Being the number one website in the world, Google offers a ton of services that you can (and should) be using for your business or personal life. This is a breakdown of the top five Google services available right now. The goal is to educate anyone reading this on some features that aren’t commonly known as well as explain the business to business benefits of these specific Google elements.
Hands down, THE best e-mail service/hosting available online today. Bolstered by one of the best spam filters, Gmail boasts a fully customizable display. From first-hand beta testing experience and my own experience as a full-time user since October 2004, I can attest that there isn’t a more business appropriate e-mail client. First and foremost, users benefit from a huge inbox. Gmail allows you to save all of your mail up to 10 Gigabytes (and growing), offering plenty of space for saving records, documents, files, and more. When it comes to ease-of-use, Gmail is the absolute pinnacle of e-mail. It updates the mail automatically, truncates e-mails from the same conversation, and now allows importance marking so that you can prioritize and view the mail that you need most. With Gmail, you can even use other e-mail addresses. Business e-mails, work e-mails, and any other e-mail address can be linked and ported through Gmail, meaning all your e-mails are in one place. Simple. You’ll never have to check e-mails on mail.site.com, then yahoo.com, then thisandthat.com, just to get your messages. Gmail even offers you the ability to reply to those e-mails from the address it was sent to. Sweet.
Google Docs (Soon to be Google Drive)
Who needs Word or OpenOffice? With Google Docs, you can create new documents, spreadsheets, presentations on the web, and more wherever you are. Cloud computing, baby! Since Google is always good about getting you to use more and more of their products, Google Docs links seamlessly with Gmail. You can share a file on Gmail, update it or have other users update the same file, and it instantly updates so all users can see the most current file. With a large scope of applicable file types, from word, .PDF, even OpenOffice files, Google Docs can handle anything thrown at it. Since smartphones are taking over the universe, there’s no better way to access your documents, files, .PDFs, etc. than via your Google account. Say goodbye to long downloads and hello to immediate Google Docs display. Think of it as Office in the clouds. Essentially, Google has created a free backup for all of your stuff. With up to 10 GB to use (as long as you’re a Gmail user), all that’s left is to say “Thanks.”
Staying current isn’t just about catching up on the latest headlines; any old news site offers that. The depth of Google’s News/Alerts is present in the options. By setting up specific Alerts, a user can get a direct feed of news based on the topics chosen. Let’s say you’ve got some interest in the upcoming Iphone 5. Simply set up a Google Alert within the News page and choose how often you’d like to find out about the topic. Provide an e-mail address and whoomp, there it is! Searching the internet for the latest news and information? That is so 2011. Let Google do the work for you.
There is a wealth of knowledge in web analytics and the #1 source of knowledge is Google’s version of the product. There are literally hundreds of website statistical tools to use. Everything from mapping traffic by country of origin, keywords for Search Engine Optimization tracking, and even heat mapping the most popular parts of a website, Google Analytics has it and more. The easy to use interface is key, because with bundles of statistics comes number commas (like brain freeze for math). Google constantly updates the information, so you can depend on the accuracy in your day to day web needs, business or otherwise. Some of the best features are:
- In-Page Analytics: With this, you can view how visitors move around your website with an active view of percentage clicks on specific areas, following where the web visitors are traveling. If your site is your business, you’re basically mapping their journey through your store. Based on this information, you can improve your design and optimize your site for more traffic, longer viewing, and more business. Simply put, major potential for growth.
- Mobile Device Reporting: Isn’t it nice to know who is coming to your website, where they are from, and how they are getting to your site? This feature offers the information on which ads are getting clicks while simultaneously tracking users. Information, information, information. It’s all about knowing as much as possible about your potential customers and maximizing the information you have access to.
- Social Media: By tracking “likes and Google +1,” you now have the ease of finding out who and where your website is being shared. This makes creating new campaigns easier and enables you to target the most successful social media platforms for your business.
I start every morning like what you’d see in a 1950’s home economics textbook. But instead of unfurling the daily newspaper, it’s my favorite blogs all in one place. I save incredible amounts of time because all of the information I crave is at my fingertips, already assembled in one place. I have favorite websites and so do you. Next time you’re on one of yours, subscribe to their RSS feed. It automatically pushes new content to you. You can “star” your favorite articles to be saved for another day or to reference quickly. You can search posts from your subscriptions, so you don’t have to jump from website to website searching forever for what you want. Many of your favorite websites may not even have a valid search function, but Google’s Reader does. The newest features even allow you to use your Google+ account and share your favorite articles with friends, family, or businesses. In turn, you can view and interact with their RSS feeds as well, whether on your mobile device, tablet, or at your home computer.
When it’s all laid out, Google might be the internet’s greatest time saver. There are probably more than 30 other Google services that I didn’t mention and even more features for each of the topics covered here, but it’s time I used some of that time Google saved me elsewhere. Drop a comment on here and let us know what your favorite Google features or services are.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We love Google, but wouldn’t want to work there. Well, the paycheck would be nice.