Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hipster Google 2 - Even More Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of

A couple years ago I shared my original "Hipster Google" post, where I listed a collection of lesser known Google tools. The idea was to have some fun with the "hipster" theme, where something is cool because very few people know about it. Like a band that hasn't become popular yet, or a restaurant that is hidden away, or a style that is not mainstream.

At that time I put together a collection of Hipster Google tools that weren't as popular as the "big ones" such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, and such. Even though these Google tools may have flown under the radar, they were still valuable for use in the classroom.

Well since then, so many new unique Google tools have come out! I have done my best to grab these new tools as they came out and add them to my ever-growing list in Google Docs. However, I did not update my original blog post to share these new tools in detail. So I figured it was time for a new entry to share all of the awesome new Hipster Google resources!

You can see the original list of Hipster Google tools in my blog post from a couple years back: "Hipster Google - Google Tools You Probably Never Heard Of".

And below you can see a new collection of lesser know, but awesome, tools. As always, chances are you will have heard of some of these, but hopefully there will be a few new ones on the list for you to explore. If we all try hard enough we can get schools using these all around the world, and they won't be Hipster anymore. But for now they are, so put on your slouchy beanie and thick-framed glasses and have fun!

  • "Hipster Google" - Google Docs link - Full list of all Hipster Google tools
  • "Hipster Google" - Google Slides link - Presentation with full list of tools
  • "Hipster Google Part 1" - Blog post link - Original post with first collection of tool

Podcast Version: (Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast tool.)

Video Version: (subscribe on YouTube)

1) Data GIF Maker
Website -

We want students to work with real-world data. After they have collected data, analyzed the data, and drawn conclusions, we want them to be able to share their data in a manner that is engaging and conveys the information clearly.

One tool that can help with that is Data GIF Maker. This simple website lets students pick between three type of graphs (Rectangles, Circles, and Racetrack), and then add multiple data entries. As a result, a cool animated GIF is created showing the data, which the students can link to or download and embed in their Slides, Docs, or other project.

This can be a great way to let students explore interesting data visualizations, and improve how they share that data with others.

2) LIFE Tags
Website -

Using artificial intelligence, Google identified and organized over 4 million images from LIFE magazine. This allowed labels to be added to each image so they can be browsed by category or searched with key words. This massive collection gives students easy access to historical images from 1936 through 2000, which they can view, learn more about, and incorporate into their projects.

3) Talk to Books
Website -

When you have a question, sometimes coming up with the right search terms can be a challenge in itself. With "Talk to Books" Google is using artificial intelligence to let you ask natural language questions and then find you a response that would come next if you were having a conversation by pulling from sentences in over 100,000 books. You can then click on the response you like to jump right into that spot in the book to read more.

This can be a valuable way for students to find books that address a concept they are exploring, as well as to find answers to questions they have.

4) Tour Creator
Website -

In the original Hipster Google post, I shared about Google Tour Builder, which lets students tell stories through annotated locations on a map. Since then we now have Google Tour Creator, which expands on this idea by letting students tell stories through 360 photos from around the world

Students can add 360 images from Google Street View, or their own 360 degree camera, or with the Cardboard Camera app for their phone. For each location, you can also add descriptions, points of interest, image overlays, audio narration, and more. The final product can be viewed with VR goggles, on a phone, or on a regular computer.

Tour Creator gives students an easy to use, but powerful, tool to tell a story, explore a historical event, or explain a concept. To learn more about this tool, see my detailed blog post "360 Degree Learning with Google Tour Creator".

5) Story Speaker
Google Docs Add-on link

There are many ways for students to create "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories including Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms, and more. One really creative option is to use a Google Docs add-on called "Story Speaker".

Story Speaker gives you a template in Google Docs so you can fill in your own story, choices, and branching options. You can keep it simple, or use the advanced syntax for more fun. The final story can be played inside of the Google Doc, on a Google Home, or with the Google Assistant app. When played, the story will be read aloud, and the user can speak their responses to make choices.

This can be an awesome tool for students to practice creative writing, plan out a branching story or review quiz, and learn a bit about syntax which can be a nice lead into coding.

