Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, May 20, 2019

Getting the Rest of the Gold out of the Google Goldmine for Genealogists Part Two

  • Google Help
  • Google Search
  • Google Newspapers Archive
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs including Sheets, Slides, Forms, Draw and more
  • Google Keep
  • Google Trips
  • Chrome Web Store
  • Chrome Extensions
It is time to start looking at the rest of the gold in the Google Goldmine starting with Google Help. The first impression you get from Google Help is the extensive number of "apps" available from Google. Not all of these are "free" the business apps are usually only available if you subscribe to Google's G Suite. But some of the apps in G Suite are still available for free to non-business users. Some of the apps are also restricted to certain operating systems or browsers. The list above is a selection of the apps that I find useful in working with writing and research and which can be used to your advantage for genealogical research. I will post the list at the beginning of each of my blog posts in this series and highlight in bold the ones in the post you are looking at.

Let me start with a hypothetical situation. Let's suppose that you are driving a car or truck on a long trip across the United States (or some other location in the world). What do you need to make your trip successful? How many of the things that you need for your trip are actually carried with you in your car or truck? How many will you have to purchase along the way? How many of the things you are carrying are things that you usually need all the time? How many of the things are specific for a trip across the United States? How many are specific to this particular trip?

I could keep asking more questions indefinitely since that is what I did for a living for many years. What is the point? Well, when we think of what we need to do genealogical research, we generally start thinking about websites or libraries or whatever. But in reality, we need a lot more than just those things that are directly related to genealogical research. For example, going back to my hypothetical journey across the country, you might need a car jack to help to replace a flat tire. If you were like me and you were to drive where I often drive, you would have had several flat tires over the years. Oh, and of course, a spare tire (or two).

In this same way, there are tools and such that will help us on our genealogical research journey that might not be obvious or something you would normally think about.

Google Help will link you to all of their named apps and websites, including all those listed above although some are not directly linked but require you to start clicking on other websites that appear when you click on a link to an app.

NOTE: You should be careful when looking at any of the listed apps to make sure that the app or website is still actively supported by Google. For example, the list on Google Help includes a link to Picassa, a program that has been discontinued for some years but may still be on some computers.

By the way, Google Help is not the most helpful place or the only place to get help about Google and Google products. But it is a good place to start. Let me give you an example of what I mean by this statement.

Back to my hypothetical situations. Let's suppose that you are working with Google Docs and you have a question about that app or program. Here is a Google Docs screen:

Where do you go for help? You click on the icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen on what is commonly called a "hamburger icon." (Question: does this icon look like a hamburger to you?)

Hmm. So what do you get when you click on this icon?

You get a pull-down menu with a link to "Help & Feedback."

Here is what you get from the link:

Eventually, if you keep clicking or typing in questions, you might get an answer. But if you click on the "Browse all Articles" option you go directly to Google Help for Docs. Like this:

Further clicking gets you this?

Now you have a chance to get an answer to your question. But what would I suggest? I suggest entering a short explanation of your question into a regular Google Search, like this:

Sometimes it is helpful to use other Google tools to help with some of the apps and tools. Now if you find yourself with a question about how to find something on Google, just try asking it in the question bar. Also, note the small microphone (mic) image. You can click on that and just ask your question.

Stay tuned for more Google Gold.

See the first post in this series:

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