Google Chrome: The Power of the Omnibox

What’s an Omnibox? I have always referred to the bar at the top of a browser where you type in a URL as the “address bar” But I was informed that in Google Chrome, that bar is so much more. It’s the Omnibox. It can:

  • Search the web and visit addresses
  • Search for apps, bookmarks and browsing history
  • Create bookmarks
  • See security, pop-up and extension alerts
This week was the first two of six Chromebook events I am helping to lead with Lucy Gray, Joe Donahue and the Google Apps Team. We presented in Boulder on Monday, Chicago on Wednesday and next week, we’ll be heading to Austin and New York.
My topics were actually Gmail and Calendar, but we were also responsible for demonstrating some of the amazing things you can do with the Chromebooks or even just Chrome. Over the last month or so, I have been exploring the Apps and Extensions in the Chrome Web Store.
Here are my favorite Apps and Extensions:
  • Scratchpad – A simple note-taking app. Take notes offline and optionally syncs to the cloud when you’re online.
  • URL Shortener – Shorten url with, the Google URL shortener, and share with many different service!
  • Screen Capture – Capture visible content of a tab, a region of a web page, or the whole page as a PNG image. Support horizontal and vertical scroll when capturing whole page, with an all new autosave capability.
  • App Jumper App Launcher – Quickly launch Apps from browser toolbar. Organize Apps and Extensions into Groups. Manage Apps and Extensions with ease.
  • SdTimer – Great in-browser timer which can count down from any time. Shows time on tab title and buzzes once done.
  • Chrome 2 Phone – Google Chrome to Phone Extension enables you to send links and other information from Chrome to your Android device.
If you haven’t already, take 15 minutes and explore the Chrome Web Store.  I can honestly say now that Chrome is my browser of choice.
Do you have any Apps or Extensions that you like and think I should share with the educators at the Chromebook Events?

Flat Stanley: The 21st Century Version

I thought I had helped bring Flat Stanley into the 21st Century when I helped my daughter’s class take digital pictures of their Stanleys and plot them on a Google Map.

But this company, The Flat Stanley Project,  has taken this portable cardboard figure geography project to a whole new level.

From the company: Flat Stanley is a beloved children’s/education franchise that is about to have a new life online. Walden Media (Chronicles of Narnia) just announced a movie deal for it, in fact. Flat Stanley is having a renaissance. It’s already in official use at 4,500+ schools across 88 countries, and is part of the formal curriculum for geography in most districts.

So, as with so many other projects and subjects we work with , there’s an app for it. You can find it live in the App store:

How the App works (from the company):

Children can quickly sign up and bring Stanley with them wherever they go. In minutes, they can customize their own Stanley (skin and hair color, facial expressions and clothing), take photographs and insert Stanley into them with either front or rear-facing camera, write their character’s biography and “like,” comment on and share photos with their friends across the Flatter World network of friends and family.

The app also plots Stanleys near a particular user on a world map and sends updates on where their friends and families’ Stanleys travel. It’s a quick and easy way for kids to see the world and make new friends outside of their hometown with a familiar and friendly character leading the way. To encourage exploring Stanleys outside of one’s network, the app unlocks special pictures from exciting locations.

In many ways, Flat Stanley was the original social network – it just existed offline, in homes and schools, transported by stamp and envelope, instead of electronically. Our goal is to preserve the same values, and the same goals that we’ve always had, while extending our reach, and enriching the experience overall.
The new app gives parents and their children the opportunity to insert a Stanley from their collection into any photo, chronicling the experience, sharing it with others, and continuing a conversation ongoing around that location, or activity – all the while telling stories and beginning new adventures.