6) Semantris
Website -

Sematris is a fun word game that is a vocabulary version of tetris. In this version instead of shapes you have words that fall from the top. You then need to eliminate words by typing in a word or phrase that best identifies that particular word, without using the actual word in your clue. Google's AI then tries to guess which word you meant and removes that block, along with any same colored blocks touching it. As the game goes on the falling words become more similar.

This is a fun game to help students expand their vocabulary, while working on selecting precise words and phrases to best define a word.

(For what it is worth, my current high score is 11,950. I apologize in advance for any game addiction this causes!)

7) OK Go Sandbox
Website -

"OK Go" is a rock band that makes endlessly creative videos for their songs including one with a Rube Goldberg machine, one with weightlessness, and even one where they play a song with a driving car.

A while back they teamed up with Google to create "OK Go Sandbox" which is a site with STEAM lessons based on their videos. The lessons come with educational videos, teacher guides, student worksheets, and more. Many of the activities also use Google's "Science Journal" mobile app to collect real-world data (which is from the earlier Hipster blog post.)

This resource is a great way to integrate technology and inquiry into math, science, and art lessons, while engaging students in creative activities.

8) Grasshopper
Website -

Learning to code can be a challenge, so thankfully there are many tools to help students develop this powerful skill. One such tool is Google's Grasshopper mobile app which help students to learn JavaScript.

The app teaches how to code much like the Duolingo app teaches a foreign language, through small bite-sized activities that build upon each other through progressively challenging levels. In the app you:

  • Solve visual puzzles to learn coding concepts
  • Get real-time feedback
  • Collect achievements as you learn new skills

The app runs on both iOS and Android, so this is a great tool that any student can use to learn the basics of coding and JavaScript, while having fun.

9) Applied Digital Skills
Website -

I have shared a lot about this program in the past on this blog and in my trainings, but it is still a resource that many people have not heard of. If it is still new to you, here is the scoop:

Applied Digital Skills is a free digital literacy curriculum, with over 150 hours of content, for upper elementary, middle school and high school students, as well as adult learners. The practical lessons focus on accomplishing a task and solving problems that relate to everyday life, like budgeting for a purchase, creating a resume, doing a college search, or planning an event.

The curriculum is all project based learning, and has short instructional videos for each lesson, so everything that is needed is ready to go. Teachers can use all of the curriculum or just pick and choose the lessons that fit into their subject area.

This is a fantastic resource for teachers who are looking for practical, technology integrated lessons that are ready for use with their students. These can also be used for adults as self-paced professional development.

10) Digital Garage
Website -

Similar to Applied Digital Skills, Google's Digital Garage is also a video-based curriculum. The main difference is that it focuses on adult learners and skills for growing professionally in your career or business.

For example, some units cover:

  • Speaking in Public
  • Digital Marketing
  • Graphic Design
  • Programming
  • Digital Wellbeing
  • And more!

This is a useful resource for educators or older students to develop career skills.

11) Tune
Chrome Web Extension link

Although the name may make this sound like a music tool, Tune is actually an experimental tool to make your online experience more pleasant. As we all know, there are a lot of different opinions online, and this diversity of thought is one of the most beneficial aspects of a global community. However, sometimes the comments shared online can become toxic, attacking, insulting, and profane.

Tune is a Chrome Extension that allows you to control the level of toxicity in the comments you view online for such sites as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more. You simply turn the dial in the settings to adjust which comments you see, all the way from full comments to no comments in "Zen mode", and everything in between. Using AI, the extension hides comments that are more toxic than the level you set, but always with an option to click on the comment to see it if desired.

This tool could be an interesting option to allow students to benefit from social websites, while filtering out some of the harmful and hateful content. Although not a total solution by itself, Tune may be a useful tool in a broad collection of resources for digital citizenship and wellbeing.

12) Chrome Canvas
Website -

There are a lot of online tools for drawing, diagramming, and annotating. However, sometimes you just need something simple and quick. Chrome Canvas is a great match for that need.

