Goofing Around with Google Elements

Google Elements has been out for just over a month. And though I still mourn the loss of the old Google API, I’m kind of encouraged by offerings like this. You might not program, you might not be interested in SOAP and REST and all that, but you just want to get some Google (in the form of various properties) on your site. That’s what Google Elements is all about.

Google Web Elements is available at And if you’ve ever used Google’s home page, where you can add your own little widgets, this’ll look sort of the same. Pick one of eight elements, from YouTube to Google Documents to custom search, and you’ll get a form to fill out (to customize some elements) and then code from Google to paste into your site.

If you’ve done work with other Google properties before, I know exactly what you’re going to say when you see some of these offerings: “I can already do this!” And that’s right; you can get embeddable code from Google Calendar and YouTube and places like that, but the Elements are designed to make it easier. And after spending an hour Friday trying to show someone how to embed a Google Calendar on their Web site, I can really appreciate “easier.”

In fact, the YouTube element is beyond easier; it’s canned. just pick a news source from the list and Google will give you a Web element that shows the latest videos from that source. Here’s C-SPAN:

The ease of use is inarguable, but you might be disappointed that there are only eight items here. Google does note in its FAQ that it does plan to add more elements over time. I’d like to see one for Google Finance, and possibly one for Google Images if you can use all the cool new search options.

Categories: News