Monday, November 14, 2011

Google for Veterans: a Review of Google's New Resource for Vets and Their Families

As Veterans Day passes, Google noted it as is does with most holidays: with one of its "doodles." But, in the coming weeks and days, it'll go a little further than just a passing reference to our veterans. Google is launching Google for Veterans, a resource for veterans and their families to use to adjust to military life and then back again to the civilian sphere.

Checking out the page now, the resources listed for veterans looks to be many of Google's other projects and features, just put into a "military-life" context. Google Docs, Gmail, Google Voice, Google Finance, Youtube, are a few of the many applications listed within these contexts.

As a civilian, I use Google Docs and Gmail all the time. The unfortunate thing is that Google for Veteran's simply rehashes these features rather than offering something new especially for veterans. An example is that it tells you how you can use Google Docs to save "military papers" or use Youtube to create a video to send home to loved ones.

Now, that's not to say that these features aren't amazing. These things are all free and work extremely well with sharing documents, creating resumes, sending videos, what have you. And it is nice to have a resource out there to explicitly show veterans and military personnel how to use these features to the fullest of their abilities to make serving and coming home easier.

The one feature that I think is especially cool is the 3d virtual tour of places served. Now, it just may be me since, again, I'm a civilian, but I'd be really excited to see a virtual tour of where my loved one served. It would make me feel a little closer to them when they're so far away. This is a feature that isn't quite live yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to it when it goes up.

Overall, Google for Veterans is a very interesting site. While it doesn't seem to offer many new things to those already familiar with Google, it does make everything plain and clear about how these applications can be used in the context of the military life. I would recommend anyone serving, having served, or waiting to serve to look into Google's different features to stay in contact with their family and friends and keep track of their life even when so far from home.

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