Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Hoping to clue more people in on its all-knowing all-seeing wizardry, Google is offering a free online course on how to take advantage of its many search features. Registration opened today, and the first class begins September 24. According to the New York Times Bits blog, "There are three classes a week for two weeks, each a 50-minute video plus quizzes. Students can watch the videos anytime, but if they watch them at class time, they can participate in forums with other students and teaching assistants." Registered participants will get a certificate of completion upon finishing.

What's the Big Idea?

The first time Google offered this course, in July, thousands of people signed up and improved their search skills by an average of 40 percent, according to before-and-after assessments. Those students represented a range of ages, Internet experience, and locations. Dan Russell, whose Google job title really is "lead for search quality and user happiness," says that most people only use what's necessary to get the job done, but "[t]here's all kinds of stuff there, [and] man, when I show it to you, you got power."

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