With the exception of golden hoes, gold stuff is useful.
Gold pick makes it easier to mine large amount of stone
Gold swords can net you stronger enchantments, even better, you can take out the gold sword in the enchant table, your iron sword (for example) can get those stronger enchantments! #MINECRAFT,UREKT
Gold shovels do the same as the gold pick
and the armor can do the same as the gold sword
Oh, really? I wonder how much time you'll be spending making new golden tools (and getting the gold for them) as opposed to just using enchanted diamond tools.
In order to mine that many blocks with golden pickaxes I would have had to make as many as 31,471 pickaxes, requiring 94,413 gold - far more than I actually mined! Even with Unbreaking III I'd still have needed to make around 7,868, requiring just about all of the gold that I mined with none leftover for anything else. Not to mention that many of those blocks (e.g. iron ore) require better materials to mine them and imagine the costs to enchant and/or repair that many times if you wanted Unbreaking and/or Efficiency on them (XP farms are a definite must, something which I've never made since I swim in surplus XP. At one time I even used an Efficiency V, Fortune III, Unbreaking III diamond pickaxe for all mining - and easily got enough XP while caving to repair it at 37 levels for a one diamond repair, restoring 25% durability (using the pre-1.8 repair system). I only stopped using it because, well, multiply all of that coal by 2.2...).
Did you know that when you put Efficiency V on diamond tools they mine just as fast as golden tools? I tested it before and saw no difference on most blocks, and even blocks like Ender chests (one of the few blocks with a long mining time that can be mined with any pickaxe) the difference was not worth it (as I recall it was around 50 mined in one minute with gold and 47 with diamond. The Wiki is highly misleading because they do not bother properly rounding mining times to the nearest tick and don't factor in a delay between block breaks; e.g. try breaking blocks in Creative, you have to click to break them any faster than with enchanted tools in Survival, except when you reach the "instant mining" threshold, which mines 20 blocks per second no matter how much higher the speed gets, and is likely a bug).
Also, is this really worth the pathetically low durability of gold (47.3 golden tools are required to match a single diamond tool)?
Output log: (This output was calculated 10,000 times, but results may still vary)
Possible enchants for diamond pickaxe at level 30...
Efficiency IV: 40.3%
Unbreaking III: 31%
Fortune III: 8.2%
Silk Touch I: 7.3%
Efficiency III: 7.1%
Fortune II: 5.4%
You have a 32% chance of getting a 2nd enchant.
You have a 17% chance of getting a 3rd enchant.
You have a 9.5% chance of getting a 4th enchant.
You cannot get Silk Touch and Fortune on the same tool.
The only enchantment that really benefits is Fortune, and what is Fortune usually used for? Mining diamonds? Good luck doing that with gold... otherwise the differences are negligible and will not come even close to offsetting the 47.3 fold durability advantage that diamond tools have. Even if you could mine diamond ore with golden tools the long-term cost to enchant new ones will still be over 30 times higher (based on the chance of Fortune III only; diamond has a higher chance of Fortune II) and repair costs 47.3 times higher.
Even more fun - when branch-mining gold is effectively rarer than diamond if you use Fortune since as shown here it is only slightly more common at the typical layers (11-12); if you cave instead gold is 5-6 times more common but that is obviously offset by the durability difference either way:
Last but not least, placing golden items on the table, then swapping them with diamond, does not give you better enchantments - 1.8 should have soundly killed that hoax by now (since you can actually see one of the enchantments, which will always the same for a particular item until you enchant something) and there is simply no code that I can see (yes, I can see the actual code courtesy of Mod Coder Pack) that can explain such a thing; the enchantments selected are based on the type of item. Here, see for yourself:
The most important line is the very first one "setSeed", which resets the random number generator each time you place an item on the table - recalculating all of the enchantments at the same time - there is just no way a gold item can possibly affect the enchantments of any other item, and the seed is only changed when you actually enchant something (even if you quit and reload the world enchantments are the same since the game saves the seed).
Defiantly the furnace mine cart. It's slow, uses way to much fuel, and powered rails beat it in every way possible. The only time I've only ever used it twice (I've played since 1.1 I'm not saying like look at me I'm so loyal but really though only twice.) to transport mobs extremely short distances (Which in both cases i could of just pushed the mine cart).
