says “I might as well take it as a vacation day. The top 5 are the top 5 for a reason” (5 top refers to Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, or Ask).

I love how Frances finishes her post with “I am a Googleholic and I don’t care” :)

Looks like we may have to organise:

“I am a Googleholic and I don’t care” self help group

Judging from the comments on my post on “Can you go without Google for a Day” we should not have trouble with getting members!

June 11, 2007
by Sue Waters
10 Comments

Can you go without Google for a day?

This morning I read Richard MacManus (from Read/Write/Web) post on This Tuesay: A Day without Google. The idea of going without Google this Tuedsay was originally purposed by AltSearchEngines who asks “everyone to go one day (6 am – midnight), this Tuesday (June 12th), without using one of the major search engines; Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, or Ask.”

Here are my thoughts on me going without Google for a day:

Logical side – Foragar.jpg

Definitely an interesting concept and worth giving a go – the scientific part of me says testing out a range of search engines for the day instead of using Google sounds like a good idea. Especially when AltSearchEngines points out there are lots of alternative search engines that may give better search results. Photo by Daby.

Then if you take into account the concept originally came from Larry Dignan post I’m getting separated from Google partly because “Google is just creeping me out lately with all this Big Brotherish stuff like StreetView. Now Google isn’t evil, but I’m still wary”. I have had friends make similar comments about their concerns relating to Google Street View.

Emotional side – Against

Google is an important part of my day. I use on a daily basis my personalised Google Homepage, Google Talk (to communicate with friends), Google Reader (for subscribing to blogs) and Gmail. The search function of Google is only a minor part of how I use Google. Photo by Photonut (Mr Dave’s).

Outcome

Normally the logical scientific part of me would win and I would give it a try. This is not the case here – the emotional side has won. Companies like Google have worked very hard on the personalised aspect of their applications that it does make Google hard to give up. I obviously should have added the emotional nature of the consumer to my post on the Fickleness of Consumers and its implications.

How about my friends try going without Google for a Day and let me know which search engines you liked? Can you go without Google for a Day?

May 23, 2007
by Sue Waters
3 Comments

Does Google Trends reveal world’s downfall?

The great thing about subscribing to lots of people’s blogs is you find out the latest news on topics that interest you, often as the news is happening. Last night I read the Chris’s Crucial Thought post on Google Trends reveals world’s downfall.

What amazed me was yet again here was another Google product that I did not know about. Last week I bought Google.pedia – so I grab my book and check out what they said about Google Trends. Was really interesting reading.

Then I went to Google Trends and searched for the new Hot Trends information. Was absolutely stuck. Could not see the Hot Trends information (it was late and I must have been tired as it was right there in front of my face). But I did have fun googling information on Google Trends and Hot Trends.

hottrends.jpg
Basically in simple terms Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time which is then graphed. Look at my results for search terms of e-learning, mobile learning and Web 2.0.

googletrends.jpg

What I liked about Google Trends is it gives you an indication of changes in search terms with time. Have a look what happens when you enter the terms blog, wiki, podcast.

When you go to Google Trends below the search area you will see Hot Trends. This lists the top 100 search trends for the day and is updated several times daily. Probably a point to note is that not everyone is going to be happy as Hot Trends is currently based on USA searches (for those not happy lets just remember this is a new feature and it is in test phase). Also like any statistic you do need to examine the information closely because what you think it is reflecting may not be what it really is reflecting.

So had a good laugh this morning to note after having a sleep over night that Google Hot Trends is currently in number 26 position in their Hot Trends ranking. I assume it may be higher in its rankings tomorrow as more people talk about it. Also good news for Google Trends because as people talk about Hot Trends people become aware of Google Trends (as I did).

So does Google Trends reveal the World’s downfall – mmmmm – based on the fact that Hot Trends relates to USA searches? Well, we can not say it represents the World trends.

Thanks to Chris’s Crucial Thought for letting me know about this latest Trend.

May 2, 2007
by Sue Waters
1 Comment

i + Google = iGoogle = I’m not happy!

Yesterday I thought I had gone slightly crazy because suddenly my Google had an i and became iGoogle. Honestly to me you just can not do this! You just can not play with my Google logo (even if you own it) because I love my Google and have come to expect to see my Google everyday.

So are you seeing iGoogle? Well, you won’t be seeing it if you have not personalised your Google homepage! And if you have not personalised your homepage you are definitely missing out of lots of great benefits. Having a personalized homepage is a great way to place all of the information important to you on the Internet in one place – for example on my personalised Google homepage I have my deli.cio.us feed, my google reader feed, my gmail feed, News feed, world clock and more! And have also added a theme – which changes with the time of day.

So why the name change! Well Google wants to let us know that it is increasing its effort on personalisation. Google has added seven new templates that all you to make your own gadget and share it with your friends. For example you can easily create a gadget that you shares with your friends (which also changes everyday):

  • a series of photos
  • a gift which messages
  • what you are up today

With the most popular widgets (called Gadgets by Google) being widgets that are easily created, shared (social) and are personal (it is your baby’s due date, your website or your blog, your videos, your playlist) then it would look like a good move by Google.

I strongly suggest that you check out the screencast tour of iGoogle by Molly McDonald (demogirl). It is an excellent video that shows you what being able to make your own gadgets means to you. Also shows the great benefits of having your own personalised Google homepage. After watching it I suggest you also read Google’s Personalization Push: iGoogle, Localization, Gadget Maker.

:( Check out what my personalised Google Homepage looks like below (notice the iGoogle – click here to get the i in your Google while I don’t like (at the moment) having the i I cannot live without my personalised google homepage:

igoogle.jpg

phone.jpg

PS I know this is a me thing when it comes to my personal items. At work they removed my normal phone and replaced it with a VOIP phone. The new VOIP phone looks so different from the traditional phone that it took me a few months to accept the change (I kept insisting they give me a Garfield to improve the look of the phone!) I still have not received my free Garfield yet! Thanks Philip for sending me the news article altering me to reasons for iGoogle .

April 19, 2007
by Sue Waters
3 Comments

Google Personalized Home Page

What I can not believe is that it has taken me so long to realise that I can set up my own personalized Google home page which I can view from any computer I am on. I feel a bit better in the knowledge that when I tell my friend about it, they also did not realise. Amazing something that was sitting right in front of me – and I did not see it.

So I googled this morning information on Google Home Page – shame on you Sue – it has been around for 2 years. You have been missing out for 2 years.

With my personalized Google home page I can add whatever Gadgets on my home page – there is too many to choose from. If I run out of space I can add more tabs for more Gadgets (this girl has become gadget crazy). I have a Google Reader gadget that feeds the latest posts directly onto my home page (regretfully this is how I learnt about the shootings at Virginia Tech). Local weather (I should have looked at it rather than the newspaper because I did not wash clothes on Tuesday because the newspaper said rain – Google said fine). News feeds – you name it is there!

googlegadget.jpg

And they are coming out with new features for your Google home page all the time – you just have to look more closely at the page. For example – I can access it on my PDA (it is mobile) and they have now just introduced themes. These themes change with the time of the day – mmmm – wonder if they will also show my mood? Read more about themes at internetnews.com.

googlethemes.jpg

If you have not set up your own Google personalized home – do it well worth it. Just click on “Personalize this page” at the top of the Google page.