2007/05/31

Practical Uses for Google Technology

Google has been extreeeemely beneficial in my life over the past seven or eight years -- but it was particularly useful over the past two weeks.

My dad is 86 years old, is on dialysis, has a pacemaker, was recently in the hospital for relatively serious surgery and is now in a sub-acute care facility. Two of my sisters, my brother and I have been working together to help my dad through the maze of health care professionals with whom he is dealing these days, especially in light of his most recent surgery.

One Google tool that has been Most Beneficial for coordinating of health care issues and for communicating betwixt us siblings is Google Docs. I helped one of my sisters set up a Gmail account, then helped her set up a Gdoc for listing all my dad's health care professionals and their phone numbers, the phone numbers for all my dad's relatives and friends whom we might need to call at some point, a list of to-do items concerning my dad, a chronology of what happens each day and what health care issues arose and how they were handled, etc.

The collaborative on-line Gdoc has been an effective way to communicate how my dad is doing, an easily accessible information resource, and a greatly appreciated way to look back a month later and know what happened.

My siblings are not tech enthusiasts or dyed-in-the-wool Google fans, so I haven't overwhelmed them yet with the other great Google tools. All in good time...

They, of course, use Google as an all-purpose web search tool, but I'm not sure they realize the vertical search capabilities of SkyNet, such as Image search, Local Search, Gmaps, etc. After they use Gmail for a while, I'll make sure they're aware they can easily use Gchat when they check their email. For occasions where collaborative spreadsheets might be useful, they'll be hearing about Gspreadsheets, and if they ask about whether my schedule is open on a certain day, I'll let them know that if they set up a Gcalendar, we can share calendars, and they can then see what days I have open.

One convert at a time is how it works best.

It's not even really a matter of converting. It's more a matter of letting them know the various Google technologies are out there, why they are useful and how they work. From that point on, it's up to their interest in the benefits of any given Google tool as to whether they'll continue using it. Quite likely, however, they'll not only use many of the tools, they'll spread the happiness and expose others to it also!

My dad says "Thanks", Google, and so do I.

*****

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