Three Obscure Goodies from Google

Sure you know all about Gmail, Docs and Maps, but Google has MANY projects in various stages of development.  Here are three of the geekier ones that may have flown under your radar.

#1 App Inventor for Android

Who says you have to be a programmer to develop applications for the Google Android Phone platform?  Ok yes, it would probably be a good idea if you intend to develop anything very complex or sophisticated, but you can get your feet wet with this amazingly simple tool.

“Creating an App Inventor app begins in your browser, where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone.”

#2 Google Public Data Explorer

Can you think of anything sexier than data?  Of course, you can’t. Google Public Data Explorer puts this wealth of data in the hands of anyhow wants it.  Use robust tools to develop reports, graphs, renderings and feed other applications.

The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don’t have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings.

#3 Google Browser Size

As a web developer and designer, this last one is near and dear to my heart.  This tool pulls current resolution/aspect-ratio information from Google’s findings and overlays it in the form of percentage of visitors to show how visitors see a web site you provide.  Find out where the horizontal and vertical fold of your site is to optimize what guests see at first glance.

Google Browser Size is a visualization of browser window sizes for people who visit Google. For example, the “90{a31f233dcfb9a68fbfb0fafc3ce96f3dbf18fa49e3f406b8ddf4c360aa321eb6}” contour means that 90{a31f233dcfb9a68fbfb0fafc3ce96f3dbf18fa49e3f406b8ddf4c360aa321eb6} of people visiting Google have their browser window open to at least this size or larger. This is useful for ensuring that important parts of a page’s user interface are visible by a wide audience. On the example page that you see when you first visit this site, there is a “donate now” button which falls within the 80{a31f233dcfb9a68fbfb0fafc3ce96f3dbf18fa49e3f406b8ddf4c360aa321eb6} contour, meaning that 20{a31f233dcfb9a68fbfb0fafc3ce96f3dbf18fa49e3f406b8ddf4c360aa321eb6} of users cannot see this button when they first visit the page. 20{a31f233dcfb9a68fbfb0fafc3ce96f3dbf18fa49e3f406b8ddf4c360aa321eb6} is a significant number; knowing this fact would encourage the designer to move the button much higher in the page so it can be seen without scrolling.

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