It’s common to hear the phrase “just Google it,” in everyday conversation these days. Sometimes even just to mock people who are too lazy to do a little research of their own.
But the fact that Google has become a preferred term for the verb “search” is a testament to its status as an Internet search engine giant. It is possible that the company will eventually replace more verbs as it takes on a bigger role in everyday life.
After creating an election hub during Indonesia’s legislative election earlier this year, Google now aims to be more useful during the Islamic holy month.
It recently launched a Ramadan hub at google.co.id/ramadhan, which offers a one-stop platform with information and features to support activities during the fasting month.
Krishna Zulkarnain, marketing manager for Google Indonesia, said Google aims to facilitate family get-togethers and school reunions that usually take place at dusk as they break fast.
“Google, as a technology company, wants to give practical solutions for us to plan and organize all the activities in the fasting month effectively,” he said.
The hub contains a number of web-based and mobile-friendly features that make people’s lives easier during Ramadan. Some of these features have existed before, but the hub creates a seamless experience. For example, the web page displays the current date and time, and the remaining days in the month and hours until the breaking of the fast.
The four main tabs of the Google Ramadan hub offer you a place to plan, eat, get together and enjoy the holy month.
Plan the holiday
With Google Calendar, the company makes it easy to arrange meet-ups and send out reminders. All you have to do is enter the date, time and venue of events you are planning on your Google Calendar. In the “guest” column of the calendar, you can add e-mail addresses of guests that you are inviting to the event. The app allows you to set up notes to remind yourself and your guests of the upcoming event.
Drawing up a list of errands and shopping can also be done by using the app. Google Keep is another feature to save your thoughts wherever you are. Krisna called it the electronic version of Post-It notes, as you can also take photos of the things you have to do or make voice notes. The app also allows you to set up reminders, which will send notifications to your smartphone along with e-mails to help you remember errands and special events.
Mudik, or the annual exodus from the city to return home and gather with extended families, is one of the highlights of Idul Fitri. With millions of Indonesians traveling at the same time, visiting family requires careful planning and organizing. You can organize your trip by using the “Plan Your Trip Home” feature in the hub. Once you type in the city of origin and destination, it will bring up the Google Maps feature, where you can see the distance of the cities in kilometers and the estimated traveling time by plane and car.
You can also see a list of airlines traveling to your hometown. If you choose to drive, Google Maps can also list a number of routes to reach your hometown. The route options usually put the fastest on top, but it also offers alternatives just in case you want to avoid ferries and tolls along your journey.
Google Maps is also capable of finding nearby mosques or halal restaurants to break your fast. In the list of restaurants on the website, you can find their distances to your current location, opening hours and reviews, if available.
All the searches on Google Maps can also be done by voice.
Those who are passionate about preparing meals will enjoy exploring the many cooking videos that can be found on Youtube. Kokiku TV, a channel on the video sharing website, is an Indonesian online culinary program that offers dozens of innovative recipes for Ramadan.
Chef Yuda Bustara, one of the regular chefs on Kokiku TV, loves the potential for interactivity with his viewers on Youtube. He is able to read comments and speak directly to his viewers, Yuda says he often gets new ideas from his YouTube fans.
“Two-way communication can help people to cook better,” the 27-year old chef said.
You can also share your favorite YouTube recipes with your friends and family. On the top right-hand corner of YouTube, there is a branch-like button that you can use to share the current cooking show you are watching. There is also a plus sign on the top right-hand corner of video sharing website that you can use to compile a playlist of your favorite videos to watch again later.
If you cannot go home for Idul Fitri, you can always see your loved ones with Google Hangouts. The company has been working to get more people to use its social network. Hangouts allows photo and video sharing as well as voice chat and video conference, free of charge, but it also has a rare feature of letting users to set up a video conference with up to ten people at the same time.
Originally published on www.thejakartaglobe.com/