Voices, Associate Editor, All Things Digital

Recent Posts by Voices

Send Someone You Love the Gift of Google Tech Support

Google isn’t always known for engineering the most human-centric solutions, but today it opened the door on something special (and decidedly adorkable) for the holidays.

Head on over to teachparentstech.org and you’ll find a little Web form, shrouded in faux brown paper, where you can assemble your virtual tech-support care package.

After selecting to whom it should be addressed, you can pick from about 50 very short videos to attach to the message that the form creates. The videos feature fresh-faced Googlers in brightly colored shirts using plain English and screen-capture video to explain how to do things like resize a photo, use Google chat, get driving directions or find the nearest pizza place.

And the tech subjects seem to be pretty expertly selected as well (we’ve been asked to help our parents on more than a few of these specific problems).

After selecting a salutation, the videos you want to send and an appropriate closing remark, the form spits out a page that can be forwarded to the email of the desired tech noob.

We spoke with Jason Toff, a product marketing manager at Google and the informal leader of teachparentstech. He said that the project was built on the 20 percent time Google gives some staff members to work on separate projects outside of their assignments, and that it was really born out of a need found among his youngish Googley colleagues.

“The idea of parents needing tech support around the holidays really resonated with our core group of about six people. We just sent some emails out to some internal list serves expecting to get a lukewarm response, and over 50 people responded wanting to be in videos explaining some simple tech,” Toff said during our phone call.

Toff said there weren’t any other plans to build out additional products on the teachparentstech domain right now, but he’s hoping to see how this first thing goes and learn from it.

The site went live as of about 9:30 PT this morning and by noon had sent out over 3,000 virtual care packages.

The one pro tip we got from Toff was that if you care to see all the videos available, maybe to do a power-training session, you can head to teachparentstech.org/watch where all the available videos are displayed together.

Now, if only Google would buy up santagr.am and santatracker.com, our very Google holiday would be complete.


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About Voices

Along with original content and posts from across the Dow Jones network, this section of AllThingsD includes Must-Reads From Other Websites — pieces we’ve read, discussions we’ve followed, stuff we like. Six posts from external sites are included here each weekday, but we only run the headlines. We link to the original sites for the rest. These posts are explicitly labeled, so it’s clear that the content comes from other websites, and for clarity’s sake, all outside posts run against a pink background.

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