iGoogle…Do You?

CAJE 33 • Tuesday, August 12 • 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

Deborah Harris (deb@debharris.com)

Download the handout .

Sure you know about Google as a search engine, but how about its other resources? Are you interested in creating documents that you can easily share with others and access anywhere that you have an Internet connection? Check out Google Docs. Want an easy way to subscribe to blogs and other RSS feeds? Get an iGoogle account! Want an email account with great filters and search features? Sign up for Gmail. There are more great features, too, like Google Earth, Google Notebook, Blogger and, yes, youtube. Come and find out how you can get the most from this innovative resource.

Get yourself a Google Account!

There are two different ways to get a Google account.

1. Go to http://www.gmail.com and create a Gmail email account. Yes, I know you already have an email account (or maybe you already have a few). There are several advantages to using Gmail, though. For one thing, it’s really nice to have a Gmail account for those times you want to, for instance, read an online newspaper and they make you put in an email address. That way the inevitable spam won’t go to your “real” email, it’ll go to your Gmail account. Gmail is also a fabulous web-based (meaning you, well, access it on the web – you don’t need to install an email client on a computer and you can access it anywhere you have Internet access) email service. If you don’t want to get a Gmail account, you can:
2. Go to http://www.google.com and create a Google account using a current email address. This will give you access to Google’s services, but not to Gmail (duh).

Once you’ve done one of these things, you can access the rest of Google’s services. Some services such as Google Earth and youtube don’t require you to have a Google account.


Since we’ve already touched on Gmail, let’s look its features. Besides being a web-based email service, Gmail has some great features. For one thing, you can set up some nifty things called labels so you can easily search and archive email. Folder systems like Microsoft Outlook or Entourage only let you put an email in one folder (unless you duplicate them, which can result in bloated email databases). Gmail labels allow you to assign multiple labels to emails such as “teacher communications,” “third grade” and “great ideas.” Get the idea?

Other Gmail features:
• Filters to help you manage your email
• Vacation responder
• You can send email using other email addresses (so you can use Gmail but it looks like you sent email from a different email address) or use Gmail to retrieve email for other accounts
• Supports Chat
• Mobile phone support



128px-Feed-icon.svg.pngSimply stated, iGoogle is your personalized homepage on the web. It acts as a newsreader to help you track updates to the pages you read most frequently. Newsreaders use the “RSS” feed – look for this icon in URL (web address) of the webpages you like to read. iGoogle lets you set up tabs to organize your feeds so that you can easily access the information.

Here's a great little explanation of RSS from the folks at CommonCraft:


Ever need to collaborate on a document with a number of people? How about store documents on the web so that you have access to them when you’re traveling? Check out GoogleDocs. I also recommend GoogleDocs to my students who don’t own word processing software. You can create word processing document, spreadsheets and presentations in GoogleDocs.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar. If you need to be able to easily share a calendar with other people then Google Calendar could be the answer for you. You can set a calendar to be public or to be shared with only those who you specify.

Google Earth

Google Earth is software that can be downloaded for free from http://earth.google.com/.

Google Notebook

Google Notebook is a nifty little thing (in Firefox and Internet Explorer only) that allows you to organize information from multiple web pages into one easily accessed location. You can even invite others to collaborate on notebooks, just like you can documents.


I don’t have enough time to go into detail on blogging here, but if you’re just aching to start blogging, you can create a free blog on http://www.blogger.com (which is part of Google). For more on blogging, see my handouts from CAJE 32, and be sure to pop over to the bloggers’ café Wednesday at 4:15 pm.

Youtube (http://www.youtube.com)

Ah, youtube . . . it can get a bad rap from time to time, but youtube is a fabulouso way to share and view videos (and, yes, it’s part of Google now). Last year we had heroes from Israel’s history visit us every week in religious school and I posted the videos to youtube – it was a great way to share a little bit of religious school with our families. We also sent a multi-media DVD Purim greeting to soldiers in Israel last year and I posted the video to youtube. It’s a great way to get some free PR. There are also great resources on youtube – you have to search carefully (I wouldn’t recommend just going there in class – do it ahead of time) but it’s worth the time.