With this tool you can:
  • Start with a blank canvas or you can upload an image to draw on top of.
  • Draw with a pencil, pen, marker, or chalk, in a variety of colors, or erase what you have drawn.
  • Export your final product as a downloadable image.
Anything you make in Chrome Canvas is automatically saved to your Drive. This can be a quick and easy tool for you or your students to make a diagram, annotate on top of an image, write out a problem, draw a picture, or more.

13) Art Palette
Overview -
Launch Tool -

Color is one of the fundamental aspects of art, used to communicate mood, style, and ideas. So Google decided to create a search engine based on colorArt Palette allows you to search through thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and more, based on colors you choose. Students can then use the results to explore similarities and connections between the color-matching art. Here's how it works:
  • Go to the Art Palette site at:
  • Use the color bar at the top to select the colors you want to include in your palette.
  • Google will now display a grid of artwork that use the colors you have chosen.
  • Alternately you can click the "From an image" button to upload a picture or use your webcam to take a picture for the site to match against.

14) Just a Line
Website -
Android mobile app
iOS mobile app

Although 3D art has always existed through sculpture and modeling, when we think of drawing, we normally think of 2D. Well what if we could draw in 3D? That's why Google created the "Just a Line" mobile app. This augmented reality app allows you to move around and draw in your physical environment. Here's how it works:
  • Install the app: Android or iOS
  • Launch the app and point your camera at your surroundings.
  • Use your finger to draw in the air a few feet in front of you.
  • Walk around to draw in different locations.
  • As you move around you can see your 3D drawing superimposed in your physical space.
  • You can click the "Draw with a partner" button to let someone join you to draw together in the same space.
  • You can click the "Record" button to make a video of your 3D art to share with others.

15) Curator Table
Overview -
Launch Tool -

Curator Table is one of Google's "experiments" which creates a massive virtual 3D gallery of artwork you can explore. You can use your mouse to simply browse, or you can use the search feature to pull out art for a specific artiststyles, or object. When you find the art you want, clicking on it will open a page with more details on that work.

16) Chrome Music Lab

Chrome Music Lab is a collection of 13 interactive "experiments" that let users create, play, and learn with a wide range of music concepts.  Experiments include Song Maker, Rhythm, Spectrogram, Chords, Sound Waves, Arpeggios, Kandinsky, Melody Maker, Voice Spinner, Harmonics, Piano Roll, Oscillators, and Strings. These activities are also cross-platform, working on laptops, tablets, and phones.

I recently did a blog post where I went into details on each of the 13 tools in Chrome Music Lab. You can get all of those details here: "Learning Music, Art, Science, Math and more with Chrome Music Lab"

17) Groove Pizza

Groove Pizza is a fun tool to create beats. You start with a "pizza" and then add beats to three different rings, which can then be played back. Here's how it works:
  • Launch the tool at the website:
  • You can begin with premade "Specials" to see what can be created and then modify those as desired.
  • Or you can start with a "Plain" pizza where you make your rhythm from scratch.
  • You can add beats to three different tracks.
  • You can make up to four groove pizzas at a time that will play one after the other.
  • You can change instruments including "Rock", "Techno", "Afro-Latin", "Hip-Hop", and "Jazz".
  • You can adjust the "Volume", "BPM" (beats per minute), the "Swing" (to slightly offset some of the beats), and the "Slices" (number of beats).
  • When done you can even download your creation as a .WAV file.

Another neat feature of Groove Pizza is its math application:
  • If you click on the "Angle" button, the angle measurements for each vertex will be displayed. This can be a helpful way to teach or reinforce the concept of the sum of the interior angles of a polygon.
  • You can also click the "Polygon" button to shade in the shapes on your pizza. This can tie into the study of different polygons.
  • Finally, fractions can be visualized using the groove pizza, as well as the option to change the number of "Slices" which can be applied to comparing fractions and equivalent fractions.

18) Mix Lab

Mix Lab is a Google experiment that lets you use voice commands to create music. This can be a neat way to see how different instruments and music styles can be used together to create unique sounds. Here's how it works:
  • You can launch the tool from the website at
  • Or you can just say "Hey Google, talk to MixLab" when using Google Assistant or a Google Home.

