Lisa Wehr's Public Health Blog

Lisa is originally from Sigourney, Iowa. She attended Iowa State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Music in 2010. She is currently a first year Master’s of Public Health (MPH) student in community and behavioral health (CBH). Lisa works on the medicine-psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Through this blog Lisa hopes to let people learn about the CBH department.

This student blog is unedited and does not necessarily reflect the views of the College of Public Health or the University of Iowa.

21 February 2011


It's so easy to bash big companies like google and claim they're ruining our privacy, and maybe they are. But I'll be completely honest: I love Google. And this is not an exaggeration. Sometimes it's a little disconcerting, but it's so darn convenient. One username, one password.
A quick breakdown of the Google services I use:
  • Google (the search engine): the most obvious service, but so useful. It creeps me out when it remembers my past searches and become ever more talented at predicting my next search, but it's still amazing. 
  • Google Scholar: great for research. And the best part is I can access essentially all the full-text results for free because of my affiliation with the university. 
  • Google Chrome: It's fast and a beautifully minimal browser. When I open a new tab it pops up icons of my most frequented web pages that I can simply click on. It also syncs my chrome browsers, setting, and bookmarks across my computers (desktop and laptop) so they're both exactly how I want them without much work. My biggest problem is that I like to keep a lot of tabs open (at least 10 at a time) and chrome slows down when I get to about 12 or more. It does remind me to keep my tab appetite in check though. And I am still puzzling about why Google Bookmarks doesn't automatically sync with the bookmarks in chrome, hence the reason I don't use google would be a lot of work. 
  • Gmail: Amazing simple and brilliant.
  • Google Translate: ok, rarely do I actually need to translate webpages, but it's still a lot of fun to play with. (and I waste way more time than I should on it)
  • Google Trends: Another amazing time sink. Although I have found a couple legitimate uses when researching blog posts and being able to see the rise in searches about obesity, for example.
  • Google Reader: An outstanding RSS reader. It consolidates all my blogs, lets me star and tag them, email them and more. (You could even add this blog's RSS feed! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*)
  • Google Calendar: Another simple, elegant service. I can have multiple color-coded calendars (e.g. work, school, personal). I can set up email, text, or pop-up alerts for 5 minutes before to weeks ahead of time (great for reminding myself to start work on a paper). 
  • Google Voice: I don't know about anyone else, but I hate listening to voicemails. Google voice lets me avoid that. When I don't answer my phone it forwards to my google voice account which then transcribes the voicemail and sends it to my email. The transcribing is a little buggy, but it's usually decipherable, and it's improving, and the actual audio is still available to listen to. 
  • Blogger: Ok, so this is one google service I don't particularly like. I use it for this blog out of necessity, but my personal blog is on Wordpress (a far superior platform). And it really irritates me that every time I put pictures in my posts blogger refuses to format them correctly. I have to view and preview the pages multiple times and make a hundred tiny edits to just make things line up correctly. 
  • Google Maps: this always gives me better directions than mapquest, it might be because I grew up in a rural area and mapquest is terrible in rural areas. I also love that it now provides walking and biking directions with consideration to bike lanes and wide sidewalks (public health, eh? eh?)
  • And then there's Google Earth, YouTube, Google Body, Google Books, Google Docs, Picasa (I find the face recognition in Picasa to be endlessly fascinating). 
But the one that trumps them all is Android. I can't live without my android phone (and the little green guy is kinda cute). Everything is interconnected: I can post articles from the NYTimes app directly to my facebook, I can open up twitter links in my browser and save them to my ReadItLater account. And since I use such a large number of Google services, they are automatically set to work with my phone...brilliant!

Seeing all these written out makes me realize just how much I depend on Google. It would be a very rough day for me if Google disappeared. Maybe I'll consider changing some...on second thought, that would be an awful lot of work. I'll continue as a diehard Google groupie for a while longer. 

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