Knowledge is power. As you can see, I like RSS for news. For on-demand answers, Google’s been the best show in town for a few years. Even experienced Google users, though, don’t know some of the capabilities available there. You may stumble on these eventually, but wouldn’t you rather have your bag of tricks ready when you need it?Google’s philosophy has always been to keep its front page neat and clean. They’re the anti-Yahoo, and it shows. I’ve heard there are even people who count the number of words that appear on the front page and ding google if it gets too wordy.
For the most part, this is a good thing. Google is a search engine, and they know it. Stuff that isn’t an important part of their main product isn’t featured on the front page. The only bad part about this is that it’s easy to miss some of the other neat tools available from Google.
To get a sense for what’s there, take a look at their about page. It lists some of the most important capabilities, as well as linking to the main “new and exciting” tools. Note the desktop search link — you’ve probably heard a lot about that recently.
Don’t leave this page without checking out Google labs — this page shows the stuff that’s just about ready for prime time. The scholar search, for instance, looks pretty interesting — a capability that clearly wasn’t there before.
If you run a web site, you’ll probably also want to look at the “For Site Owners” topics to learn about getting your site to show up in Google searches.