5+ Google Products You Should Be Using Right Now

With Google’s recent foray into social media with Google+, the search giant is closer than ever to dominating all forms of online media. The company has positioned itself as the god of the Internet, creating, directing and controlling. Google is attempting to compete in nearly every sphere of influence on the Internet.

Not only do they provide services to normal users, they also help businesses with marketing efforts, such as providing a Pay-Per-Click platform or helping companies track the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns. Google doesn’t wait for users to come to them, but instead aggressively pushes new platforms to consolidate users’ online identities.

Over the years, Google has pushed out new services that compete in key areas with other major companies. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each of its services, however. Some of the more important user services rolled out include Google+, Google Checkout, Picasa, Gmail/Google Docs and the Google eBookstore.

Google+

Competing with Facebook and Twitter, Google+ is the latest and greatest from Google. It offers an alternative social network, integrated with existing users’ Google accounts, that allows users to separate their contacts into different categories. These categories, called circles, allow users to share different information with different groups. Users have to recreate their social networks, however, because there’s no importing of contacts from Facebook, which will likely leave many users on the fence about switching. It’s likely that Google+ will become another point of engagement for companies, too, allowing them to share and collaborate with their customers. It remains to be seen how successful this new social network is, but Google is pushing it aggressively. (Be sure to add +Jeff Dunn to your circles to keep up with Edudemic news!)

Google Checkout

This service, which is integrated with Google’s shopping results on the company’s results page, competes with Paypal and Amazon’s Checkout by Amazon service. It provides a method whereby shoppers can purchase products without giving multiple sites their credit card information. Retailers pay Google less per transaction than they pay Paypal, but it’s not as widely supported yet and only allows customers to pay via credit or debit card.

Picasa

Soon to be rebranded as Google Pics, Picasa, Google’s picture hosting service, goes up against flickR and photobucket, two of the more popular photo services online. It allows users to easily synchronize photos across multiple computers and share pictures with a select group of people. The home software available for Picasa doesn’t allow for more than basic photo editing, however, and the service requires a Google account.

Gmail and Google Docs

Gmail and Google Docs are meant to be the online equivalent of the Microsoft Office suite and to compete with free email hosting services like Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. All of a user’s emails and document files are stored online, though they are downloadable also, which allows access from any Internet-enabled computer in the world. However, this group of tools doesn’t offer as much versatility as Microsoft Office and is useless if a user doesn’t have Internet access.

Google eBookstore

Competing with Amazon’s Kindle store and Barnes & Noble’s eBook store, Google eBookstore is an impressive endeavor. Aided by the Google Books project, which is attempting to scan and archive the world’s books, the eBookstore offers millions of eBooks for purchase, with books that no longer fall under copyright being offered for free. Google’s eBookstore supports smartphones, eReaders like the Nook and Sony’s line, tablet computers and reading directly from the web, but it does not support the Kindle, Amazon’s eReader.

Nearly every large company that provides a service on the Internet now has to compete with the might of the vast Google empire, whether they connect people, provide online payment options, store users pictures, provide email services or sell eBooks. In addition to all of the listed services, Google offers ad campaigns, analytics tracking and revenue-generating ad services. The search giant is branching out into all spheres of the Internet and likely won’t rest until it’s the dominant brand in every area it’s competing.

What Are Your Favorites?

These are just a few of the dozens of products from Google available to the public right now. What are your favorites? If you’re a huge Google Wave fan (RIP) or a Google Labs (RIP, too) or a Google Maps fan, let your fellow readers know! Leave a comment or post on the Edudemic Facebook page to have your voice heard!

Joseph Baker’s business experience in management and technology spans more than 15 years. A leader of development and management teams, he also implemented budget reductions professionally and as an independent contractor. Joseph led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses. He is an advocate for educational reform and a proponent of social media integration.

You can view his previous article “The 10 Best and Worst Ways Social Media Impacts Education

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Would you like to write for Edudemic?

1 Comment

  1. Cammie

    September 21, 2011 at 4:32 am

    I much prefer informative acrtiels like this to that high brow literature.