Think you know Google? Think again, as The URL Dr. discovered at a recent small business retreat sponsored by the Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center. In a presentation entitled “Google to Great: Version 2.0”, self proclaimed “google-ologist” and president of W3Consulting, Ray Sidney-Smith discussed the immense power and range of Google. Within the next few months, Sidney-Smith will be publishing his first management technology book, called “Google Your Small Business” which will outline how to take advantage of the well over 500 Google based products and services to manage and market entire companies, small to large.
Some of the take-aways from the Google to Great presentation included:
- Google+-we’ve all heard about Google’s version of social center, but are you using it? If you are not, now is the time. According to Sidney-Smith, Google has done it right and that Google+ is bar none the smartest, most usable social media system out there. Not just a social center, but an identity service with “circles” of interest instead of “friends” and a Skype-like Hang-outs. Hang-outs allow you to use video/audio/or text messaging, but also whiteboard and collaborative services with up to 10 people. You can also use Hang-outs to record a broadcast or webinar, do customer Q&A from your computer or any mobile device.
- Google Offers-much like Living Social, but aligns the offers with your hobbies and preferences. No more being bombarded with service offers you will never use. Sidney-Smith used the example of his fondness for Indian food, which the Google system knows, so he will get Google Offers for different Indian restaurants when he travels. 9 times out of 10, he uses these offers and has discovered great Indian food all over the country.
- Google Chromecast-Google’s new $35 streaming media player that is about the size of a thumb drive. Basically it plugs into any HDTV and automatically connects to WiFi. From there, you send the device anything from your other devices.
- Google Apps and Google Drive-A suite of communication apps including ways to share videos with varying levels of privacy, and Google Drive, a cloud based way to access, share, and collaborate with documents.
Google Fiber-The search engine giant’s gigabit broadband network project promises to change the way you access the internet, at least in three U.S. cities, that can take advantage of connections speeds of 1 gigabyte per second upload and download. Google Fiber is now available on in Kansas City, Provo, UT, and Austin, TX and could change the landscape of these less than techy towns. Expansion to other cities is currently on the backburner.
- Google Shopping Express-Google’s take on Amazon.com, but with same day delivery within hours of your purchase online using Google’s version of PayPal called Google Wallet. Selling just about anything except perishables, and partnering with large and small local retailers, the service is currently being test marketed in the San Fransisco Bay and San Jose areas. It could be a game changer for local retailers being edged out by Amazon.com. Sidney-Smith also mentioned that “never to be outdone” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ real reasoning in buying the Washington Post was based on creating a distribution network for AmazonFresh in the Washington DC market.
Needless to say, Google is going places and their intent is most simply understanding people, but also providing ways to organize your business and your life. It appears there are an endless variety of ways in which Google products can impact your life.