I love Google. The company, the search engine, their campus and their other products.
They also throw a heck of a party. I got to attend one at the GooglePlex last summer. Here’s a video.
Anyways, the point of this post is that Google’s got a solution for almost every problem. About the only thing I don’t like is how they have a finger in every pie and are so dominant in the search industry. (If you routinely use a search engine other than Google please leave a comment!) Putting that aside for a moment, they have an amazing suite of free tools.
First, Gmail. I don’t remember what life was like before Gmail. Wait, yes I do. It was waiting for Microsoft Outlook to catch up, or dealing with the stupidity (and unprofessionalism) that is Hotmail. It was stupid limits on storage capacity. Gmail has more storage that you’ll ever need, an amazing archive function and the ability to use multiple email addresses through the same account. (For example all my @chrisdavies.ca addresses are handled through the same @gmail.com login)
As you can see I’ve only used (15%) of my 7326 MB and I get a lot of email.
Second, the Calendar. If you’re like me, with Outlook, it was mostly mail and calendar, with a little bit of the tasks tab. The great thing about Google Calendars is your ability to access them anywhere and share them with others. (Which reminds me, it’s time to update my REIN etc Events Calendar)
Third, Google Docs. This is the online version of MS Office. It’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus a nice tool for putting forms into emails and webpages. Like this one!
The best thing about docs is the ability to share and collaborate online. Brent and I use it, and Megan and I used it to plan our entire wedding, in conjunction with our family and friends. The one downside is if you’re going to be printing your documents, you’re eventually going to want to drop it in to a real copy of Word and make sure the formatting is pretty.
Fourth Google Reader. I’ve written a bunch about using RSS feeds, and Google Reader is the best tool out there. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Fifth, Google Analytics. I use this to track my website, and I use it a great deal with my daily work as an internet marketer at Enquiro. If you have any sort of website, get Google Analytics. ALWAYS. If you’ve got a website, you have no excuse for not having this set up.
And they finally implemented the ability to have tasks in Gmail and Calendar, something I’ve been waiting for since I started using it.
They’re all free and they’re all great productivity enhancers. Enjoy!