Google seems to go in phases. Sometimes their work seems to be more about software, other times it seems to be more about search and data representation. We’re in a search phase right now.
So, we talked about the new features in search. We started with general things coming from Google labs. In this area, we talked about trends (which the image above is from) and lively. Neither of these obviously tie to library work, but some librarians are doing interesting things with them so we talked about ways they could be used in our day to day jobs. We also talked about the political information coming from Google labs. You can search for quotes from the presidential candidates on specific words (like library or net neutrality) and you can search video for specific words. I am most excited about searching video for words; if they roll this out beyond the political speeches, the same technology could make YouTube much more search friendly. I think this could have fabulous benefits for the Toolkit, too. We talked about some things that have been around, but haven’t been talked about as much. Specifically, you can use Google to be notified anytime your name shows up on the internet. You can also use Google to easily create fancy websites. Giz was kind enough to demo a site he’s created and help usunderstand how these sites can be useful for information literacy classes or library association work. Finally, we talked about projects that former Google employees are creating. One is the Cuil (pronounced like “cool”) search engine that came out a little bit ago and the other is FriendFeed, a type of RSS reader for your friends. Finally, we talked a little bit about the differences between Google Reader and Bloglines.
We had a good turn out and covered a lot of ground! If you have a technology topic you’d like to see covered, let me know! So far we’ve had a vote for Picasa vs. Flickr, so if I don’t hear anything in the next few weeks, that’s the one I’ll start preparing for November.