In our everyday lives, Google helps us and a great many others around the globe, significantly, and businesses too. For the purposes of this post we’re going to park their rather well known search engine to one side, we don’t need to rave about that, it already has nearly 90% share of the UK search engine market.
Instead we’re going to focus firstly on what Google services we as a business use every day;
Google Chrome offers a lightweight web browser application which is a secure, robust and effective alternative to IE, Safari and Firefox. Chrome also features some pretty cool plugins, many aimed at developers which we use regularly when developing websites or bug fixing. For a more technical overview see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrome_OS
Google Maps is the service we rely upon when using our iPhones and iPads to navigate the world. Often these are also used as embedded maps on website contact pages which provide nifty little tools to provide directions from current locations. Google Maps can help attract customers to your website too, by setting up a business listing on Google maps it’s possible that your business will appear in SERPS for local searches even when your website doesn’t appear in a high position therefore greatly increasing its chances of being found.
Google Translate and language switching services are used to deliver multi-language websites without the hassle of getting your content translated, removing the language barrier globally from Africaans to Zulu.
Google Docs provides a free alternative to Office. We know of several startups and charities that rely upon GDocs instead of buying the expensive Microsoft Office suite of applications, but we rely upon this for sharing and collaborating on spreadsheets with clients, for managing work lists, SEO results, progress reports, results etc.
Google Analytics is the best free resource for understanding how people use your website, showing stats for almost any metric you can think of for example the screen size of people responding to a specific PPC campaign and how long they’re on your site. We use GA to help justify changes to a website, for example we can see what pages don’t seem to engage (time on page), what pages don’t ever get used and where visitors most often leave the website.
Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite for your business that helps you get work done from anywhere. Integrating your domain.com with Google apps allows your business email to be hosted by Google which offers scalability, reliability, collaboration and peace of mind.
Gmail is the free email service which rivals Microsoft’s much older Hotmail system, and we use this for testing how email campaigns will appear amongst other things.
Adwords is Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform which can make a huge difference to any business, and really quickly too. Sometimes to help new websites and businesses to gain traction within the market, we commit to a PPC campaign to drive traffic before a new website begins to attract visitors naturally. The ease at which campaigns can be created, edited or disabled provides a truly immediate and totally measurable system.
Google+ is a social media platform for sharing news and media. Not dissimilar to Facebook in many ways, Google+ is perhaps more business focused and therefore a great place for businesses to raise their social profile.
Hangouts is a feature of Google+ that we’ve started to use recently in place of Skype, which enables us to speak, instant message, video conference and screen share over the web.
And they’re just the tools that we use… Google also offers;
- Cloud Print so that you can print from any device anywhere
- Checkout which is another online payment gateway like Paypal, Worldpay and Sagepay, only a little easier and more simple
- Sites provides a way to quickly and easily publish a website for your business or personal interests
- Google provides loads of media services including a news alert system, but also YouTube (for video sharing), Picassa for image sharing and many more…
- Finance for tracking shares etc with built in reports and alerts.
To recap, we’ve reached a point where as a business we rely heavily upon a range of Google services. Whilst many could be easily replaced, the quality, features and reliability of Google’s services set a very high standard each and every time.
Where next for Google
Who knows, however their endeavours into operating systems, phones, watches and glasses means they’re well placed to get involved in any area with a technological and innovative edge – Google cars, Google supermarket, Google boilers!!