Show me somebody who has not performed a Google search at least once in their lives and I’ll show you somebody who has never touched a computer in their lives. Google has become a mainstay in our everyday lives. Students Google potential topics for their studies. Sports fans Google their favorite players to find out more about them. Movie lovers Google films before they’re released in hopes of finding even the tiniest tidbits of information about the plot and the stars. Heck, people like me even Google our own names to see what’s on the Internet about us (this isn’t always vanity as this is a great way to discover if you’re a victim of identity theft). Google is on our PCs and our cell phones, in our homes and our jobs, at our fingertips and in our pockets. With how much Google is in our lives, it still surprises people that Google offers so much more than web search.
That’s where my new weekly feature, Tech Tips Tuesday, comes into play. While the focus of my weekly articles will be on tech tips in general, I want to really dig into the Googlization of our lives and the many tools and toys Google offers for our use, many of them free of charge. Some of you may have already discovered the joys of Gmail, which I consider the best free email service available. What you may not know is that Google offers many productivity enhancing tools like Google Calendar, Google Docs, even a task list to help you get things done. Think of all the money you can spend on Microsoft Office (the Home and Business version, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, costs almost $300). Unless you’re going to become a power user on every one of those applications, you’ll never get a full return on your investment in Office. Trust me – I’m a Microsoft Certified Professional and Trainer with certifications in Office applications. Google offers all of the functionality of Microsoft Office at a much better price, plus you don’t have to worry about using up hard drive space on your computer. On top of that, there are many other features of Google that go beyond productivity.
What does it take to start using Google? If you’ve been performing Google searches, you’ve already taken the first step, but to really take advantage of all that Google has to offer, you need one thing:
This is your homework assignment. Yes, I’m assigning you homework. Told you I was a trainer. By the time you read my next Tech Tips Tuesday article, you need to have your own Google account set up. If you already have one, then you get a gold star. If you don’t, I have one suggestion – Set up an account and create your new Gmail address at the same time. This will give you access to the best email service out there AND prepare you for my next tech tip!
If you already have a Google account and use the various Google tools, feel free to post a comment about your favorite Google tool and/or how Google has helped you in some way.