There are few places left on the planet where people are unfamiliar with what “Google” is (unless one travels deep into the amazon). Yet, despite this, it’s surprising how few people are aware of the mega-corporation’s high-tech and completely free software for businesses. Google’s philosophy of giving away top-notch productivity and business resources has been a boon to the world—so the question remains if you’re utilizing Google to its full potential.
Let’s take a look at the essential Google tools that any entrepreneur can immediately implement.
The G-Suite Basics
The vast majority of internet users are already familiar with some aspect of Google’s “G-Suite”—which are Google’s most fundamental tools. The G-Suite is divided into programs and platforms designed to optimize communication, collaboration, and finally storage space. We’ll take a look at each one.
Google’s Communicative Platforms
Enhanced by Google Drive and the rest of the G-Suite, few other mail browsers compare to the power that comes with Gmail. The most immediate benefit is how through Drive integration it’s possible to send and receive large files—which could be invaluable for some businesses.
While connected to your mail browser you can also quickly reach out to people through the rest of the communication tools (Hangouts, Google +). If your entire company is connected to Google you may find there’s less need for an expensive multi-platform software because G-Suite is already doing the job.
• Google Hangouts
Aside from being an awesome alternative to video chatting services like Skype, Hangouts allows up to 25 people to attend HD conferencing. Keep in mind only a few years ago this type of service was expensive and required specialty platforms (that are likely out of business by now).
• Google Calendar
A company can use Google Calendar to easily and effectively ensure everybody is reminded of upcoming events. It can also help employee to always stay informed about what his or her duties are for that day, and it provides an excellent way to manage workflow and prevent conflicting schedules. Calendar has been streamlined over years to be a highly effective tool—so why not take advantage of it?
I suppose it’s necessary to be brutally honest—as a popular social media platform to attract young people and beat out Facebook and Instagram . . . Google+ didn’t exactly succeed. However, many users find a lot of value in Google+ especially in regard to reaching out to niche communities. By utilizing the platform’s “Circle”-based communities there’s an excellent opportunity to network within a niche and bring interest toward your brand.
Collaboration, Teamwork and Office Features
• Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms,
Often highlighted together, although separate tools. This is a complete word processing, presentation and spreadsheet collection that can work in lieu of any expensive office suite. It can be very costly setting up a normal office suite for an entire company to use—but with Google to the rescue, these tools can hold a startup over for a long time until switching. However, some users may decide to keep Google’s platform permanently.
On a personal note, I think these programs work just as effectively as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word, etc. However, issues sometimes arise in terms of cross-compatibility. Further, Microsoft Word has more features for professional presentations. It’s still a great deal since you’re getting it all for free, though.
• Google Sites
A very useful tool that allows you to create Wiki-style pages for your business. Need an online resource of tools that your employees can quickly reference? Just whip it up using Sites and soon your employees can collaborate, share files and post updates—without ever having to hire some expensive web designer.
• Google Drive
With 15 gigabytes of free cloud-storage for every user, this is often enough for average users to store files and send large attachments via e-mail. However, there are also paid storage plans going up to 30 terabytes at $300 / month. Drive is highly functional with the rest of G-Suite and allows users to easily exchange files between each other. A cheap plan of 100 gb is a mere $2 / month and may be enough for companies that are not storing too many media-heavy files.
Jamboard is a super fun cloud-based whiteboard that a company can use to help with presentations. Just don’t leave it on after the meeting is over unless you want employees to start goofing around with it. It’s the newest addition to the G-Suite and is not quite available yet, stay tuned.