Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Google Gifts: Shortcuts for Google (Extension for Chrome)

During the weekdays of December, we're sharing one tool per day.  We're calling it our Google Gifts series.  Some of these come directly from Google, and others are tools that enhance Google Apps or Chrome.  Today, we're sharing the gift of an extension: Shortcuts for Google.   

What is it?
As an extension for Chrome, Shortcuts for Google is kind of like a gift stocking (it holds a lot of cool stuff and you can decide what goes inside).  Once installed, it provides quick access to favorite Google services as a pop-up window from the browser toolbar.  For example, yesterday we shared the gift of Google Images.  In the example below, notice that you can make a shortcut directly to Google Image Search (you can also add a shortcut to the LIFE photo archive).

Why would I use it?  What does it do?
As a productivity tool, this addresses ISTE Standard 6b for students ("Select and use applications effectively and productively").  For students, helping them add this extension could save instructional time, help them streamline a workflow, and help them be better organized with online shortcuts.  As a teacher, this can be a huge timesaver (especially if some of the services you use often aren't listed in the Google Apps "waffle").  

Some nice features with this extension include:
  • you can customize the extension to include the Google shortcuts you want (there are over 250 Google services available in the list);
  • if you are a Google Apps user, you can add your custom domain;
  • you can change the appearance of the extension and how it displays the icons & information;
  • you can add your own shortcuts, even for non-Google sites or services (like Schoology in the example above).
Where can I learn more?
There's information about the extension in the Chrome Web Store, but you can also visit the website from the creator, Carlos Jeurissen. And while you're there, check out some of the other "gifts" you can use in Chrome.  There are some other great extensions that help with productivity.

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