Google’s taking over my life and I need help. Well, not really. As I try and consolidate all the techno-stuff in my life, online services provide encouragement to consolidate.
Although there are plenty of web apps out there online to help you do what you need to do, for this blog post I decided to write about some of the Google tools I use in my online endeavors.
Google Mail – Google Mail or Gmail is Google’s approach to email. If you don’t have an email account or thinking about switching gmail is a great alternative.
A simplified view of email, gmail also offers most everything you need in a personal email program. Built-in spam protection and the fact your email is stored on Google’s servers makes it a hands-free email system.
I also use Google Calendar in conjunction with gmail. A cool feature with gmail is when it senses event type data in an email, a sidebar link is provided that allows you to easily add the email content to your Google Calendar.
Google Calendar – Google Calendar is full-featured calendar with features like drag and drop, recurring events, reminders that are emailed to your gmail account.
Scheduled appointments as well as all day reminders are the basics of any calendaring system and Google’s Calendar is no exception. There is a quick add feature which is very handy to add appointments and all day events.
Google Reader – Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to centralize your favorite blogs and websites in one place by using RSS.
This is fantastic because you can skim through hundreds of blogs quickly to see what’s new rather than browsing a bunch of blogs individually. You can still click on the blog post you’re reading and it will take you directly to that blog.
Another great feature of Google Reader is, it allows you to share your favorite blog posts with your friends, who can share those blog posts with their friends and on and on. This can be a great way for a blog post to get a lot of attention via Google Reader and possibly bringing more traffic back to your blog.
Google Webmaster Central – Google Webmaster Central is a handful of tools for webmasters, and that includes bloggers. Here you’ll find many tips on best practices and settings for your website or blog. And hey, it’s Google telling you. So you know it’s a place you should hang out if your responsible for a website or have your own blog.
Webmaster Central is where you add your site(s) and the Googlebot will collect data about your site. One piece of information it gather is duplicate content, which can hurt your site in search results. The Duplicate Content shows you which pages it found at your blog that contain the duplicate content and why.
Webmaster Central is required reading for blog and website owners.
Google Analytics – Not too far from Google Webmaster Central is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can provide you all the traffic analysis you need for a blog or website. I talked about Google Analytics in my blog post Six Blog Traffic Tracking Tools that I posted yesterday.
Google Docs – Google Docs is Google’s office as it were. Docs includes the ability to create and share online documents that are equivalent to Microsoft Word and Excel type documents, except online. Again, this is great because it’s – online. That means it’s safe and sound on Google’s servers.
With Google Docs sharing feature you can collaborate with other people on a docoument.
Another feature that I reported on in my blog post Add a Google Docs Form to your Blog, you can create forms to provide your blog or website a way to gather data from your site visitors. The data gets automagically stored in a Google Docs Spreadsheet. Very cool.
Google Alerts – Google Alerts allows you to receive emails on keywords. Wanna setup a vanity alert on your name? Do it with Google Alerts and you’ll be emailed when folks are talking about you.
Better yet, do you have a product or brand that you need to listen to the chatter on the web about? Google Alerts will provide you a pair of ears gathering data whenever your product is mentioned on blogs and websites. This gives you the opportunity to visit those site to see what going on and also for you to jump into the conversation.
Google offers a whole bunch of other apps you can find here. The above apps I use quite a bit and are extremely beneficial to bloggers and other website owners.