  • Now you can simply speak to Google to add different sounds to four tracks including "Guitar", "Drums", "Bass", and "Keyboard".
  • You can say things like "Play me a funky bass" or "Add some jazz drums" or just "Play me something".
  • If you like what you create, you can share it with others by clicking "Share this mix" in the bottom right corner.

19) AI Duet

AI Duet gives you a chance to play music along with an Artificial Intelligence. Using Machine Learning, Google fed loads of music into the AI so it can respond to what you play with its own complimentary tune. To try this out:
  • Go to the site at:
  • Click "Play"
  • Start playing my clicking on the on screen musical keyboard.
  • Or use your computer keyboard with the "A" row being the white keys of the keyboard, and the "Q" row being the black keys.
  • The computer will then play a duet with you based on what you played.

20) Inside Music

Inside Music lets you step inside of music to see and hear how each piece contributes to the whole. This experiment used Web VR to put you inside of a 360 degree representation of a song, with each of the different instruments or vocals broken out separately. To experience this do the following:
  • Go to the site at:
  • Click "Enter 360".
  • Choose a song you want to hear.
  • The song will play with each track broken out.
  • You can click and drag to move around the scene, and then click on any instrument to turn it off or on.
  • This works on your web browser, but can also be experiences with a VR headset or on your phone.

This can be a useful tool to help students dissect a song to understand better how each instrument or track contributes to the whole song.

21) Seeing Music

The "Seeing Music" tool allows you to visualize sounds and music. You can choose multiple sources for the music, as well as several different methods for displaying the sounds. Here's how it works:
  • Go to the website at:
  • Choose where you want to get your sample music/sounds from including your microphone, sample provided sounds (sax, guitar, violin. etc.), a playable on-screen piano, or an uploaded audio file of your choice.
  • Choose which visualization you wish to use including Hilbert Scope, Spectogram, Waveform, Oscilloscope, and more.
  • You can also turn on the option for "Grid and Notes" which will display the actual notes as the music is playing.

22) Semi-Conductor

Semi-Conductor lets you conduct an orchestra right in your browser. Using your computer's camera, you can move your arms to change the tempo, volume, and instrumentation of the piece of music. The program then plays the score based on your movements as you conduct. Here's how it works:
  • Go to the site at:
  • Click "Start"
  • Position your body so your webcam fits you within the outline on the screen.
  • When you are in position the orchestra will start and you can conduct.
  • The speed you move your arms controls the speed the orchestra plays.
  • Moving your arms up or down makes the orchestra play louder or softer.
  • Moving your arms from side-to-side controls which sections of the orchestra are playing.


Google just keeps making more and more tools that can be useful for teaching, learning, creating, and more. Many time these tools can get missed, and become Hipster Google tools where few people know about them. Hopefully this post has helped highlight many of these tools, and you have found a few that are new to you and beneficial to your students.

As new tools come out I will continue to add them to my list, and eventually there may need to be a third post in this series. If you come across a lesser-know but useful Google tool, please let me know! You can share any ideas and resources in the comments below.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at


  1. Wow! As always, a wonderful presentation. Amazing! Love it!!! Thank you!!!

  2. Eric,
    Thank you for compiling this incredible list of sites. I sincerely appreciate your comprehensive explanation and vivid examples. I look forward to sharing this with my technology applications students.
    Anita Kruse

  3. Great stuff Eric! Here's my slides of Google's lesser know tools,
    Mr. Hipster is referenced in the last slide and now I'll add Hipster 2.

    1. Chris,

      Your presentation of Google's lesser know tools is very well done. I enjoyed looking at it and learned about new tools I could use in my classroom! Thanks!


  4. Thank you for this! I thought I was up to date until I read your post. Appreciate the curation!

  5. Your resources and information are always the best. That's why I love to see your email in my inbox! Thanks so much for sharing so many great things. :)

  6. Thank you! I look forward to getting your emails. Never disappointed in anything you share.

  7. EC - You are the man! Keep up with the great work of helping educators around the globe.

  8. Wow, awesome resources, thanks for sharing!

  9. Eric,

    Thank you so much for the great list of resources. I can't wait to pass these on to other teachers, as well as use many in my classroom. The Data GIF maker is perfect for a project I am working on right now!