Many of us think that the Big G is out there after all the bloggers and content generators to make their life more and more difficult, but the truth is altogether different. Google is continuously rolling out products and product updates that are geared towards making a website owner successful in its venture and help them out in ways that they even think is simply great. So if you too are having a website and looking to make money online here are some Google products that will make your life much easier.
We will look at simply great Google products and how you can harness their power, become expert on using them for your online success. This post is written keeping beginners in mind but it covers some really power tips that will help you feel like a super user after you have gone through this post thoroughly( even if you are an expert).
1. Google Account:
A Google account is the key to all Google products and services. So if you are still living with a MSN, Yahoo, AOL or any other account and using it to connect with your network, we would like you to know that you are living in stone age and definitely missing out on some really amazing stuff happening on the internet. So the first thing to kick start your rendezvous with Google products and services is to grab a Google account. Google account is completely FREE and it only takes a few minutes to sign up. So go ahead and sign up for a Google account. There is no excuse for it. What should you keep in mind before signing up for Google account? Here are some points:
- Make sure that you have username that is easy to remember and if possible get one which has your name or business name in it. Your Google account will look something like firstname.lastname@example.org. In fact you only need the username to sign into Google and do make sure to create a strong but memorable password and unique password recovery options.
- There is also a thing called Google apps which helps you to have accounts something like email@example.com and allowed you to have up to 10 users for free. But this freebie is now no longer available and comes as a paid service per domain and you can add users with the same domain name in the account for additional charge. The details are available at Google Apps Signup Page.
- Remember before you start using any Google Account you need to verify your account by clicking on the verification link in the email from Google soon after you have signed up for a service. Off late Google has also started to do verification via mobile numbers. In this they ask for a mobile number and country code and send a secret signup code on that mobile number, you have to enter this verification code in order to use the services. Once you have a verified Google Account you are all set to go.
2. Google Profile:
Your Google Profile is a place for you to be found online and if you optimize it with your websites, you will make the search engine happy for all of your sites. If you already have your profile set up – take the time now to go back and review it. Make sure that you have it all complete so it is working for you. Create your profile at https://profiles.google.com/. Here is a checklist for you to complete the important elements of your profile:
- Photo: Select a recent photo (not a logo or business unless you are making an account related to that business or product.).
- Introduction: A short biography describing what you do and love to do (more about your business or product in case your account is related to a product or business.).
- Occupation: Go all out about your business here.
- Places Lived: This is valuable for clients whether you have always lived in one place (the area you practice) or if you have moved a lot.
- Work: Let people know how to contact you.
- Employment: You can list your company and any volunteer positions you have (Association involvement, etc).
- Other Profiles: You may want to link to other online profiles you have (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)
This profile will become linked to your Google+ profile if you venture into that Social Network.
3. Google Groups:
Google Groups makes it easy to communicate and collaborate with groups of people—such as people with same interests, affiliates, webmasters, product promoters, etc. Each group has a unique e-mail address and its own online discussion forum and where embers can share information.
Using Google Groups, you can:
- Create your own group: Organize meetings, social events, and study group among members of a group.
- Join a group: Find groups created by other students in the Groups Directory. Join an open group or leave a group whenever you want.
- Discuss online or over e-mail: Read and respond to posts through email and the online discussion forum.
- Communicate and collaborate: Send messages and share files with everyone in a group with one address.
- Your group may be viewed by others, please be clear and professional with your choice of group name.
- Group email address is the e-mail address that group members will use to send messages to each other. You group’s web address is generated based on this e-mail address.
- The description helps people browsing the Groups directory to quickly determine your group’s purpose.
- Set permissions, choose who can read your group’s posts or post messages to your group.
- After you have created your group, you can invite people to join. To do this click on Invite members, Enter one or more e-mail addresses to add as members and an invitation message and send invites.As soon as they accept the invitation, they will be added to the group.
- Google groups are a great way to jump start your online business. The simple fact that you can join like minded people or people with similar interests can give an immediate fillip to your venture and also bring in vital experience and other technical details that could make all the difference.
Ever since its launch Gmail the Google’s alternative to MSN mail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Aol mail and other national and international email providers – is given jitters to most of them and even wiped some of them out of existence. The effect of launch and the intuitiveness, ease of use, common sense built up by Google engineers in Gmail made it an instant hit amongst the users. Initially it was an invite only service, which also helped create a buzz around the product and people felt proud if they had an Gmail account but soon it rewrote the rules of emailing and truly imbibed the words that email has to be more intuitive and user friendly. Gmail is just one of the service that you can access with your Google account and again there are some mind boggling features which helps it make the preferred email platform. Here are some of these features and how they can help you as website owner to increase your productivity and profit bottom line.
