Using Google Apps in your business

Anthony Caruana
13 October, 2014
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Productivity

Google Apps, drive, business, macworld australiaFor many of us, Google is where we go to search for things online and where we read our email. But there’s a lot more to Google Apps.

Google Drive

Although Dropbox is probably the most well-known and popular cloud storage service, Google’s Drive is no slouch.

Although many would be aware of the free offering of up to 15GB of data shared between Google Drive and Gmail for consumers, business users can access unlimited storage for $10 per user per month.

For that, you can sync files between your computer and the cloud making it easy to move between computers and mobile devices such as your iPad or iPhone. You can also share large files with clients easily by sending them a private link to data stored on Google Drive and you have a spare copy of your data stored away from your computer should disaster strike.

Forms

There are times when you need to collect data or want to conduct a survey. For example, you might be conducting a sales event or want to canvas your staff’s view on something. Forms lets you create professional-looking online surveys easily.

The data that’s collected is automatically fed into a spreadsheet that can be manipulated and analysed using Google’s Sheets application. Or you can download the file and use your preferred desktop spreadsheet application.

Hangouts

We live and work in a world where collaboration is critical. Hangouts lets you set up video conferences with up to 15 parties using computers, tablets and smartphones.

As Google’s tools are multiplatform, you can be assured that clients and colleagues can easily connect.

One of the neat features of hangouts is the ability to screen share. This allows one of the conference participants to share their screen so the others can see it. They can also hand control over so remote conference participants can directly interact and manipulate what’s on the screen.

Sites

Chances are, a designer and some technical gurus created your corporate web site. However, there are times when a simple website would be handy for a specific project. Sites makes it easy to spin up a website for sharing project documents and connecting team members.

For a small business on a budget, Sites is a great way to establish your web presence. Although Google isn’t a registrar – someone that can sell you a domain name – they can automate that process so that your newly created site can be easily hooked up to your company’s domain name. Similarly, that domain can be used on your email and other corporate, online services through Google.

Docs, Sheets and Slides

Google was the first company to deliver some serious competition to Microsoft when it comes to corporate productivity. Until a few years ago, there was very little competition for Microsoft as they had seen off all of the early market leaders including the original spreadsheet, Visicalc, and long-time leader in word processing WordPerfect.

One of the great features of Google productivity application suite is the ability to have multiple contributors work on a document at the same time. For example, if your sales team are working on a proposal, you can have different people editing different parts of the document at the same time with all of their changes being saved.

Mail and Calendar

Google’s initial foray into our offices was through email. That was a decade ago when Gmail was lanced as an invitation-only service. In an era when email services offered just a few megabytes of storage, Google’s offer of 1GB seemed ridiculous. It took a few years for the market to catch up.

Today, Gmail and Calendar are the products that get many companies started in their journey with Google Apps.

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