Google's been in the news a lot lately, mostly for perceived wrongdoings, but also for quite a bit of innovation, including a drive to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the computer industry. All of this media coverage has certainly gotten me thinking about the way I use Google and the potential role of Google-ish sorts of services in Ed Tech.
While fellow ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan continues to live life without Google, I'm actually starting to wonder if I can live life exclusively with Google. Especially in Ed Tech, where our focus is on sharing information, collaboration, and finding new ways to get students to effectively use technological tools, Google is a particularly good fit (assuming we can get students to look beyond the top 3 hits for the ultimate answers to life, the universe, and everything).
Here in Ed Tech, few of us pound too hard on the full capabilities of Microsoft Office or Open Office. I can't remember the last time I did a mail merge. Even the secretaries just use our student information system and the oldest (and arguably the nicest, which is why I still support her terrible legacy apps) uses Works for mailing labels. Google is getting much closer to a solid web-based presentation tool, as well. Hmmm...Do I even need Open Office? Probably, but for the next few weeks this summer, I'm going to try being Google-monogamous.
Obviously I'm not swearing off specialized software like Maple or the Vernier software I'm using for a new physics curriculum next fall. However, given that the rest of my summer is going to be spent blogging, training, and migrating from one web-based student information system to another, this seems an ideal time to see just where the limitations of Google lie. Google gives us blogs, mail, documents, spreadsheets, calendaring, personalized web portals, RSS feed readers, YouTube, mapping, basic WYSIWIG page creation, simple web hosting, and the list goes on.
I have yet to find much that I don't like about Google. I've already made my feelings on privacy issues known. I'm ready for a committed relationship and won't be seeing other search engines or Web 2.0 applications. Nobody tell my wife: Google and I are now exclusive. I'll tell you how it goes.