I've seen furnace carts used in redstone mechanisms, that's likely what they were intended for.
I personally think Gold is the most useless item. The most useful thing it can craft is clocks, which are really only useful for insanely long and deep mining trips.
I've never even made one clock despite my playstyle consisting of "insanely long and deep mining [caving] trips" (if I surface at night, who cares, not like mobs are a problem, even if I have to run back 500 blocks to the nearest base; I encounter hundreds of mobs while caving).
Powered rails are very useful to me though; I use rails to link all of my bases together and while some might see horses as a better method of transportation rails are a good way to quickly and mostly automatically move between fixed locations (get in minecart, press W for a few seconds until I reach the first powered rail, then just sit back and wait or do something else until I reach my destination).
Of course, in 1.9 you can find powered rails in mineshaft chests (27% chance and 0.75 rails per chest) and given my playstyle I'd probably find enough to meet my needs (I only make new bases when I've explored a large radius around my main base); iron was already rendered nearly useless by the abundance of regular rails (I've never actually made any), my main use for iron (beyond what zombies drop and iron from chests; I only need it for anvils, at 1.24 ingots per repair, and shears past the early game).
Then again, consider how many people use a glitch that duplicates powered rails because it is "too difficult" to get the gold they need (with 32 regular rails and one powered rail per rail segment a single stack of gold gives you 2,112 blocks of straight railway and maintains maximum speed. You can even use a larger spacing and maintain this speed; I use 32 regular rails since it is half a stack. This assumes that minecarts are ridden by players or entities; you need more for storage minecarts, but not like you'll be making 2 km railways given the issue with unloaded chunks).
Golden apples are also necessary to cure zombie villagers, thus I make two so I can start a village in my main base after I start a new world. After that though I have no use for them; any that I find in chests are collected as trophies and never used (I only cave after the "end game" and would only use apples I found if I happened to find a dungeon while branch-mining or on the surface nearby and it happened to have two golden apples; this is much more likely in 1.9 since they have been made much more common).
Mojang also isn't helping the case for gold's usefulness in 1.9 with the removal of the crafting recipe for enchanted golden apples (now found in chests), although those were really just used in PvP; I've never made one myself.
What's the point of it. You only make CobbleStone tools once, and how many eternal flames do you really need?
I use cobblestone a LOT:
More than any other block except torches (or item, excluding each use of a tool); it is very useful while caving, for example, making staircases up to a cave above, forcing mined ore out of a hole, pillaring up to reach ore in the ceiling, making the ledges on the sides of ravines walkable, making markers where I left off from caving so i can easily find my way back, a cheap construction material, and so on (in 1.9 it will also be important for hiding/pillaring up from mobs since you can't effectively take on more than 1-2 at a time). Ladders can also be used for some of these but I mainly use them for temporary use, e.g. scaling the wall of a ravine to reach ore, and a stack lasts a long time (I either forget to remove ladders or use them to reach the surface; under oceans I make a cobblestone pillar to the surface with ladders on one side).
Cobblestone is fine and more than abundant. I don't play online (tried that - I won't say another word...), and cobblestone lets me quickly frame out a "safe" area before I gather more aesthetically pleasing / decorative blocks. A pretty base is the least of my concerns, but I am quite happy with my sprawling ranches.
And gold? I love my powered mine rails. I used to be a railroad hobbyist (My father worked for CN, so building track is my favourtie part of this game...) I make sure I have a minecart route to every "stop" in my world. Sometimes I just fire up the game and ride the rails.
And I love my clocks. I don't need them above ground, and don't care about them underground - I don't need them at all. But they look nice on my wall in a frame...
Fireworks. All they do is take up gun powder and paper and dye and whatever else you decide to add just so you can use them up after getting all those materials, yes they might be useful in creative maps or adventure maps but I assume that we are talking about useless items in survival. Seriously though, gold, lapis and emeralds are all pretty useful, chain armor could be another useless item except for the fact that it's an armor, it's way too difficult to get for something worse than iron.