Lucy Griffiths

Google’s Most Useful Tools, Applications and Features

12th Feb 2010 News, Industry News 4 minutes to read

Google offer far more than just a search engine. They have become a driving force in online innovation, developing some exceptional tools and programmes along the way. Here, we take a look at some of the most significant of these.

Google AdWords
This is Google’s Pay per Click platform. It provides site owners the opportunity to advertise their site within specific search terms on Google’s SERPs. Within AdWords you will also find the Keyword Tool, which will highlight potential phrases and the competition levels you face. Perfect for websites looking to get additional exposure.

Google Alerts
Get the latest updates in any field delivered straight to your inbox. Alerts scrapes Google News for stories that contain your requested keywords and phrases, then sends the information and links to your email account.

Google Wave
A fully integrated communication platform, Google Wave allows users to share videos and pictures whilst participating in a wide range of conversations. This is still in Beta testing, but should have a general release soon. See ‘Will Google’s Midas Touch Continue with Wave?’

Google Squared
This application allows you to research a subject – be it a place, an animal breed a type of car – with results pulled in from all over the Internet to provide an informed overview of the primary features. Google Squared is a free tool developed by Google Labs. See ‘Google Squared Changes to Look of Conventional Search‘.

Google SquaredGoogle Maps/Street View
This is one of the most advanced mapping services online. It provides detailed road layouts, as well as satellite views and has now incorporated the controversial Street View. Businesses can sign up to Google Maps and have themselves appear for related search terms within their area. This makes it easier for local traffic to find them.  See ‘Creating Your Local Listing in Google Maps‘.

Google Analytics
Another piece of free software, Google Analytics is one of the most widely used analytics packages around. Using a small piece of code embedded within your site, it is able to provide statistical feedback on user activity. All sites should have an analytics programme of some description, and in Analytics, Google provide one of the best.

Google Mail
Gmail is one of the most popular email services around. Accounts are free and feature a wide range of integrated Google products, including the aforementioned Buzz social media add-on.

Google Reader
This application pulls together all of the latest updates from your favourite blogs and news sites. You can include all sorts of data feeds within Google Reader to ensure that you are always kept up-to-date with the latest developments in your areas of interest.

Google Translate
This is a free Internet-based translation service provide by Google. It can translate between 52 languages, quickly and easily. Recent reports also suggest that Google are working on a verbal translation service that will work with their Android phones, although this will take a few years to develop.

Google Voice
This is basically a call forwarding service that runs via the Internet. It means that you can receive calls from a single number, not your regular one, to any phone or device. This allows you to keep a track of all your phone lines and converge them into just one device. It can also pick up your voicemail too.

Google Chrome
Both a free operating system, like Microsoft Windows, and an Internet browser, like, um, Microsoft Internet Explorer. Google Chrome is free to download and provides great support and access to a plethora of Google applications and products.

This is Google’s picture sharing service. Picasa can be integrated with your Blogger blog, Buzz, Wave and Google profile to share your images with the world.

Google Goggles
If you’re out and about, with your Android operated smartphone you can use Google Goggles to take a picture of an object, then receive search results related to it. Simple, free and possibly the future of mobile search. See ‘Google Goggles for Android Powered Mobile Phones, including Nexus‘.

Google Webmaster Tools
Find out exactly how Google views your site. Google Webmaster Tools is another necessity for any website, as it will help to locate any problems that the search engines are having when it comes to indexing your pages.

Google Trends
See what is trending at the moment online with Google trends. Not only can you view the top ten in your field, but you can also type in key phrases and see their latest trending figures. This is perfect for writing targeted blog posts.

Google Trends

Google Fast Flip
Get the front page news from all of the major media outlets. Google Fast Flip allows you to look through publications quickly, with further focus provided by the search function.

Google Applications
Google Applications is available in both a free and a premium version. This includes all of the usual Google applications, plus Google Docs (a version of Microsoft Office), Calendar and Gmail for business (which features a larger storage capacity and advanced filtering). This has been adopted by numerous businesses, councils and educational establishments. You can also have a stripped down version for your computer.

Manage all of your Google applications from one page. iGoogle is a intuitive skin for the Google search engine that can be customised to include any number of features, including your Gmail, social media feeds, Google Reader and any other news or information sources you can think of. Although you have to be signed in to take advantage of it.

Google Insights
Use Google Insights to compare the search volumes of various words and phrases. So if something is trending in your industry, or even in your geographic area, you can easily pinpoint it with this simple programme.

So that’s our list of some of the Google products you may or may not have been aware of. If there are any more that are particularly useful to you, leave a comment below.

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