Showing posts with label google labs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label google labs. Show all posts

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Graph Google Books Over Time

A couple of months ago Google launched a new application in Google Labs (the experimental section of Google products) called the Books Ngram Viewer. The Books Ngram Viewer provides users with a tool for graphing when and how frequently phrases, names, and words have appeared in the books archived by Google Books. Watch the short video below for a visual explanation of the Books Ngram Viewer.

Applications for Education
The Books Ngram Viewer could be a neat way to compare when and how frequently terms historically appeared in books. For example, in the graph below you can see when the names Rockefeller and Carnegie started appearing in books. After creating the graph, you can click through to find the books that were published in those years.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Google Shared Spaces - Potential Collaboration Tools

Google Wave crashed on the beach earlier this year, but its code and various parts of it live on in various incarnations on the web. (Technically, Wave still exists for existing users, but Google is not supporting it). One of the places where some of the Wave technology is still in use is in Google Shared Spaces. Shared Spaces is a gallery of little widgets that can be used to collaborate on various tasks like drawing, making lists, creating surveys, and developing maps.

I tested out a Shared Space for drawing with about 15 other people and found it easy to use. That said it did get a little messy because we couldn't tell who was drawing what. There is, however, a chat option in the drawing Shared Space which could be used to assign colors or tasks to people in the space.

I also tested out a Shared Space for map creation. The map space looks and acts a lot like a Google Map and can be used to collaboratively develop a map. As with the drawing space, the map Shared Space includes a chat function.

To invite people to your Shared Space you can Tweet, Buzz, or email the unique url for your space to other people.

Applications for Education
Google Shared Spaces is still a Labs project which means they're still in development. That said, my initial impression is that Shared Spaces could be useful little gadgets for having students do simple brainstorming exercises and generate to-do lists for group projects. Teachers and or administrators could use Shared Spaces to develop surveys to gather feedback from students, staff, and parents.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google for Teachers
Twenty Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
Google for Teachers II

Monday, December 20, 2010

Android App Inventor Is Now Open to Everyone

This summer Google launched App Inventor for Android to a limited number of early adopters. App Inventor for Android makes it possible for people without any coding skills to develop applications for Android-powered phones. Now App Inventor for Android is open to everyone to try in Google Labs. Labs is the place where Google launches products that are skill in development but can be used by those willing to accept that there might be some bugs.

App Inventor for Android is a drag and drop program for developing Android applications. Even if you don't have an Android-powered phone, you can still develop an application using the emulator built into App Inventor for Android. App Inventor for Android provides detailed step-by-step directions for building your first application. Watch the video below to see the App Inventor in action.

Applications for Education
App Inventor for Android is an exciting development for educators and students. Teachers and students can develop mobile applications to exactly match the needs of their courses. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Google Body Browser = Google Earth for Anatomy

I saw Google's Body Browser earlier this week, but because I didn't have the time to test drive it until this morning. After installing the latest version of Google Chrome (Body Browser won't work without it) I was able to see what all the talk was about. Body Browser gives you a 360 degree view of the human body. You can turn on layers to see bones, muscles, organs, and the nervous system. You can turn on all the layers at the same time and alter the transparency of each layer. Turn on labels to have labels appear each time you click on a part of the body. For example, if I have the bones layer turned on along with the labels, when I click on a bone a label will appear. Watch the video below to see Google Body Browser in use.

Body Browser is a Google Labs product which means it's still in the experimental stage. You should expect to find some quirks occasionally. You will also need to have the latest version of Google Chrome installed.

Applications for Education
Body Browser could be a fantastic resource for teachers and students of anatomy. By spinning the body 360 degrees students can learn to recognize parts of the anatomy from many views instead of just 2D photographic views.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Visualize Data - Google Public Data Explorer

Earlier today Google announced the launch of a new tool for visually exploring public data sets. Google's Public Data Explorer draws on data sets from the World Bank, the US CDC, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources of public data. In all there are eighty data sets. The Public Data Explorer makes it possible to quickly create visual representations and visual comparisons of the data sets. Each visualization you create has a unique url that you can direct people to or you can embed the visualization in a blog or website.

The visualization below compares the size of the labor force of thirteen states between 1990 and 2009.

Applications for Education
My first thought when I saw Google's Public Data Explorer was that I could use it in my civics course. Each year in my civics course I ask students to analyze data and create a public policy proposal based on that analysis. The Public Data Explorer could help students compare data sets.

It's important to note that the Public Data Explorer is still in Labs. Labs is where Google tests new products and gathers feedback before deciding whether or not they want to make something a permanent product offering. In other words, the Public Data Explorer might not work perfectly in all situations at all times.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Living Stories
Google Maps Labs - Try the Newest Options
Automatic Translation in Google Chrome

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Google Fusion Tables - Easy Data Visualizations

Google Fusion Tables is a neat spreadsheet application that makes it easy to create visualizations of data sets. Fusion Tables can also be used to create visualizations of data set comparisons. At its most basic level Fusion Tables can be used to visualize existing data sets with one click. At a deeper level, Fusion Tables can be used to compare your own data sets and create visualizations of those comparisons. The types of visualizations available include tables, maps, charts, and graphs. As a Social Studies teacher, I really like the map visualization options. To learn more about Fusion Tables take a tour, watch the video below, or see the screen captures I've included below.

The next three screen captures demonstrate the basic function of Fusion Tables.
1. Select a data set.

2. Select a visualization option.

3. Save and share your visualization. Maps can be displayed in Google Earth if you save as KML.

Applications for Education

For the visual learners in your classroom, Google Fusion Tables could be an excellent tool for showing the various ways that data can be interpreted. Fusion Tables also provides students with a fairly easy way to compare their own data sets.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google Swirl is Like Wonder Wheel for Images

Earlier today Google announced a new image search option called Image Swirl. Image Swirl is similar to Wonder Wheel which I've previously written about here and here. To use Image Swirl, just enter your search term as you would in the regular image search service. The results of your search will be displayed in a grid similar to that with which you're probably familiar. Click any image in the grid a web of more, related, images will appear. Click an image in the web and another web of images will appear.

Applications for Education
Image Swirl, like Wonder Wheel, could be useful for students who need a little help diversifying their Internet searches.