Even non-tech-savvy users have jumped on the Google Docs bandwagon and almost everyone seems to have a Gmail address these days.
But there are five (more than that, but I’m just going to tell you about five right now) other free applications and services Google offers that you may want to explore — especially if you’re looking for no-cost ways to increase productivity.
Stretching Free Google Apps
Google Voice, Google Project Hosting, Knol, SketchUp and Picasa are free from Google and they offer user-friendly ways to accomplish a lot of tasks businesses will find valuable.
Google Voice – Get a phone line
Google Voice gives you virtually complete control over as many as six different phones. You use one number to control them all. You can record calls in real-time, turn your voice mails into text, send text messages and even make inexpensive calls overseas. Features like these are something business people accustomed to dealing with the old office phone systems used to dream about.
Google Project Hosting – Manage your open source code project
If you’re involved in an open source code project, Google Project Hosting will help you keep everything organized and your project moving forward. All the tools you need are available online and there’s plenty of help and tutorials to answer all your questions. You’ll find wiki pages, member controls, Subversion/Mercurial/Git repository, an issue tracker and a downloads section ready and waiting for you.
Google’s Knol – Share your expertise
You’re an expert on something, right? Why not let other people know about it and publish some articles Google’s Knol? Once you’ve crafted some good articles and have uploaded them to Knol, send links to your customers and all your social media contacts. It’s great publicity. Use links in emails and company webpages that will build your status and provide a valuable service to your clients.
Google SketchUp – Draw something cool in 3D
Okay, maybe James Cameron didn’t use Google SketchUp to design his 3D world in the movie “Avatar,” but he could have gotten darn close. This great free download allows you to model virtually anything you can imagine. With a little assistance from an extensive help library and video tutorials, you can unleash the creative beast that’s trapped inside.
Google Picasa – Edit photos quickly
Continuing with free Google applications that will help you get the best out of the right side of your brain, give Picasa a try. This free download will let you edit and organize your photos. You can accomplish many of the most important and useful photo editing techniques quite simply. Get rid of red-eye. Correct the color balance. You can even add text to photos, which can really come in handy when you’re putting together promotional materials.
I’ve only hit the highlights here. Each of these services or applications has extensive online documentation. Take a few minutes to explore each one. I’m certain you’ll find some very useful features that will end up saving you both time and money.