Just in time for holiday gift-giving I suppose, Google has created a clever, tongue-in-cheek yet quite useful site for people who would like to play tech-support for their parents just a little less this year.
TeachParentsTech.org is a multiple-choice order form that lets you kindly – or cheekily – provide your parents (or anyone who you think has displayed an unacceptably low understanding of basic tech principles) with a laundry list of short tutorial videos as a virtual “care package.” The videos cover categories such as “The Basics” and “Media” with specific instructions for activities like: “How to attach a file to an email” and “Copy & Paste”. More sophisticated options include such gems as “Make calls from your computer” or “Set up an email auto-responder.”
Now, as you would imagine, Google uses the opportunity to promote their products and services but not to the point of being obnoxious and sometimes not at all: in the “Upgrade your browser” video for instance, Google chooses to use Firefox as their example instead of their own Chrome browser. The videos are short and simple – in most cases just an average guy or gal in their twenties demonstrating the tip without any kind of marketing polish so it’s easy to forget that Google is involved at all and you can just choose to focus on the content.
That’s really the best part of these videos. Their plain-language content and minimalist style is approachable and won’t intimidate even the most skittish computer user.
Of course, this all assumes that your care package recipient knows how to open an email :-)
Even that task is simplified thanks to format of the email that is generated by the site: It’s stripped of any fancy HTML, presenting only some bare-bones text and an image and hyperlink for each video you’ve selected. No matter which email platform your parent is using, these emails will be easily opened and read.
Finally, when your recipient is directed back to the TeachParentsTech website to watch their videos, they are given an option to reply to the person who so generously chose to send along these little tech tidbits. In a nod to turnaround being fair play, their options run the same gamut of kind or snarky so you can look forward to some amusing thank-yous.