Searching, e-mailing, and talking on the phone are three of the most popular things we do in our lives -- professionally speaking.
Google has many people buzzing about the G1 smartphone they’re coming out with. They also have people talking about the recently released Google Chrome Web browser which integrates with Google applications -- and with search. Additionally scores of people use services like Gmail, Google Apps, Google Analytics and Google Adwords on a daily basis. And of course Google is synonymous with search. But as exciting as Google’s new announcements may be, there are many other applications and services from Google that are flying under the radar, comparatively speaking.
If you’re already using some of the better known Google apps, here are some lesser known tools you may want to check out.
Acquired by Google last year, Grand Central is a free service that gives you a single phone number that allows people to reach you on any phone you’re using at the time. You can tie your home, office, mobile and any other phone you to your Grand Central number, which allows you to answer a call from your GC number on whatever phone you happen to be closest to.
And one nice feature of Grand Central allows you to transfer a conversation from one phone to another without the other party knowing. For example, if you started a conversation on your office phone but have to head to the airport, you can easily move the call to your mobile phone and hit the road. Another cool feature is the ability to stick a button on a webpage and allow website visitors to initiate a call to you just by clicking the button -- without them knowing any of your phone numbers. In fact there are too many nice features to mention here, so you may want to check out the site to see the full list of goodies.
Another application that’s been around for a while is Google Notebook. If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time looking at pages and pages of information on the Web. And typically there are certain parts of those pages that you really focus on. Google Notebook allows you to clip those important pieces of the pages that you really want to keep track of. This makes it very easy to go directly to that part of the page without having to sift through the whole thing when you return to it.
You can also add comments to the clipped page pieces, which is helpful when you want to track your thoughts at the time. Plus you can share notebooks with others, as well as export your notebooks to Google Docs -- allowing for even more collaboration with others.
Now there are other tools like Zoho’s Notebook and EverNote that allow you to do this, but if you’re using other Google tools the integration with Google Notebook may add to the benefit of using it. And there’s even a nice extension for Firefox users that really makes it easy to browse pages, clip page segments, and manage notebooks while naturally surfing the Web.
Along with Bloglines and Newsgator, Google Reader is one of the most popular news readers out there, but it pales in popularity compared to other Google applications like Gmail. But if you’re an avid blog reader and need a way to manage your blog subscriptions, Google Reader may be just the application. It makes it easy to read multiple blogs right from one location.
Google Reader will also provide recommendations to other blogs you may be interested in based on the ones you’re currently subscribed to. Additionally, it allows you to see what your friends and contacts are reading that are also using Google Reader, making it easy to check out other potential sources of information. You can share comments, and with special add-ons even create automatic status updates (also called tweets) in Twitter whenever you comment on a something you read in Google Reader. You’re even provided with stats to track what you’ve read, how many comments you’ve written and even how many times you’ve emails posts to others.
These are just a few of the many apps that Google provides beyond the popular tools they’re known for. I didn’t even get to tools like Google Trends which gives you a deeper look at what people are searching on or Google Website Optimizer which lets you test the impact of different pages on website conversion rates.
So if you’re a fan of Gmail, Google Desktop, Google Calenda,r and other favorites, do yourself a favor and take a second look at these other apps. You may find they’re worth your while.