Google is taking over… and I am enabling them

This is going to be a series on how I use Google and all it’s products. I will be evaluating my use and potential positive uses of their products. Believe it or not, some of these free services could assist with homelessness, joblessness and overall community needs. Stay tuned for more.

Google is getting out of control, but can you blame the search engine giant? I mean it’s amazing what has changed in the past 5 years. They’ve gone from taking the search engine  title to having great email options, online documents, ways to share documents, photos, slide-shows online and more. It’s amazing what’s possible, and they are definitely the group to push copyright and legal buttons. I can’t blame them, they do it so well.

To tell you the truth, their power scares me. To have them looking to being an internet provider in the future is terrifying to me. A friend recently pointed out that the FCC just isn’t doing much about them. I shouldn’t complain because I’m enabling them to remain at the top.

Recently I evaluated my Google use. It’s astonishing how much I use Google. My wedding planning is all in Google Docs, my budget in their spreadsheets, one of my freelance gigs talks to authors via Google groups and that’s just off the top of my head. If Google disappeared tomorrow, I’d be royally screwed.

I use:

  • Gmail – their chat, and compatibility across platforms is amazing. I can’t help but use Gmail for everything.
  • iGoogle – this is a great way for me to have a homepage, especially at work. I can watch Twitter, Facebok, stocks, news and keep track of email with one glance.
  • Google docs– I’m in the process of planning my wedding and my family and friends are all in different states. Since my parents are paying a portion of the costs, a shared Google spreadsheet is a great way to keep them up to date on everything, all the time.
  • Google reader – instead of having 3,672 feeds go into my inbox, I have them in my Reader. This allow me to organize blogs and RSS feeds by category. It’s great for organization and priority reading.
  • Google profile– I like to have everything in one place. I think this could be used for a future
  • Google calendar – Coordinating schedules and meetings across time zones is not an easy task. When I use Google Cal I can share my appointments and phone meetins with collegues, bridesmaids and more. I can make my calendar public but have events private. If this one feature disappeared I don’t know if I would remember to go to my M-F 9-5 job. Yes, it’s that bad.
  • Google groups –  I keep track of my blog ideas and some relating documents.
  • Google voice – I have family and friends world wide and this is helping my pocketbook with cheap calling options. Did I mention that I love having my voice mails transcribed?
  • Google wave – I use this to work with people on events and project updates. To me it’s turning into a message board. I do wish that I could figure out how to attach a Google doc to a wave.

This are the only ones that I know I use almost daily. That’s right, Google has me hooked. That’s why they are so successful.

Right now I’m freelancing for some businesses and non-profits, so I’ve been looking into project management systems. More specifically, Basecamphq.com and their other product Backpack. However, after looking more into Google groups and how I’m able to invite people and share documents, I’m inclined to stick with Google for free. Right now I don’t need to track project time or tasks between co-workers since I’m the only one. Oh, and a feature for some project management systems is that they can also email new posts- Google groups does to. For free.

I feel like a cheap person.

What Google products do you use religiously? Do you balance use of various programs to try to support other groups?

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