Watching the 60 Minutes report on Google the other night reminded me of how much I love the nifty little tools that they keep churning out. Here are a few that I think are particularly cool:
- Google Suggest:
As you type, Google will offer suggestions. Use the arrow keys to navigate the results.I love this feature. And I can’t believe how well it works.
- Google Local: Find local businesses and services on the web.
- Google Print:
puts the content of books where you can find it most easily—right in Google search results.It looks like Google is trying to compete with the amazon.com “Search inside the book” feature.
- Google Scholar: Search for academic articles from reputable journals.
But Google also has a few tools that I find a little disappointing:
- Google Desktop: I tried this out for a few weeks, and while it did an excellent job of searching items on my computer, the set of file types it could find was too limited. It finds items from the Microsoft Office suite, text files, and Outlook (or Outlook Express) email. It doesn’t however, find images, which is what I spend most of my time trying to locate on my home computer. It also doesn’t find email from any program except the two from Microsoft mentioned above, which is a bummer because I’ve switched over to Mozilla Thunderbird.
- Froogle: This shopping search engine has lame filtering and sorting features. The few times that I’ve used it have been rather unpleasant because of the bewildering number of search results in a seeminly random order. I prefer the shopping comparison sites Price Grabber and MySimon.
- Google Toolbar: Well, this was a nice little widget to have when I was using Internet Explorer, but now that I’m using Mozilla Firefox, I don’t have any use for the special toolbar. All of its features are already built into Firefox.
- Google News: I suppose it’s okay as far as news compilers go, but the search results contain an annoying number of duplicate articles (usually when they’re syndicated in various newspapers).
What are your favorite Google tools or features? Which ones can you do without? Have you found other search engines that you like more? Let’s hear it.