Google’s Gift to Parents: A Guide to Computers

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) has taken on the cell phone industry, the music industry and the travel industry in recent months, and has run up against major companies like Facebook and Apple in the process. But now Google may be taking on its greatest challenge yet: Teaching parents how to use new technology.

This week, Google launched TeachParentsTech.org, a website that serves as a much needed tutorial for parents – or really anyone - who still yells at their computer to get it to do simple tasks.

The instructional videos cover basic things from how to copy and paste text and change your computer’s wallpaper, to more complex tips like how to make a blog or create a strong password, a skill that’s especially important given the recent string of hacker attacks.

Essentially, the site functions as an elaborate greeting card. Users can type in the name of the parent they want to e-mail the card to and insert a message about how “shocked,” “impressed,” “worried” or “jazzed” they are that their parents are “using your computer these days.” Then, you can select the relevant tutorial from dozens of video clips and attach this to the e-card. As long as your parents know how to play a web video they can benefit from the lessons.

The video clips are generally short and to the point, and easy to understand. In one video about how to spot spam mail, a young, casually dressed Google employee runs down a list of basic things to watch out for: messages that ask for sensitive information like your social security number, and an e-mail address that doesn’t match up with the company the sender claims to be from.

If you’ve yet to find a good gift for your parents for the holidays, give them the gift of tech support through Google, so that you won’t feel quite as guilty for ignoring their computer questions during the holidays.

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