- Forget deleting or worrying about the storage quota on emails Gmail gives you virtually unlimited disk space and it claims that you’ll never have to delete your email again. The emails that get caught in the spam filters of Gmail are automatically thrashed after 30 days so that part is also taken care of in an automatic manner.
- All your emails are stored in a Cloud storage mechanism with the facility to access it from any computer or mobile which has internet enabled in it. It has also an offline option that makes it great for you to access the email without any internet connection and later sync it on when you have the connection.
- There is a Star option along side every email which helps you to mark important mails that can be answered at later time. The Google Labs which is the hub of all the online inventions and features roll out will help you more in this regard. Go to the Superstars options in Gmail Labs. Saves time, helps you keep track of important mails – this means more productivity and profitability.
- Gmail has an integrated chat facility so that you can reply or interact with a person in real time instead of exchanging email. All you need to do is to go to the footer of the email message and check whether the person is onine, you can then clickon reply by chat and voila you save time by real time interaction instead of long winding email loops. In case you have a web cam in your hardware system you can even go for a video chat where face to face interaction is also possible all you have to do is to enable video chat in your Gmail profile.
- Organizing is at the heart of Gmail. Labels are used for this purpose you can assign any label to any email and even more add color coding to labels so that they reflect the priority or any other order that suits you. Any email labeled will be clubbed together and can be very convenient to search and later recognize and interact. If you get a new email you can choose the –Move To – option to assign a label to it and move it into that folder for easy access later on.
A well organized application helps you increase your productivity by saving time money and relieving you of handling the clutter because a lot of emails arrive at any inbox on a regular basis so unless you have a really good method of organizing it there is a lot of clutter to handle. Another smart way that Google has devised to add labels to your email is right at the time of writing the email address of the recipient. You can put a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your name, like changing firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. This will automatically add a label called lead to your email and imagine how much time it will save and convenience it will bring into your process. That all translates into good and efficient business. Labels also have auto-complete feature attached to it. If you have a lots of labels just type in few characters and Google will provide you with suggestions to choose.
- Archive your email to keep them safe for ever this will help you prevent messages from that particular email to going into spam box. All archived emails are moved to All Mails folder and it’s like moving old email to a giant storage room that you never have to organize.
- Gmail also comes in with a powerful task manager. Clicking on the Tasks menu will open the task manager where you can fill in new tasks and even convert emails into tasks by clicking on the More actions menu and – Add to tasks- . All these can be accessed from any computer and reminders can also be set on tasks so that you don’t miss out on one . With the advent of mobile based online access this gives a lot of bandwidth to the users to accomplish and manage their tasks.
- Filter is another powerful feature offered by Gmail. You can set filters based on any type of conditions and perform a set of actions on the filters set. For example if a person who is sending you email with promotional offers every hour you can set a filter to automatically catch all the emails sent from that particular email address and send them to the spam box immediately. So time saved and no more bothering. The reverse is also true if some emails are very important to you and you want to organize them into folders or labels you can do so very easily. Just set a filter and catch all such emails and apply the desired label to them. This will automatically organize them into folders and help you keep track and reply them at your convenient time.
- Gmail is super intuitive – a great example is that if you have written anything like please find the attached file and you forget to attach the file a popup box will appear reminding you whether you are missing on attaching a file to the email?… Great isn’t it. Protects you from the embarrassment of sending an email which had to have a file attached to it and reaches its destination without any attachment.
- The status message on your Chat window will let your connections know instantly about a message, interesting link, your mood, your itenary, or anything else that you would like them to know. The chat icon changes color from Red (Busy) or Green (Available) or Orange (Away) in order to let more about your online presence and whether is it a good time to talk to you or what? Call it speed, or information conveyed that is always good for your business. People often use affiliate links in their status messages cloaked under url shorteners like bit.ly etc or Google’s own Goo.gl to redirect users to their earning resources or help display lengthy urls. Emoticons also are used very extensively to display the mood of the users and helps strengthen your social connections.
- Another good example of usability is vacation responder if you are on a vacation and you get a lot of mail on a regular basis let them know with a vacation responder that you are on a vacation and will be back only after a said duration and the alternative means to contact and get the task done in your absence. This helps spread goodwill and let others know what to expect when you are on a vacation and how to get the tasks done.
