You wouldn’t use words like snazzy, flashily stylish, or even showy with Google’s almost barebones effectiveness. Recent changes though have helped to dress up Google and readied it for the Web 2.0 party. We have seen that Google and its interlinked maze of products can be whole lot of fun. You can check out the links on our site, but right now let’s click on a link that will take us inside Google Search and into the Playground.
The Inside Search Playground is a slight detour in the maze of Google services. But it’s here that you can – feed your curiosity, test your search skills and explore topics in a whole new way – as Google itself says. It’s difficult to exactly define what it is, except to say that it’s packed with features that give you several new ways to play around with Google Search. Oh yes, it is ‘flashily stylish’ too.
What Do You Love is a search engine in itself, but it’s like a meta-search engine which brings in results from most of Google’s web services, from news to mobile search, to answer your search query. What you get is your own Google mini-portal for a particular search. All that’s left for you to do is to dive in and start feeding on the information that’s out there.
We have talked about Doodles before, but around here you get to use a cool timeline slider to browse through the Doodle gallery. You can also mouse-over the dots to see a preview of a Doodle. This one is lot more fun than the earlier simple webpage gallery.
I have the most fun here. A Google a Day is a trivia game, and a tough one at that. You are asked a trivia question and you can ‘cheat’ by using any of the Google services. If you think it’s easy, it’s not as you have to go against the clock. If you are a slowpoke, then play normally. But it’s the best way I know of learning how to search Google using the advanced search operators (check the Tips & Tricks section).
Demo Slam is like a head-to-head between Google projects. Sounds boring? Nah…just try it out! Google white coats submit most of the demo projects, but you, me, and Irene can join in too and vie to become the champs. Browse through the site and tell us your favorite demo project. Mine is the Road Trip on Route 66. You can click on the gallery too and see the whole lineup. Tech demos are fun again.
You are not the only one who is searching on Google. What does the world look like with all those people tapping away at their keyboards – the cool Search Globe shows you. You can also scroll down and look at the very interesting Life of a Query which reveals interesting facts about how Google Search operates. Keep scrolling down for few more tidbits rendered appealingly. For instance, you can go under the hood and learn how Google conducts its experiments. Each factoid is presented as you splash the ‘chemicals’ on the page.
The Google Globe wasn’t rendering for me at that precise moment. It could be a temporary glitch. I used the image from the Official Google Blog.
Are you the resident tech expert? If family, friends, and the dog are turning you into the local professor, just point them to the how-to videos hosted here. The beautifully organized site handholds them through the basics to an advanced stage where they can even create a FAT32 hard-drive partition. You can send the videos packaged as like a ‘gift’.
Make Your Own Search Stories is a fun video creation tool that lets you go all wild, crazy, and imaginative with your Google searches and stitch them together into a story backed up with music. Parisian Love is one of the well-known ones. Watch it and many more to get your own ideas.
Here, you get a different looking search engine which takes you through the paces of a search by scrolling with the arrows or clicking on the little colored dots. It’s a neat tool to explore all the facets of Google Search quickly without looking at any help file.
The Playground is a fun place to be if you are new to Google or just don’t about all its power yet. Heck, I am a veteran, but I still found the trivia and demo slam rounds to be fun. It helped me know my favorite search engine a bit better. What about you? Does the slew of pages here make you appreciate that it’s a whole lot more than juts typing in a search? Tell us…