Monday, April 13, 2015

What do I get with my Google Apps account?

I keep saying that your Google Apps account has perks, but I think I have not really described those perks. So, today a little overview of what you can do with your Apps account (username@pinckneypirates.org).
:-)
Though the topic seems brief, the post is long, but is a great reference. Many of these tools will be the focus of tutorials during the next few weeks.
I'm going to separate them into four categories:
  • The obvious
  • The not-so-obvious
  • The little known
  • More...
First a list, then some very brief descriptions and links.
Enjoy!

The List

The obvious: (These are the tools that you have probably heard of and might have used.)
  • Gmail
  • Google Drive
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Maps
  • Google Earth
The not-so-obvious:
  • Blogger
  • Sites
  • YouTube
  • Search history
  • Classroom
  • Google Play
The little known:
  • Google Plus
  • News
  • Wallet
  • Photos
  • Books
  • Bookmarks
  • Keep
  • Google Scholar
More...

Here's a link to all the "products" available - http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/

Descriptions





  • Blogger - Create a blog (Web-Log) - most recent content goes at the top. You can have many blogs using one Google account. Check out this post for more info.
  • Sites - A tool for creating web sites. This is a fairly easy to use editor and it allows you to integrate several Google tools into your site. Want to put a slide show on your web page? There is a button for that... Here is a wonderful tutorial for students in another district. You can use it to create a site and add some pages - just ignore the directions about naming things according to their district policy.
  • YouTube - Yes, it is owned by Google. You can use YouTube to create a video collection, edit videos, manage a collection, etc. There will be more info on using YouTube in one of my future posts. :-)
  • Search History - Ever wanted to get back to a site you were on two days ago but can't recall the name and you forgot to bookmark it? I have. Search History will let you look back at the sites you have visited according to date and time (unless you were incognito or not logged in) You may have to turn it on to use it.
  • Classroom - One of the newest tools, and HUGELY popular with teachers. Most of the workshops I have seen on this have little to do with how to make it work, but rather suggestions for the best ways to make it work in your classroom situation (more application than how-to). Here's an early post on Classroom.
  • Play - Google play store will be familiar if you use an Android phone or tablet. This is a place to get apps, buy music, rent movies, etc. Occasionally you can get some great freebies here. 



  • Plus (+) - Google's social media experiment. I did a post about it here. It's a powerful tool that deserves some exploration. I can see creating Circles for courses and sharing info with the different groups for various reasons. 
  • News - An online collection of news articles from a variety of sources. You can add custom categories based on your interests. Very easy to use.
  • Wallet - allows you to connect a payment method to your account. Once you do you can even send money via email (look for the $ in the email composition window).
  • Photos - A place to store your photos online. Currently Photos live under Google Plus. 
  • Books - The Books site offers a number of books and magazines that can be viewed online. Enter a search term and browse. You can add titles to your library and even buy books from here.
  • Bookmarks - Here you can store your bookmarks online. There is a handy link to your search history here so you can go back to something and then bookmark it.
  • Keep - One of my favorites. This is like a place to keep your "sticky notes" - except they are online, collaborative, and (in the mobile version) can even be location aware. So, for example, I can make a note about the things I need to get at Lowe's and set a reminder that will alert me when I am at Lowe's, reminding me about my note.
  • Scholar - This is a custom search engine that will search for scholarly articles on a topic. You can even set it to send you alerts when there are new articles found on your topic. 

There are, of course, more tools, but this will get you looking around.
Have fun, and feel free to send in any questions or requests!

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