Google reading levels and more


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Cayusa

Google does have traction, and can be used for many useful things, especially when people are not familiar with many other options. So it’s good to keep up-to-date with new features added to Google.

Google Docs has added pagination to their product. Useful?  YES!  I can’t tell you the number of times I have used google docs to work on something over a period of time, because I know I might be accessing the document from different computers in different places. I don’t always want to use dropbox, especially while brainstorming, and collaborating on a document. The downside was always the pagination stuff.

Pagination, or the visual display of actual page breaks – demonstrating how words will actually look on a page, how changes in margin/spacing will change page flow, etc. – has been a standard for offline word processing since the 90s. Having it available in Google Docs is both important in matching the standard and in adding a number of other vital features. This includes putting headers/footers on each page, putting footnotes on the bottom of corresponding pages, and in-browser printing (in now, a feature restricted to Chrome). However, pagination may also lead to other in-demand features such as page numbering. Users who prefer the unpaginated approach can switch to the classic format by going to View > Document View > Compact. If you’re eager to use paginated documents and haven’t seen the update yet, be patient: the feature will be come your way soon.

There are also some new sidebar options in reading leve and dictionary. Back in December, when Google first introduced its reading level limit on the advanced search page, it appeared there but not in the “search tools” section of the sidebar. So after complaints about the reading level limit not being in the sidebar at last month’s Computers in Libraries conference, it’s great to see the addition of the reading level limits to the sidebar today. It seems to be rolled out to all the browsers I’m using today. At least a few more teachers might  notice it when it is in the sidebar, even though searchers still need to click on the “More search tools” link to see them.

Along with the new Reading Level search tool, Google has also added a “Dictionary” search tool. Google has had a long history of connecting search words to dictionary definitions. Searchers used to be able to click on their search terms in the now-gone blue bar at the top. The words (or the definition link) went to dictionary.com and then in 2005 to Answers.com. By the end of 2009, Google was using its own definitions, including automatically generated ones from the web. Now, the new dictionary search tool may retrieve information in these various sections:

The Web definitions seem to match the results searchers can get from using the define: operator (compare define:library with the new results).  It’s much more visually accessible.

The older Google Dictionary which used to be available at http://www.google.com/dictionary seems to be gone.

via SearchEngine Journal; SearchEngine Showdown

One thought on “Google reading levels and more

  1. Pingback: EdTech Blogs We Love: Dangerously Irrelevant, 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning, Hey Jude | B-School Admissions Formula

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s