- Fighting spam is one of the major concerns of online emails and Google has put in strong mechanism in place to counter this. Spam emails consume a lot of valuable time and resources of organizations and people. This can be quite detrimental to the success of small businesses. If you find an email as spam you can easily flag it and the spam filtering algorithms in Google will make sure that you don’t get it again in your inbox. The spam box is automatically cleaned every 30 days and in case you have marked an important email as spam by error you can always go back and send it back to inbox and again the spam filters of Google will learn and you will be getting the emails in your inbox as before.
- If you are artistically inclined and want your Gmail to have a character, look and feel there are hundreds of color schemes, intelligent themes that change with the time of day or weather, which can make your Gmail account stand out from the others. How about having it the colors of your corporate identity or a theme which matches it and ask all your team members to use it on their Gmail account to have focus on a common goal – the success of your organization.
- Use Gmail even when you are not connected to your internet connection. Just type in the emails and they are kept into your outbox. As soon as Google gets access to an internet connection your emails will be sent.
- Selecting multiple files as attachment to an email – no problems just use the Ctrl Key on windows and Cmd on Macs and select all the files you want to attach. Google will do it sequentially.
- Canned responses help you to to give same responses multiple times. Type in a reply save it and use the same message from the canned response menu. Saves a lot of time and resources, this thing can also be automated by setting up filters and replying to some selected emails from canned responses everytime they come.
- Autodetection of content from some websites like Flickr, Youtube, Picassa helps you see a preview both inside the email and Chat window so that you can get a glimpse of what you will be eventually seeing.
- These are simply serious stuff that helps you get your work done in a fast, efficient and cost saving manner. What if you are still impatient? Gmail offers you a lot of keyboard shortcuts options that can do things on the press of a key like “o” to open messages, “r” to reply, “c” to compose, “s” to add or remove a star, “e” to archive, and more. Hit “?” at any time to see the reference guide with a full list of keyboard shortcuts.
- Google started with Search as its core business and is now the undisputed leader in providing great search results to its users and is constantly improving upon the process. This search expertise is also extended to the Gmail for power users what you can do with search in Gmail? Besides the regular keyword or keyphrase search there are special operators that let you search with more precision here are some examples. if you want a specific email Anil sent containing an attachment, type “from:anil has:attachment,” or to find all the messages in your inbox sent directly to you that you haven’t read yet, type: “to:me is:unread in:inbox.” Here is a comprehensive list of Gmail search operators.
- Want to send the entire message in the Subject of the email itself, Google engineers have thought of that also. Just write the subject line and end it with an <EOM> . Google will gracefully accept it as a complete message and will send the email to its recipients.
Just give it a thought how much time, money, effort saving and convenience it brings to users when they use Gmail, did you expect it from any other email providers? Well … if you are still not switching to Google its time for some introspection. Let us move ahead and learn the features and benefit another great Google product brings to us — The Google Chrome.
5. Google Chrome
Call it a browser from Google or gradually growing up to be a full-fledged operating system of the future Google Chrome has grabbed a huge market share of all the web browsers that were available to users or came shipped as default browser with operating systems installed. After the initial hiccups while the launch of Chrome it is now posing serious challenges to the very existence of its competitors just due to the very good features it brings to the users. Simplicity, imitativeness, built-in superb search etc. there are lot of features that we will be discussing about Chrome. One thing that shook users when it was first introduced to general public was its minimalistic appearance all the clutter was thrown out and there was a popular wrench icon on the right hand corner by clicking on which you could access all the power hidden beneath the simple interface.
There are some of the brilliant features of Chrome and we will let you how you can use it to benefit your business (not to mention the spine chilling experience it is giving to its competitors). There might be some compatibility issues with display of web pages of some sites but the point here we would like to make is that Chrome is one of the fastest growing browser and becoming very popular among new generation. The huge amount of features that are being rolled out with each new release of Chrome and seamless upgrades makes it a powerful browsing tool at a website owner’s disposal. Here are some of the super features Chrome supports that will help you think twice before using any other browser:
- It allows you to work in offline mode while using Google products like Gmail or Calendar without any internet connection and whenever you are online the changes are synced with your application. This means the mail gets sent and the calendar gets updated etc.
- Google Chrome has its own app store and there are lots and lots of applications (apps) as they are preferably known with the users which you can browse the Chrome app store and download one or purchase one that you like and enjoy the features that it offers.
- Enable destktop notifications and you will never miss a chat, email or a meeting notification.
- Importing bookmarks is a cakewalk in Chrome. Just export the bookmarks from you existing favorite browser and import them into Google Chrome.
