Thursday, August 27, 2009

Top 5 Google Services That You Didn't Know About

Following my list of the top Yahoo! services that nobody knew about, some readers asked me to do a similar thing for Google's services. Of course, Google has become the more prominent of the two so it was quite a bit harder selecting services that were both good and unknown from their repertoire. But with a bit of work, I've come up with the top 5 Google services that you didn't know about.

5. Knol

Google Knol has really not risen to prominence; it's just not a unique idea. Basically, users write "knols", instructional articles about any topic and anybody can read these. Still, it's a pretty good resource for how-to because generally, the articles are quite a bit more detailed and authors know more about the topics they write about.

4. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is good for anybody doing extensive research into a particular topic. Simply type in a search term, and it will return only a list of "scholarly" results, which include books and essays by notable authors. The only problem is that you have to pay to access most of the scholarly articles.

3. GOOG-411

GOOG-411 is one of the many services that Google doesn't make a penny offering. That's because it's a free phone directory of businesses around your area, very convenient if you're on the go and need to find a business without internet. Just dial the toll free number, 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and you will be prompted to say your location and the business type you want to reach (maybe "Toronto" and "book store"). After that, you'll hear a bunch of listings of book stores around your area.

2. Google Health

Google Health is a product that allows you to create your own health profile for you and your doctor to access when it's needed. Here, you can list everything related to your health, from medications to allergies to test results to insurance to immunizations. In addition, you can find doctors around your area and use other online health services as well. This is very useful for anyone who has any health problems at all.

1. Google Books

Google Books is an absolutely comprehensive database of essentially every book you'll ever want to read. But there's more to it than just the pure number; each book result is overflowing with details. There will of course be the number of pages, publishers, publishing date, author and reviews. But that's just half of it. Also included in many listings are a preview of what's inside, related books, popular passages from the book as well as links to where you can buy the full version.

Honorable Mention:

Google Transit

I couldn't include this in the main list because it can't really qualify as a complete service yet, but keep an eye on Google Transit. Basically, it uses the public transit maps of different cities or regions to generate routes for you to take to get to your destination. So you can see why this would be such a useful service. And it's expanding quickly as well; it already has the transit maps of numerous municipalities throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. So soon, you'll even be using Google to help you find public transit. Neat, huh?

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