Google Tools

Accelerated Mobile Pages

☀☀☀☀☀ Accelerated Mobile Pages is Google’s open source project designed to improve the loading speed of mobile web pages. It allows an array of developers to rework and streamline web pages using AMP HTML, which functions like basic hypertext markup language, with a fast lane. “Guard rails” within the code ensure the fastest operating speed possible. Not only has Google devised a tool to expedite mobile processing speed, but it has provided easy-to-follow tutorials to teach even the most basic of users how to join in on the project. Journalists and news organizations benefit from faster-loading pages. —Kyle Dowd

Project Shield

☀☀☀☀ Project Shield, a tool promoted by Google News Lab,  helps protect websites from  cyber attacks known as Distributed Denials of Service. These attacks crash websites by overwhelming servers with “junk traffic.”  Google will protect your site if you apply online and are verified. Your future traffic is routed through the Project Shield blockers. Journalists can benefit: only news, human rights and election sites can apply. So far only a few news sites are enrolled, with a focus on small independent sites. A YouTube video (oddly not embedded on the News Lab site) explains the project.  — Hailey Koebrick

Two Step Verification

☀☀☀☀ In need of more cyber security? Two Step Verification has your back. This free utility protects your Google account’s content. All you need is one additional sign-in step: a 6-digit code. Simply turn on the verification setting within your Google account and you’re ready to protect info from hackers. The tool also works on the iPad. A new code is immediately provided for you when signing-in via text or app. Though at times tedious, the extra step matters. With this tool, a journalist’s sources and pitches are almost certain to stay out of the wrong hands. Highly recommended to pair with encryption for maximum protection.  — Emily Taylor

Verification: Emerging Technology

☀☀☀☀ For journalists trying to verify information, social media can be a blessing. Or not, if it’s false. Google helps verify social media posts. For example, when given a video/photo source, you can verify where the video was actually shot or where a photo was taken. The verification tutorial only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, and provides you with tools either through Google or through trusted partners. Once finished, journalists can also learn other tools in the Google verification course. — Chris McCrory

Google Allo

☀☀☀☀ Google Allo is more than just a messaging app. It’s a clever conversation.  Allo is a free-to-use intelligent chat app.  Express yourself creatively: Choose from doodles, stickers, emojis and type styles and sizes. Allo comes with a virtual assistant built in that you can converse with naturally. During a chat with a colleague, you can bring up the assistant to Google something without leaving the conversation. Using it over time, Allo will learn your behavior and personality, and suggest replies for you. The app also available is an incognito chat that offers useful end-to-end encryption. — Bryan Young

Google Street View

☀☀☀☀ Google Street View takes you to nearly any scene in brilliant 360-degree imaging. Users upload their photos from around the world. The app has a search bar where specific locations can be searched and found. Journalists may find this helpful in researching locations for stories and viewing the geography of an area. While most images are clear and crisp, some are blurry, and the 360-degree views sometimes don’t function seamlessly. Users must also have a camera able to take these photos. Overall, the app is more friendly to those who want to view content rather than produce it. — Kyle Dowd

Google Charts

☀☀☀☀  Google Charts is a simple way to add visual data to your multimedia journalism site, or any site really. This Google tool gives you a format and then allows you to customize all of your own data. Area charts, bar charts, annotation charts and bubble charts are just a few but there are so many options that are provided and could fit any format. —Alexis Berdine

Google Consumer Surveys

☀☀☀ Google Surveys helps businesses reach their customers. Surveys features customizable survey questions that can filter by gender, age and geographic location. In a pay-as-you-go system, Surveys starts at roughly 10-30 cents per completed response. Making questions on Surveys is easy once started but navigating the online overview is confusing. I was unable to find a way to publish results, which journalists doing opinion polls would want. Google Surveys is not available as an app but the tool is mobile friendly. — Olivia Davila

☀☀☀☀☀ Google News Lab brings you Google Surveys — a tool to create surveys from valid samples. Google identifies the survey group based on search history, social media demographics and screening questions. You decide what (brief) questions to ask the group. The results come in about a week. They’re displayed as graphs, charts and tables in an interactive interface. The findings can be shared on social media or exported as raw data. This helpful tool is a quick do-it-yourself survey machine for journalists. In one measure of 2012 presidential polling, Nate Silver rated these surveys second out of dozens of contenders. The only downside: its cost. The bill is 10 cents to $3.50 for each person who answers. But if the estimated bill is too much, you can just hit cancel. — Kate Peifer

Google My Maps

☀☀☀☀☀ For a digital journalist, mapping tools are essential. Google My Maps is one of the best tools for this type of work — simple to learn, powerful and free. Using Google means almost any location is already located in the app. The only downside to the app is the learning curve, which, for anything more complex than a simple map with pins, takes time to overcome. Google, however, provides tutorials for this. For whenever a journalist needs to show a location or multiple points in an area, this is the quickest and easiest option.  — Chris McCrory

☀☀☀☀ Google My Maps helps first-time mapmakers create basic maps from a simple spreadsheet to share or embed on a web site. It took me 30 minutes to create a map, not 10 as the Google News Lab lesson said. The two-minute video was confusing. The directions didn’t match the interface exactly. The video lesson says no programming is required, but that’s also not quite right, since you have to paste and tweak a few lines of source code. Still, it’s worth a try: good journalistic uses are easy to see. Without a simple “locator map,” many readers could not locate Kyrgyzstan, Vanuatu or other lesser-known countries. News happens there, too. — Eric Newton

Google Scholar

☀☀☀☀☀ Google Scholar does fast searches of scholarly literature. Key words immediately direct the user to journal articles written by experts. Users can also search by author profiles and citations. Searches can be customized by type of literature (article or case law), date, and location, and further refined. Detailed search tutorials can be found through the easy-to-follow Google News Lab lesson, which provides useful information on every aspect of Scholar. Great for journalists looking for fast access to accurate, detailed information from academic experts. — Victoria Grijalva

Photo by Benjamín Núñez González