4 Free Google Tools You've Never Heard Of That You’ll Like
I was having lunch with my friend Ray van Hilst this week and he mentioned he was headed back to the office to play with Google Charts. This got me thinking about a good blog post to write - this one! I take for granted how much Google offers for free (OK, glass-is-half-emptiers: yes, at the cost of you sharing personal data).
You use Gmail, Google Docs, and Google’s ubiquitous search but have you heard of Think with Google, Consumer Barometer with Google, Google Correlate, or Google Domains? Google has north of 150 consumer-accessible services (at the time of writing) - and those are the ones we know about.
I thought I’d share a few of the ones I’ve come across that are off the beaten trail yet invaluable once you know about them. How else would I have found out what Hawaii, Ohio, and Wisconsin have in common when it comes to bananas? Read on.
Think with Google
Unless you live under a rock, you know the amount of data Google collects is beyond mind boggling. Think with Google curates these data insights in the form of articles, guides, infographics, and email digests you can subscribe to. The quality of the content is second-to-none and backed by the power of the good people in Mountain View.
Are you a marketer looking for inspiration? A CIO looking to stay on top of the latest thinking? I cannot recommend this free Google service enough. Start exploring thinkwithgoogle.com and you’ll get lost in a web of other free Google tools that it references.
Like Starbucks being a real estate empire, many of the businesses we encounter daily are more than meets the eye. Does that robotics maker, social media platform, or even search engine match their functional role in our technology ecosystem? (Robots, networking, and search, respectively?) Or are they really miners of your data that they use to sell you stuff later?
iRobot, the makers of Roomba (that vacuum that does all the dirty work while you're at the office), was recently in the news when it surfaced they may sell floorplans of, and other data about, your home to companies like Google who could then market complementary items to you. This is all to say that one thing I really like about Google is that they’re paying it forward by sharing data back that they hoard about all of us via services like Think with Google.
Consumer Barometer with Google
How do different people around the world use the internet? Use Google’s Consumer Barometer to find out. It’s a huge trove of ever-expanding data presented via research, charts, graphs, and the like. One can drill down and look at specific countries, device preferences, and gain insights on everything from social media sharing to video to conversion rates.
What’s best, you can customize charts then download them to use in your blog [!] or presentation. Consumer being the operative word, Consumer Barometer is perhaps most interesting for those in the business of selling online but I think almost anyone will appreciate it and learn a thing or two. For example, understanding tablet or mobile phone usage is valuable to anyone who operates a website.
With 45 countries represented there’s a lot to play with! If your organization operates in another country, Consumer Barometer with Google is a good way to take the pulse, as it were, of trends that you may not be as familiar with day-to-day from wherever you live.
Enter any term and Google Correlate will spit back a list of search terms that match the entered term’s frequency over a specified period of time. You enter heat wave and you may see it correlates to people searching for cooling centers in their city.
Besides being a bit fun, there are real-world applications in finance, healthcare, and the like. I entered bananas and saw that that term tracks very closely to people querying how many grams of protein? If I was in the banana business, I’d want to feature content across my publishing platforms that focused on their protein content (1.3 grams, by the way).
Sticking with my example, one can also look at how bananas correlates with other terms organized by US state. When looking at the data this way, I saw that bananas is associated with stains on clothes (why such a bad rap?) and most frequently popped-up in Hawaii followed by South Carolina, Ohio, then Wisconsin. Who knew?
Think about how you could use these types of insights within your own organization or business. I’m interested in mobile app development and used Google Correlate to see that this term trends with featured image. Now all I need to do is build a mobile app that can feature images and I’ll be a billionaire!
By the way, you may be wondering how all of this is different than Google Trends (yet another free Google tool). WIth Google Trends, you enter a term and you’ll see how often that term was searched over a period of time - no correlating terms here.
I own quite a few domains and I was always frustrated by the privacy fees charged annually by my registrar, GoDaddy. The fee was optional but kept my personal information (e.g. address, phone number) from being made publically available. When one has a private WHOIS listing (the protocol one uses to view a domain’s owner), an intermediary gets listed instead and any communication is filtered through.
Along came Google Domains. You can register a new domain and/or transfer all of the ones you own and privacy is included at no additional cost. The registration fees are competitive and it’s a no-brainer with free privacy thrown in. As an added benefit, the user interface is clean and efficient and has nice integrations with email, website providers (e.g. Shopify, Squarespace), and no ads or annoying upsells. It’s all very Googley.
By the way, did you know there was a .google top level domain? I didn't until I discovered domains.google. Common examples of top level domains are .com and .org. I think only Googlers can register .google though, otherwise I would have snapped-up adamhostetter.google because, Google.
There’s nothing like using Google Domains to manage all of the .coms and .orgs in your life. A streamlined interface and no upsells make domain management painless and easy. I look forward to logging-in and maintaining my list of domains now. Next, bring out your inner data scientist with Google Correlate. Uncover trends and surprising patterns that may change the way you approach business on and offline. If nothing else, exploring with Google Correlate will get your creative juices flowing. Google Barometer is perfect when you need a chart for your next presentation or blog post. Finally, put Think with Google on your daily read list. The insightful, well written, and even beautiful articles are keenly satisfying and informed by the ginormous stockpiles of data upon which Google sits.