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Google Services

Friday, June 23rd, 2006 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet
 
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Google Services

No matter how much Mr. Gates would like us to believe otherwise, Google is as much an integral part of our lives as is the Windows operating system (well, at least to some of us). However, blame it on bad marketing or our poor Google exploration skills, most of us aren’t aware of many of the lesser known services that Google provides. Therefore, the aim of today’s article is to enlighten all of you on three extra services that Google offers. And believe it or not, they can make our lives much easier!

1. Froogle

Do you love to shop? Well, I’m sure many of you do, but don’t you have some days where you just don’t want to have to go out to the store? Well, if that ever happens to you, this may be just the service for you! Google introduced Froogle quite some time ago, but you may have never heard of it. Froogle can help you find what you want in a much faster time rate, right from your own home on your own computer. Even if you just want to window shop, Froogle serves up options like a faithful platinum card concierge attendant. : )

To use Froogle, just go to froogle.google.com, enter your search query and click on the Search Froogle button. For example, if you wanted to buy a globe for your child, you can just type “globe” into the search box and Froogle will bring up several relevant results.

As you can see, it brings up, not only the result, but it also categorizes them on the top of the page according to price, brands, stores, seller ratings, etc. You can also narrow down the search by entering the city or state where you would like to buy the item. So, it’s like you’re at the store, but you’re really not. Pretty cool, isn’t it?!

2. Google Local

Google not only enables you to know things about places halfway around the world, but it’s also smart enough to help you learn more about your immediate surroundings. When you search in Google Local, it gives you the most relevant results from a specific area. “But, I already know all about my neighborhood,” you say.

Well, picture this. You want to make a surprise visit to see your best friend who moved to another city, but you need the directions to their house. That’s no problem. Just go to local.google.com and search for the address. It will give you all sorts of directions, from every which way possible.

Or, let’s say you have to catch a connecting flight from the Newark airport. However, you land at Newark at 10 p.m. and your next flight isn’t until 11 the following morning. Unless you have an extraordinary fascination for airport waiting lounges, you need a good hotel close to the airport to spend the night in, right? So, what should you do? Well, just search for “hotels near Newark airport” in Google Local, of course!

This will bring up multiple search results and it will also provide a map where you can see the location of the hotel. Once you click the little balloon on the map, it gives you more information about the property, which makes your decision even easier to make.

The results are all assigned a letter and pinpointed on a map on the right. You can zoom in on the map until you feel like you are standing on the rooftop of the property itself, if you want to!

3. Google Answers

Got questions? Google has answers! It’s as simple as that. Google Answers will provide you answers to all of your burning questions. Of course, if you expect answers to questions like “when will I make my first million”?, you may want to check somewhere else! : ) This is why Google implements a strict policy, which prevents you from asking for private information about individuals and from selling products.

The people who answer your questions comprise of 500 researchers who are constantly evaluated by Google. As Google openly admits, they are not experts in many different subject areas, but they are extremely effective in locating the answers you need.

To ask a question, you just need to go to answers.google.com. If you don’t have a Google account, you can create one there as well. If you are already using any other Google service (like Gmail), you can use the same information for entrance into Google Answers. After a small registration process, you are at your main home page. Before asking a question, it’s advisable to search for it in the archives. If you still don’t find an answer in there, you can simply click on “Ask a Question.” You just then ask your question, set a price for it and you’ll get your answer.

There’s a non refundable $.50 fee for placing every question. After that, you can set a price for your question. Naturally, the higher you are willing to pay for an answer, the more lucrative it is to the researcher. You basically just get what you pay for.

Google Answers will send you an e-mail after your question has been answered. If you’re pleased with the researcher’s answer, you can rate their answer and even leave them a tip if you want. If you are not satisfied with your answer, you can request clarification and state your concerns. If in spite of doing all of this and you are still dissatisfied, you can always leave a poor rating and request a refund.

It’s really simple and effective. And if you don’t want to submit and pay for your own question, you can always just search through the answers of previously asked questions in the archives. That should suffice!

In this article, we have talked about three of Google’s relatively unknown services. They’re pretty hard to pass up, so go on and check them out!

~ Yogesh Bakshi

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