Links in Google Calendar Events

When I was teaching my WordPress class recently a librarian asked me if they could link to the registration page from their Google Calendar (the one I told them to embed in their WordPress site) – and I said I didn’t think so. Now, I don’t remember who that librarian was so I’m going to share this with you all and hope that she’s reading :)

In a recent post by Allie Jordan on LibraryTechTalk I learned that it is possible to put links in your Google Calendar events. Her post talks about how to use Google Docs & Calendar for event registration at your library. This tutorial is a must read if you’re using Google Apps in your library!!

Google Rolls Out Google Buzz

So, last year it was Google Wave and this year we have Google Buzz!

I just logged into my email to see an invite to set up Google Buzz – I of course said “go right ahead” before doing any research on what it was :)

Google Buzz is like FriendFeed in your email. It’s a way to bring your status updates into Email and read them right there in your Gmail account. This is a pretty awesome idea in my book. What I’d like to see is a way to send my status updates from Buzz to the other sites – like I can with, but I guess I can’t be picky on release day :)

So how do you find this Buzz thing? After you set it up it will appear under your Inbox on the Gmail menu. Then once you click that you’ll see your updates and those from your friends.

Like my ‘Buzz’ says I’m much more likely to use Buzz over Wave because it’s integrated right into a tool I use 1 million times a day already. I’m also going to install Buzz on my Android and see how that works. Yet another tool to learn to use and benefit from.

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Sharing in Google Reader

I’ve been pretty vocal about not liking Google Reader and not wanting to switch, but I have also been open to going back to it once in a while to see if it has been improved. I do see some neat changes, but I still can’t figure out how to solve 3 issues that really bug me.

  1. I see that I can grab a blogroll for each folder, but not of everything I subscribe to. With Bloglines I am able to share my subscriptions with a simple URL ( or by putting a blogroll on my site.
  2. It still says that I have 1000+ things to read – why??? Is it so hard to just give me the darn number??
  3. I can’t figure out how to customize what feeds show on the reader homepage, I want to put my favorites on my homepage for easy reading.

Switch to Gmail

Still on Hotmail? Or worse – AOL mail? Google has made it so that you can easily switch to Gmail:

Since launching back in 2004, Gmail has set the gold standard for webmail clients, offering a large amount of storage and a highly usable interface, free of charge. But for many people it has remained out of reach – no matter how appealing Gmail might be, they’ve racked up thousands of messages on other services that they simply can’t give up. Today, that changes. Gmail just released a new feature that allows users to import their Email archives and contacts into their Gmail accounts effortlessly.

Now I just have to convince my sister and mother to get off Hotmail and a few other people switch from AOL – and the world will be a better place :) hehe

Search by Color on Google

This morning I was looking for a bit of art for my (soon) newly decorated bathroom. I was looking for a tile art piece that I know I’ve seen before – something that is made of blue glass or plastic. What I didn’t see was that Google Image Search has a new color option to limit your search by!

Color Google Image Search

I could have used that – and will be using it as soon as I hit Publish.

NFAIS 2009: Google Generation

Ian Rowlands presented a talk titled, The Information Behavior of Researchers of the Future: Survey Results. Ian started by saying that he was happy that John was optimistic before him – because it lets him be a bit more anxious and less complacent about where we’re going on our own digital journey. He talked about a study he did with JISC and the British Library to discuss what happens in 2017 – when the first of the digital native generation start to hit the big research libraries like the British Library?

That said, it was very hard to do this study because in 2017 technologies will be different and we’ll be different. One of the questions that rose from this fact was is there a real difference between the Google Generation and earlier generations at the same point in their development? When we talk about young people we have to think back to when we were young and what values we had and the ways we used libraries and the skills that we had.

This is one of the reasons that it is very dangerous to stereotype an entire generation. He pointed out a study by Synovate in 2007 that found that only 27% of young people live up to images of total IT immersion – for most (57%) ‘technology was not a badge to be worn, but something that had value’ once its functional usefulness has been demonstrated – 20% are ‘digital dissidents.’ And another study by Ofcom (in the UK) that same year found that over-65s spend 4 hours a week longer online than 18-24s. Another stereo type was that the “old people” use manuals and “young people” just play until it works, but an Ofcom study in 2006 showed that it’s actually the opposite, young people will read the manual and older people will get annoyed with the manual and just try to use the device without reading.

All that said, he’s not saying that the Google Generation conception isn’t important – he’s saying that we’re all partially Google Generationalized. We’re making a big assumption based on when someone is born – why is it that libraries and information professionals spend so little time doing what other industries do – studies on actual use – they spend lots of money on user research – so why don’t we? One of his slides had a great quote “stereotype means to cast a person in a preset mold – to deny them individuality”

Research over 15 years shows

  • young people have difficulties formulating appropriate terms due to the use of natural language (how to build bird’s nests)
  • assume search engines understand sentences and questions
  • do not use advanced search facilities or navigation aids
  • have trouble generating alternative search terms / synonyms
  • often repeat the same search several times

Other issues

  • speed of young people’s web searching shows little time is spent in evaluating information
  • information seeking stops at the point where articles were simply found rather than perused
  • little regard is made to the text itself – only the presence/absence of words exactly matching search terms or a word in the title
  • an appropriate accompanying image also enough to confirm relevance

These problems have always been around – and many of them are not unique to young people! Once again, he reminded us, ‘We are all ‘Google Generation!’ and that we’re only 15 years into the digital library proper – and we’ve had over 5 millenia to deal with how to handle the hard copy and printed materials … in short, we’re still learning!

I do agree that we need to do some actual studies instead of just assuming that we know what our users want and that all “young people” think and research the same way.

Very interesting talk and some great points were made!

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Create Doc from Gmail

Pretty soon Google is going to have to organize their Gmail Labs page better. There was so much on there I didn’t know about.


Today I added the ability to move boxes around on the right (something I’ve been dying for) and the ability to export an email thread as a Google Document.

I could have used that this AM when I needed to find a way to copy an entire thread of emails to clean up for documentation.

Found via DownloadSquad.

Google PDF Viewer

Every week I get an update email from our support center at work. Last week the report had a link under it to ‘View as HTML’ – which is always how I checked the report. Today it looks a little different:

View PDF

I have read the news about Google adding a real PDF viewer, but this is my first chance to try it out – and I have to say I’m pretty darn pleased with it!

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Integrated Gmail Firefox Add-on

I read about this neat sounding add-on for Firefox on Lifehacker – but unfortunately it’s not ready for prime time.

Allows you to make the Inbox Collapsible and loads your choice of Google Calendar, Reader, Notebook, Groups, etc… plus Custom URLs and Google Gadgets seamlessly into the gmail interface. Works w/Google Apps Accounts and GMail Themes.

I installed the Integrated Gmail add-on, but every time I went to Gmail I got an error pop up :(

I guess I’ll just have to wait for more testing before it works on my combo on OSX and Firefox. If you get this to work, let me know how you like it.