Making the most of Google services

A number of things today have got me thinking about how I use the individual nuts and bolts of Google in order to benefit the work that I do which is a continual voyage of discovery in it’s own right. I felt that I should write something about this, as if I can learn something from all of this, so can you and your ideas can then be fed back into this giant monster of information technology called Google. That is to make their tools work for you and to make your life easier, not a convoluted mess of too much information and little substance.

The other day I was inspired by Adewale Oshineye and his buzz post http://www.google.com/buzz/adewale/NbCaef4RDST/Just-one-more-change-and-then-other-people-can discussing a tool that he has been nurturing called “buzzchatbot” which allows you to track search terms on buzz and also post to buzz via your Google chat client. So I threw a number of terms at it and it’s so far returned well over a thousand finds in just 24 hours. I have been reading about someone’s trip around Italy and some great coding techniques to boost your web maps.

This is all fantastic because it has put me in contact with other “buzzers” out there whom I never would have come across otherwise. Let’s face it that Buzz’s own “find people” tools aren’t very good and the best way to discover people is through common interests. I’ve also been adding my “finds” to google reader which I am using more and more as a tool for keeping track of my research and not just as a feed reader. These are then shared back into buzz for further comment. More power and more discussion!

To quote an example:

Today I came across an article on stylising google maps (http://www.google.com/buzz/david.carrington/AZsfWa1MPiP/How-to-Styled-Maps-Using-Google-Maps-API-Version-3) using the Buzz Chatbot which is of interest to me. I followed the link to the blog article that it references and then shared this on Google Reader along with a comment and within seconds a Buzz article is created (http://www.google.com/buzz/nickeblewis/FGMueBtV2fZ/I-love-the-way-that-maps-can-be-enhanced-to). This has led onto a discussion with Thomas Morffew about an example of where they used these techniques on an actual website. All of which you can read about in the aforementioned link.

This is fantastic because when the day comes for developing a Google map solution, I have a whole load of resources to call upon at my fingertips rather than just Google search. In addition to that I have contacts, real people I can approach if I need advice of any kind. I feel that the web (especially Google) is heading in a new direction where at some point in time we’ll all realise the combined value of these technologies and that simple searches are old hat!

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