Lately, I've been hearing about this little company called Google. Personally, I think there's a chance that they'll actually make something of themselves. Call me crazy.
While approximately 101 percent of this article's readers routinely use Google to find everything from business plan templates to the best places to buy chinchilla food, Google's moved well past the search niche. In fact, chances are Google offers up a few services you've never heard of that might be beneficial to your business. Here are just a few:
What it is: A site to discover how popular certain searches have been on Google historically, as well as what's popular right now.
Why it's useful: Want to be ahead of the social media zeitgeist? This is a great place to start. It's a feature-packed site; you can survey trending YouTube videos as well.
Pro tip: Use the optional forecast checkbox to anticipate whether interest in a particular topic is expected to rise over time.
What it is: A platform that allows you to build applications, host websites, analyze data, and much more, via Google's scalable infrastructure.
Why it's useful: Similar to Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform is an easy way for entrepreneurs to focus on building their concept, as opposed to worrying about the backend layer. Customers include little-known startups such as Best Buy, Snapchat, Coca-Cola, and Sony Music.
Pro tip: You can get $300 in credit towards a 60-day free trial. Even better: The trial is entirely free; you won't be billed unless you decide to keep your account after the trial.
What it is: Google Wallet makes it easy to pay--not just online, but in stores too--and it works with any debit or credit card.
Why it's useful: Paying is made not only seamless: it's so mobile-friendly that you can make payments while you're waiting in line.
Pro tip: Owe a colleague money for dinner last night? In Gmail, there's a new-ish "attach money" icon that will let you send money quickly and easily using Google Wallet.
What it is: A handy tool to figure out what's trending on YouTube.
Why it's useful: What are women aged 65 watching? What are men ages 25 to 34 in Cincinnati sharing most often? With the Trends Dashboard, you can tap into the zeitgeist quickly and easily.
Pro tip: Compare the "Most Shared" (across Facebook and Twitter) with "Most Viewed" to get a sense of what content gets viewed often but shared infrequently.
What it is: Using the easy browser bookmarklet, save shortcuts to your favorite webpages and navigate to them in seconds, from anywhere.
Why it's useful: We don't rely on bookmarks as we used to a decade ago, but they're still a great way of keeping track of critical links you might need later.
Pro tip: Export your bookmarks with just one click to an HTML page, which you can embed into an external-facing website, style with CSS, or simply share as an email attachment.
What it is: As you might expect, you can use this tool to land a job at Google.
Why it's useful: Tired of the entrepreneurial life? If you're looking for something more stable, you can't do much better than Google.
Pro tip: You can use your Google profile information to help you find jobs relevant to your background.
7. Google Keep
What it is: Google Keep lets you easily jot down whatever's on your mind via a beautiful, simple interface.
Why it's useful: Share any one individual note with a collaborator, create to-do lists, drop an image into notes as needed, and organize notes using eight color options.
Pro tip:Don't want to forget to do something? No problem: You can easily turn any note into a date or location-activated reminder.
What it is: Find out how your display advertising campaigns are doing compared with industry averages.
Why it's useful: Looking to get an understanding of how different ad sizes and formats typically do in head to head competition? This tool lets you get updated industry benchmarks on what's working and what isn't.
Pro tip: Running an international campaign? Different rich media formats will work in different countries. This tool will help you figure out, say, which countries have high ad interaction rates (Germany, 5.12) and which are towards the bottom of the pack (New Zealand, 0.82).
How many of the above are you using? What's your favorite little known Google tool or offering? Let me know in the comments.