Tech Talk: Google Products

Google Earth

Google Earth is an amazing app that gives you free satellite images of the Earth and places around the world. You can use the mobile, web or desktop version and you can choose to use the free version or Google Earth Pro.

If you have already dabbled with this app at all, chances are that you’ve probably used it to find your house. If you haven’t, you should try it. It’s neat to see your own home on a satellite photo and interesting to determine when the image of your home may have been taken. One time when I searched for my own home, it showed it when the houses around us were still under construction. Another time was when my in-laws were in town because we could see their car in our driveway using the Street View option.

The images are normally really good resolution and can show such things as hiking trails and terrain of the area you are searching.

Other things you can do on Google Earth (free version):

I used the mobile/app version, clicked on the magnifying glass to search and once I typed in my destination address. Instantly, I was taken from a view of the Earth from space down to more of an aerial view of my neighborhood. There was a marker above my address and using the iPhone finger pinch method, I was able to zoom in even closer to see greater detail.

This is a great app to have loaded and ready to go for when you want to go on your own adventure!

Have you ever used Google Earth and found something unique, strange, or unusual? Leave a comment and let us know what you found!

Google Chrome

Everyone who spends any length of time online has a preference when it comes to using an internet browser. I have used Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Chrome at some point of my online life and personally, I prefer Chrome, by far. I have found it to be faster than the other browsers and prefer the streamlined. A commonality with most browsers nowadays is that they are making improvements to level the playing field. Finding one that suits you may not be as simple as it was in the past.

Benefits of Chrome:

  • Minimalistic design lets the user delete icons off of the toolbar for a more simplistic view.
  • Tab format allows you to have multiple websites open at one time, within the same browser.
  • Incognito mode allows the user to browse without leaving cookies or tracking of activity, unless files are downloaded.
  • One touch bookmarking capability.
  • Personalization options with different themes/color schemes.
  • Intelligent start page with commonly visited webpage.
  • Browser extensions give the user added functionality.

Need more reasons to love Chrome? Check out this list that may make you love it more.  Have you found something that makes you chose the browser you use?

Text to Speech

Google’s Text to Speech is a product that can be used with other Google products such as Google Play books to read the text from books out loud or can be used with Google Translate to read aloud translations or provide insight to pronunciations.

I haven’t listened to many books on tape except for a time or two while traveling to visit family in Florida. However,  I do like the idea of being able to use an e-reader and then using the Text to Speech option while in the car.  I can also see what a benefit it would be to use this feature while traveling abroad for the pronunciations could definitely come in handy.

I found a personal review of this feature from Stefan Svartling and he said it actually helped him hone his speed reading skills. He said that just following along and reading with the reader helped to minimize the natural pauses in his head. That is definitely an added bonus to this feature. I never would have thought to use it for something like that.  Text to Speech does support 15 languages and surprisingly, Svartling’s language of Swedish was not one of them, but he found a work around and is still able to use this great product.

Have you ever used Google’s Text to Speech? What was the benefit that you experienced while using it?

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