- Besides apps there are extensions that enhance the features of Chrome you can choose to install what you like. If it slows down your browsing experience just get back to the extensions link and remove the one causing the trouble. The extensions range from business and productivity tools, education, entertainment, games, lifestyle, weather, news, social, communication and utilities etc. This gives a lot of power at your hands to extend Chrome to suit your business needs.
- The upgrades to new releases on Chrome are seamless and do not require user intervention, whenever you start Chrome it updates itself keeping in the privacy preferences and other utilities you have installed in your browser. All this comes with no pop-ups etc. It saves a lot of time. Every upgrade of Chrome also takes care of security concerns like malware, viruses and other malicious softwares that it constantly keeps a track of and thus your internet browsing is safe. Imagine downloading a virus from a malicious website that installs malware whenever you visit it how much time, effort and money does it cost to get back to work. Chrome prompts you that hey dude you are going into bad neighborhood and we want you to be safe so take care.
- The wrench icon on the right hand side of Chrome contains all the settings basic and advanced that you need to take care or provide to Chrome so that it can function accordingly. Take a look at the icon and don’t hesitate to click on it as it is not going to break anything but is a gateway for you to customize your browser according to your preferences.
- Chrome also has a secret browsing mode which can be accessed by pressing ctrl + Shift + N and here is what the developers at Chrome have to say about it:
You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close all open incognito windows. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.
- Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
- Websites that collect or share information about you
- Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
- Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
- Surveillance by secret agents
- People standing behind you
Isn’t that really cool!
- Another excellent feature that Chrome provides is the Tab feature by clicking on the + tab icon on the upper tabs opens a new window without losing focus on the other window. This windows can be dragged , rearranged or simply detached by pulling them. You can also tell Chrome to start up what Urls in different tabs whenever you start Chrome for use. That’s a lot of time saver.
- As with other Google features Google chrome also has a lot of themes and background coloring options. The themes are intelligent – means they change their appearance with time and even during weathers. So you can expect your browser theme to reflect the climatic conditions in your area and enjoy it while browsing your favorite websites.
- The most visited pages are available as thumbnails when you open Chrome, chances are great that you want to visit these websites again because they could be the most popular ones that you visit. So just by clicking on the thumbnail you get to that url. No more typing.
- Chrome helps improve your efficiency and increase productivity by giving you a more complete search experience right from the address bar. Search everything from the omnibox – Use the omnibox (address bar) like a search box. Type in search terms and press Enter to go directly to search results.
- If you want to work even faster use the Chrome keyboard shortcuts, believe it or not there are around 50 odd shortcuts to help you accelerate your browsing experience. Here are some Chrome Keyboard shortcuts for Windows Os. Check it out, we are sure that you will be more than amazed.
Gmail and Google Chrome are two of the most used products by bloggers and website owners. The chat facility with voice and video chat helps bridge the distance and cuts down on email transactions while Chrome provides a browsing experience that is simply great and is growing day by day.
Bonus Feature Not to be Missed:
According to Wikipedia:
Google Labs was a page created by Google to demonstrate and test new projects. Google described Google Labs as a playground where our more adventurous users can play around with prototypes of some of our wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them. Google also uses an invitation-only phase for trusted testers to test projects including Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Wave and many of these have their own “labs” webpages for experimental projects unique to each product.
Some of the interesting features rolled out by Google Labs for Gmail product are:
- Canned Responses – allow prewritten emails to be inserted with a click
- Inserting images – allow you to paste an image in the message body
- Undo Send- gives you an undo option after you hit the send button
- Auto-Advance – automatically shows the next message in your list
- Signature tweaks- places your signature before the quoted text in a reply
Make sure to keep in touch with Google Labs regularly in order to become early adopters of the superb features rolled out on multiple Google products and stay ahead of the competition.
That was a really long post but we sincerely feel that the kind of power these mostly free tools provide in the hands of an average website owner or blogger for that matter makes him truly capable of achieving anything on the web. The only thing required here is to know how to use them in the most efficient manner to fulfill your blogging and online business goals. We hope that this post will help you get a good start on the most essential products offered by Google for website owners. Many of you will be reading this post but and a lot of information is available on the internet on these products but the key to success is to constantly reinvent yourself to the fast changing online scenario and meet the challenges thrown upon you by keeping up to date with the latest offerings via Google Labs. There is a lot we have written in this post but the wider the scope of a topic the greater are the chances that some things might get overlooked.
Please do let us know about your views on this post and let us know if we missed something so that we can update it and make it more useful for our esteemed readers. In the second part of this series we will be looking at more such Google products that can make the difference. Please do let us know what product you want us to provide more information on.