Mike Sammartano

Exploring Google's Hidden Gems

We all know about Google Drive, and Docs, and Gmail, etc, however Google has been busy at work on dozens of other projects which are quietly lurking online, just waiting to be discovered — many of which can be useful and engaging tools for the classroom. Here are just a few of these hidden Google gems.

The Google Cultural Institute

Google Arts & Culture features content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s treasures online. One aspect of the Institute is the Arts Experiments page which uses technology to explore and examine connections and themes in art and culture. Another is Projects, which combines imagery, information, and interactivity to explore topics, locations, events, and more.

Google Trends

Google Trends is an amazingly powerful tool that allows you to visualize data from Google searches around the world. You can enter in any search terms and Trends will analyze the traffic by volume, location, related searches and more. It reveals patterns, comparisons, and correlations in the information that is whizzing around the Internet.


SmartyPins is a Google-maps based geography and trivia game. You pick from a choice of categories, and are asked trivia questions. To answer the questions, you are tasked with dropping a pin in the correct location on the map.


GeoGuesser is another map-based interactive game provided by Google. This one drops you into the street-view of some random location on Earth, and you are challenged to figure out where exactly in the world you are by clicking on a map.

Google Lit Trips

A collection of dozens of free downloadable files that, when run within Google Earth, trace the journey of main characters from famous literature. With the release of the new Chrome version of Google Earth, these journeys become even more accessible as they can be run on Chromebooks.

Google Sky, Moon, and Mars

Think Google Earth, but for the night sky, the Earth’s Moon, and Mars. You can freely explore features, zooming in and out, and getting a sense for scale and distance. All of these tools run beautifully within Chrome.

Google Night Walk

Night Walk is an interactive tour through Cours Julien, a section of Marseille, France. Similar to an audio guide in a museum, narrators Julie and Christophe lead you through the city, pointing out places of interest as you go. It’s immersive and educational, explaining the history and context behind Marseille’s landmarks.

Google NGram Viewer

Google has scanned and indexed the words in thousands and thousands of books. Display a graph showing how often certain words show up over time.

Quick, Draw

Quick, Draw! tells you what to draw. Then, Google’s artificial intelligence tries to guess what you’re drawing. It’s a neat way to introduce students to artificial intelligence OR to look at how we convert words/ideas into images.

Google Earth Engine

Google Earth Engine combines a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with planetary-scale analysis capabilities and makes it available for scientists, researchers, and developers to detect changes, map trends, and quantify differences on the Earth’s surface.