The month is nearly gone and I find I have less to report that I thought.
The initial concerns about how I would do stuff without resorting to a quick dip into Google quickly went. With some suitable suggestions from friends, colleagues and my PLN (mainly via Twitter) I soon had a raft of suitable replacements (full list to be published next moth) with a few interesting quirks as well.
So, the last 14 days have been pretty much plain sailing. Nothing to worry about, happily been to numerous different meetings and conferences where it has not been a problem.
And do you know something? I feel a bit let down. I thought it would be some constant battle to make sure that I didn’t dip into the dark side … a constant feeling of “it’ll be quicker if I just make a quick search on there … no one will know!”, but it hasn’t been. No stress, no worries, no selling my soul to an alternative to get what I need.
It makes me think more and more about why Google is so dominant in our schools then? Is it that everything is in one place? Not really, as many schools don’t have it as a search engine on their site and some actually have alternatives already hooked in (eg via IE7/8).
Does it have access into documents and essential school files? Not really … only a few schools have signed up for Google Apps (but it is growing and for those who are interested you should search for Google Teacher Academy UK) so it is not that.
Is it the link to images and videos? Actually … I really do think that is the answer. having somewhere that you can quickly pick up pictures is very handy and since most schools don’t really cover copyright with students then no-one tells students or staff it is a bad idea to use google to pick up your images to use on work or websites. If all schools stopped using google for images whould that make a difference? Quite probably.
I would be interested in other opinions on this idea …
So … nothing for the last week or so. No fantastic revelations about missing tools, no desperate struggle to find new ways of doing things. In fact, if Google dropped off the face of the Earth tomorrow it would take me less than a week to move on completely.
I honestly cannot find anything that I am desperate to use Google for anymore. It is not adding any significant time to my work, in fact it is shaving some time off as I am now exercising more judgement on where I look for things to start with. Del.icio.us and Digg have started to become useful again, my favourites have been updated, and it actually fits in with an important way I work.
I do rely on my peers a lot, for their knowledge, advice and experiance. I will now ask more questions of them if I get stuck on something and it gives a heap of extra info that a Google search often will not give.
Only fortnight or so to go. It is all proving pretty easy.
Yes … I used Google today. I admit it … but there was no choice … or so I thought.
Quite a few sites will now have a search facility powered by Google. Nicely indexed, linked in with other features and in a big search box which has “google” all over it. So now I am starting to make more use of site: in my queries in Bing and Yahoo but this relies on me knowing specific sites I want to search, but it does get round the need to use a site based, google powered search engine.
A bit of a pain to be honest … so another exception to my no-Google rule I have to consider is whether I use google-powered, site-based search engines. At the moment I won’t but we shall see how it goes …
So the list so far of things I may *have* to use Google for are:
Gmail. Access will be via a mail client and this should also deal with the next point.
Google-hosted mailing lists or groups I am subscribed to. Some of these are actually usenet groups actually so Hogwasher has been dragged out again and I forgot how much I liked it as a NewsReader for UseNet. I might even dig out my old archives of uk.education.schools-it which has all those posts that have disappeared though the use of x-no-archive headers.
YouTube embedded videos. If they are on a site there is little I can do about this.
Google Docs. Finally got my last one copied into my Mesh Drive or pasted into Evernote so this should be fine now. I will move them to Office Live workspaces soon.
Google-powered site search engines. Some sites have other ones too (eg EduGeek has a forum search anyway) but I am making good use of Bing or Yahoo to do the same anyway.
Still looking for a way to change the search engine in Safari to something other than Google but getting there.
So the first of the month also sees me starting my month of not using Google as my one-stop shop to find anything and everything. Some helpful suggestions about alternatives for specific tasks will come in handy, but today has been around setting my fixed parameters.
There are some things that I cannot avoid. I have a google mail account I pick up via IMAP on my iPhone so I can get away with that, but I have some subscribed Google Alerts that I will have to turn off, as well as a number of mailing lists / groups I subscribe to. Whilst uk.education.schools-it may now just be full of spam I have to admit that UK open source is alive and well via schoolforge-UK.
And how do I classify YouTube? Google or non-Google? I am looking at it as Google right now unless I get sufficient links to it in other locations.
Google Docs still has a few docs I don’t have elsewhere, but I have moved most onto Evernote and perhaps to office live workspaces. IGoogle and the news reader will not be missed as use of Yahoo Pipes has helped form decent RSS feeds from multiple streams… And they are just subscribed to in Safari or FireFox.
I may have to add a few more things in but that seems to be all the parameters for now.