Google’s answer to Microsoft Office

A few years ago we were introduced to Google’s Suite of tools and they’ve had a major impact on the way Pixooma is run. But before we start with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ though, lets look at the ‘what’…

What are they?

They’re a suite of tools developed by Google, for free, that cover a wide range of typical office tasks. All of them are online (it is Google after all) and they are:

So what?

  • They’re FREE
  • You can access your files wherever you are
  • You can share the same file with multiple people and give them access rights (to view, comment and/or edit the file). No more needing to email multiple copies around between you and your team, or clients (doesn’t apply to Google Forms)
  • You can have multiple people in the same document at the same time, and you can see them editing in real-time – which is pretty cool (doesn’t apply to Google Forms).
  • They’re always up to date – no need to get new software or updates
  • You can set individual files to be available ‘offline’ when you don’t have an internet connection, and it resyncs with the file when the connection is restored (doesn’t apply to Google Forms)
  • They are a good match for the market-leading alternatives available
  • Did we mention they’re free?

How do we use these tools?

Google Sheets: We’ve used it to keep a record of our website analytics, document our business mileage and list our proposals amongst other things. It is how our business plan was created, updated and shared with our marketing consultant, and we’ve created charts with it for our business plan (which is in Google Docs) that automatically update when there are changes are made to the data.

Google Docs: We use this on a daily basis: Notes in preparation for (and after) meetings, presentation scripts, creating detailed plans for marketing campaigns, our aforementioned business plan and pretty much anything else that needs ‘writing down’. More than anything else we find extremely useful to be able to dip into Docs whenever a thought occurs to us that needs saving because it’s so quick to open a browser window, start a new file and type in a few notes. This is then available anywhere we are and we can tidy it up and make it more presentable when needed, but the mere fact we can use it as a ‘jotter’ is really valuable.

Google Forms: This is a great tool for asking questions of customers, prospects or website visitors. The forms can be anonymous if required, and it has a good range of question types available. You can even set it such that the answer to any given question dictates which question is presented next, which is very powerful, but given the linear way the form is presented, it can be a bit confusing to check and test it as the form gets larger and more complicated. This small reservation aside it is is a great bit of software, and we use it to collect anonymous survey data and for our logo questionnaire which is sent to anyone who enquires about logo design.

Google Slides: This is the only software we don’t currently use, but it is essentially similar to Powerpoint and seems to have the same easy-to-use approach as the other three apps.

Take a look at one or more of these exceptionally versatile Google apps, they could help streamline your business too.

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