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Don’t Ask Me, Ask Google Talk Guru

There are few things more annoying than being asked a question that the other person could easily Google the answer for themselves. What am I, your research department?

That’s why the site Let Me Google That For You exists. But sending a LMGTFY link is kind of dick, though it can be hilarious if deployed successfully. (Here’s a good example.)

My approach to this problem calls for a lighter touch.

I’m going to tell everyone I know about Google Talk Guru.

I learned about this intriguing service from the Google Operating System blog. The Guru works in any chat client that supports Google Talk. Most of you are probably familiar with the Gchat software within Gmail, so I will be using that as an example.

To gain access to the Guru, simply invite guru@googlelabs.com to chat:

Soon enough, you should see the Guru online in your chat contacts:

Even if the Guru appears to be offline, he will probably still respond to your queries.

Now that you’re connected to the Guru, there are a variety of services he will provide for you. Most are basic information searches, but he can also perform some calculations.

One quick way to get a rundown on the available services is to type “help” into the chat box:

This list is not exhaustive, however. Click here for more options, or read on…

WEB SEARCH

Google yourself from the comfort of your Gmail tab! This is one of the better options available from the Guru.

If you’re talking with someone and a query arises that only the world’s best search engine can answer, pop open a Guru chat and type “web [search string]”. The Guru will return the highest-ranking result.

There’s also a link that will take you to the full results readout.

WEATHER

This one is pretty straightforward — type in weather and the name of a city and you’ll get the current situation and the forecast for the next couple of days. Great for cubicle-bound office dwellers who haven’t seen the outdoors all day.

The one major drawback for American users is the lack of a Fahrenheit option. Come on, Google! Even Star Wars Weather will give us a Fahrenheit temp!

TRANSLATION

Got a phrase you need translated into another tongue? Someone cussed at you in Spanish and you want to know what they just said? The Guru is happy to provide translation services!

As far as I can tell, the supported languages are restricted to English, Spanish, French and German. Hopefully, this will be expanded so we can tell tales of Putin’s majesty and curse each other out in some Asian and African languages.

DEFINITIONS

Someone just threw a vocab word right by you while you were chatting. Too ashamed to ask what that word means, and too lazy to look it up in the dictionary?

Mo natter. Guru has got you covered. Just ask it to define any word and it’ll spit the meaning right back at you.

CALCULATIONS

Guru does basic calculations for you. Just type in whatever numbers you want added, subtracted, multiplied, divided, or squared and it gives you the result.

He also knows some physical constants, such as pi (seen above), Planck’s constant (h), the speed of light (c), and the elementary charge (e). Mess around and see what other constants you can get him to report.

SPORTS SCORES

Is The Man blocking ESPN, depriving you of your sports fix? Well, the Guru can’t stream the game for you, but he can tell you the score.

Now, it would be nice to know how many minutes/innings are left in the game. Or to be able to pull up standings or other stats. But as a starting point, I will take it.

Google Guru isn’t revolutionary, but it is kinda cool and convenient.

And if it keeps even one person from asking me a question they ought to just look up themselves, I will be satisfied.

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About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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