Oct 5, 2006

[Google] Promoting Cooperation

Google has been really busy as of late, in case you haven't noticed. Today we've seen a number of announcements in terms of new services and revisiting some older ones.

Today Google announced the establishment of what they're calling The Literacy Project, a free collection of tools and information from around the world about promoting literacy. It's like taking an open source approach to teaching people how to read. Given the resources on the site like user-submitted videos and blogs, Google hopes to help people around the world learn from one another in order to aggressively reduce the number of illiterate people in the world.

Google also added the ever-popular set of advanced features to its Accessible Search tool, giving all those handicapped users out there the ability to further refine their searches just like everyone else.

What really got me excited today was the announcement of the launch of a new beta version of Google Groups, one of Google's older services that has been in dire need of a major overhaul.

Google Groups betaThe new Groups has finally added file sharing support along with the option to create webpages within the group. What has also been long overdue is the conversion to the conversation style of message presentation such as is used in GMail, which makes for easier reading. They appear to have adopted the cartoony style of Blogger in terms of its icon set, which I'm not sure if everyone is going to love right away.

I'm still trying the service out to see if it's worth it and as always Google has provided the option to test the new format using your existing Google Groups along with the option to return to the old system if needed.

All in all, today has been a day for a lot of collaborative efforts from Google. I wonder what has them so productive as of late? Is this a fourth quarter sort of thing?

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