Ever clicked on the ‘more’ link just above and to the right of Google’s search box?
Google more
It’s got to be the Web’s best kept secret. Behind the discreet little hyperlink lies Google’s veritable goldmine of products, services and offerings. Some of them you’ll be familiar with – Adsense, Gmail and Google Earth are terms you may have stumbled across in recent times.
But did you know the mighty search machine also offers a Financial portal, web-based Calendar, Book search, Video directory, and that there’s even a Health portal on the horizon? Let me offer you a glimpse into some of the nifty tools Google has hidden behind the ‘more’ link.
Gmail – Google’s webmail service. Competitor to Hotmail and Yahoo! mail, Gmail offers over 2 GB of storage space, a smooth Ajax-powered interface, integrated IM and Talk (Instant Messaging) service, virus scanning, free POP access (unique to Gmail – allows you to receive Gmail in Outlook), mobile compatibility, an address book, spam filtering, and the list goes on. Signing up for a free Google account also opens up the option of a Google Personalized homepage – another great feature. Read more about Gmail here.
Calendar – Google’s calendar service. Recently launched and fully integrated with Gmail, Calendar offers the following features (taken from the overview page):
Calendar Sharing – set up a calendar for your company action cricket team, and share it with the whole roster. Or share with friends and family so you can view each other’s schedules side by side. Invitations – create event invitations, send them to friends, and keep track of people’s responses and comments, all in one place. Your friends can receive your invitation and post responses even if they don’t use Google Calendar themselves. Gmail Integration – add your friend’s Super 14 braai to your calendar without ever leaving your Gmail inbox. Gmail now recognizes events mentioned in emails. Search – find the exact date of the same braai (you knew it was sometime this summer) using Google powerful search technology. Or, search public calendars to discover new events you’re interested in and add them to your own calendar. Mobile Access – receive event reminders and notifications on your mobile phone. Read more about Google Calendar here.
If you hadn’t figured it out yet, Gmail + Calendar = Outlook online. And it’s free. And it’s web-based, so you access your personal information from any mobile, connected device, anywhere in the world, anytime. While we’re talking about an online office suite, it’s worth mentioning that Google purchased Writely earlier this year, a web-based word processor that rivals MS Word in functionality and performance.
As increased broadband connectivity, albeit slow in coming, improves our access to the Web, it is becoming more and more feasible to shift your entire personal desktop online. For free.
Moving on…
If you’re into tracking the online buzz to make sure you’re at the cutting edge of new developments in your industry, around your brand or even mentions of your own name, use the following powerful tools:
Alerts – once again free with a Google account, Alerts allows you to enter a search term once-off, and have updated results sent to you via email when they appear on the Web. I have alerts for my client’s company names, my favourite search topics (youth markets, as an example), and more. If you find you regularly check Google for the same or similar search terms, set up an Alert and have the results delivered to you instead. Nifty!
Blog Search – If you’re still in the dark with regards to blogs and blogging I’ve written muchos info here. Blog Search will help you keep track of what is being said in blogs worldwide.
Trends – still in Labs (development) phase, Google Trends allows you to compare search term results graphically. The search will highlight news results corresponding to the graph and normalise results by region and city, if necessary. As an experiment, try running a search for ‘Nedbank, ABSA’ and peruse the results. To quote Steve Rubel, PR expert and A-list blogger: “This tool is a must-bookmark for every PR person and marketer worldwide. Search is so important to how brands are perceived. As I noted earlier today, it’s critical to understand how people are searching for you and your competitors. The news volume tool is an awesome value add for PR measurement.” And it’s free.
There are stacks of other value-added services hidden behind Google’s discreetly placed ‘more’ link. My advice – take some time out to explore the possibilities and try out some of the products. You’ll soon be Googleized.

TomorrowToday Global