New Google Additions = Happy Holidays, World

Wow. Two new additions to Google's arsenal have tremendous potential for educational conversation.

1. Google Reader added the new "Friends' shared items" feature.

Now I'm not only able to see what educators around the world are reading, but I'm also able to discover a number of new-to-me great writers. Here's a list of a few gems I've found via my friends' shared items:

  • David Armano - Amazing post about Twitter and Tipping Points (two of my favorite subjects)
  • YPulse - Great summary of the newly released PEW study by a blogger that focuses on Generation Y
  • Derek Wenmoth - Informative post that details a new addition to Google Talk (see below)
Again, if it weren't for my newly acquired ability to easily view my friends' shared items, I would have missed these (and other) great posts.

What I Want For Christmas That Would Drastically Improve The Experience:
  • Inline commenting on my shared items. If I were able to attach a brief comment to each of the items that I share, then further meaningful conversation could easily take place - and in a very non-intrusive way. Simple for Google to implement, here's to the hope that they do.
For those interested in a quick-start guide to this using this feature, I highly recommend John Pederson's well-crafted Google Reader - Because Sharing Is Caring. John's guide will teach you not only how to get up and running, but how to avoid looking like a N00b.

Quick note: If you share with me - I'd love to share with you. Please see the comments for my Google Talk information.

2. Google Talk now includes 23 different language translation 'bots'.

Each of the bots is named using two-letter language abbreviations as "[from language]2[to language]". The supported language pairs are: ar2en, de2en, de2fr, el2en, en2ar, en2de, en2el, en2es, en2fr, en2it, en2ja, en2ko, en2nl, en2ru, en2zh, es2en, fr2de, fr2en, it2en, ja2en, ko2en, nl2en, ru2en, zh2en. So, for French to German translation, talk to While this addition really only serves as an easy-to-access translation dictionary, the potential for future uses is amazing.

What I Want For Christmas That Would Drastically Improve The Experience:
  • I can see it now: Google takes these "translation bots" one step further. You type your message in English and your Chinese-speaking friend reads it in Chinese. Again, this seems like a relatively small step for Google to take that would literally transform the way our world chats. Very exciting!
In conclusion, I'm very pleased with (and thankful for) the new collaborative features that Google has added to the tools that have already revolutionized the way we do things. How about you?
  • What do you like about what Google has done and what does your Google Holiday wish-list look like?
Quick update: Google has granted my second Christmas wish. Albeit much more cluttered than I had hoped for, you actually can type your chat in English and have your Chinese-speaking friend read it in Chinese - all using the Group Chat feature. Here's how I learned about it:

Image Source - John Pederson

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