Tag Archive | "Google Wave"

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Welcome to Googleland: Are You Lost Like Alice?

Posted on 23 March 2010 by Eric Alpin

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably realized that Google is everywhere.  Yes, everywhere.  Not only is Google.com the most popular search engine on the Internet, the company also runs one of the most popular webmail clients (Gmail), an advertising agency (Google AdWords), and even photo management software (Picasa).  In essence, your online world is becoming Googleland.  The Google enterprise is much more than just a simplified search engine; it’s a company that is giving you the tools to do your job in a more efficient manner than ever before.

Are you taking advantage of all the resources Google gives you?  Do you have your road map for Googleland and do you harness the power of all the tools that are available?  If you’re like most people, you’re lost and you don’t know where to begin.

Let’s take a look at a few of the tools that Google offers to you – for free – and how you can maximize your productivity.

Gmail

This is probably the most famous Google tool next to the search engine.  Gmail first came on the scene in 2004 and was smash hit with techies and time management gurus.  Google revolutionized the webmail industry, offering perks and benefits that were unheard of at the time.  Nearly 150 million people use Gmail and the number of users continues to grow.

Gmail displays all of your emails like threads so they are easily organized.  Instead of having 7 different emails with “Re:” in the front, Gmail creates threads that display your message data in a continuous stream.  Also, each Gmail user is given 7.5 GB of email space so there is no need to ever delete your messages to conserve room.

If you sort through a lot of email each day or have an email address that receives a lot of messages, I would suggest using Gmail.  (Gmail supports mail forwarding so feel free to forward emails from one address [sample@yourdomain.com] to a Gmail account.) Also, there is a Gmail app for nearly ever Smartphone and can be accessed remotely.  Gmail will save you a ton of time and effort.  I promise.

Google Docs

Google Docs launched in late 2005 and 2006, allowing users to create online word processor documents and spreadsheets.  Over time, Google introduced the ability to create presentations and forms.  Now, Google Docs allows you to upload any file and share it with others, whether they are using Google or not.

This is a great tool for collaboration and for sharing information.  If you are in business with one, two, or fifty other people, Google Docs will save you headaches and technical problems.  Folk Media uses Google Docs for nearly 80% of our collaboration and publishing and we don’t know how we’d function without it.

Also, if you are on the road a lot, Google Docs is a great place to store your files for remote access.  No more cumbersome flash drives or online storage accounts.  Google Docs will take care of everything you need.

Google Wave

Google Wave is one of the newest Google tools, debuting in late 2009.  Google Wave is a unique tool that allows people to collaborate real-time in “waves,” or brainstorming windows.  For example, if I am organizing a party and I need to know what everyone on my guest list will be bringing, I can invite everyone to a Google Wave and we can share what we’re bringing.  Wave differs from Google Docs because the user is able to see what another individual is typing at any given time.  If I want to bring brownies, Sally next door can see that I am typing “I will bring brownies” and she’ll decide to bring drinks.

Other cool features of Google Wave include formatting options for each user and the ability to edit anything within the Wave.

What is a practical use for Google Wave?  Anything relating to brainstorming or sharing.  Let’s say that you want to have a brainstorming session regarding some new social media marketing tactics but every member of the team has a different schedule and can’t make it to a face-to-face meeting.  Create a Wave, invite everyone, and get the ideas flowing.  It’s that easy.

Google offers an enormous amount of resources and most of them can help you out in your day-to-day life.  Using Google products will allow for you to be an efficient and easily-managed individual and, if you own a small business, a better business person.  Organization is key in this maddening world of the Internet and Google gives you the tools to stay ahead of the curve.  If you’ve never used them, I challenge you to begin using them today.  If you’re already a Google user, try a different tool that you’ve never touched before.  See what Google can do for you.

Don’t be like Alice.  Get a map and master the world of Googleland.


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Eric-Alpin-Photo
Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

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*Photo by nilob

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Google Buzz For Mobile … Is Twitter Mobile Dead?

Posted on 15 February 2010 by Joel Mark Witt

Google Buzz has certainly shaken up the social media world in the past week. It is estimated that Gmail (Google’s email service) has over 100 million users. That a HUGE instant user base for Google Buzz since it is tied directly to Gmail.

If all Gmail users adopt Google Buzz it would instantly become the second largest social network in the world after Facebook.

And I think the mobile app that Google has built for Buzz will propel it forward faster than some might think. Introducing Google Buzz for mobile: See buzz around you and tag posts with your location.

For example, I’m running Buzz on my iPhone and it has some great features. (It is also available for the Android – visit Google.com/mobile/buzz for more details) It is a clean design that works very well on the iPhone. You can check your friend’s status updates, comment on them and post your own updates.

Buzz also uses the iPhone GPS to find people who are posting near you geographically. I would really like to test out Google Buzz at a conference or event. I think it will do a great job connect people who are discussing the same topics in real time.

Whether or not Google Buzz is a major player in the social media space (and I think it will be) you should probably error on the side of taking some type of proactive measure. You can read my previous post about the action steps to take right now to be ready for Buzz to be a big deal for your business.

What are your thoughts on all this?

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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership and How To Use Social Media To Find A Better Job. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

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Google Buzz In Gmail… Is Twitter Dead?

Posted on 11 February 2010 by Joel Mark Witt

Twitter is dead? I don’t think so.

“Twitter is dead.”

That’s what I’ve heard some people say because of the new Google Buzz application. But here’s the deal… Twitter is not dead… yet. Dismiss people who make wild claims about the death of any particular tool or application.

I’m loving Buzz. It’s bringing the conversation to me… in my Gmail inbox … where I live most of the time.

My guess is that MOST people still live inside their inbox and Google Buzz will help them keep going without always switching to an outside platform. Before Buzz, you had to leave you email to visit Twitter and use the service, unless you had a primitive application like Twitter Gadget running inside your Gmail account.

What is Google Buzz?

Buzz is Google’s idea to layer on a social network of sorts right inside your Gmail inbox. You can post status updates, long form messages, links, photos and even video. It is so new most people are still asking “what can it be used for?”

The upside

Google Buzz can be used to keep in touch with your friends, family or co-workers in real-time and broaden the private closed nature of email and chat to a public forum.

Simply put, it’s kind of like making your chats and emails public (when you choose to) so that a discussion can ensue around them. You will still have your private email and chat for one-to-one communication, but this gives you another option.

I personally think the concept of status updates and public discussion might be easier to grasp with Google Buzz than it was for folks to get with Twitter. People are already used to email. They can simply experiment with Buzz as an extension of a tool they already know how to use.

By notifying you in your inbox each time someone comments on a Buzz posting, you are more likely to continue the conversation than if someone @replies to a message on Twitter.

Google Buzz will send you a notification email if someone comments on one of your Buzz posts, someone comments on another person’s post that you commented on and someone mentions you using an @ symbol the same way they would on Twitter.

The basic features of Google Buzz include:

  • Automatic friends lists. Your friends are added automatically based on who you email the most.
  • Photo and video sharing
  • Advanced settings to seperate public and private messages
  • Plays well with Gmail. Makes it easy to keep up with conversations because of it’s close tie to your inbox.
  • Recommendation feature will actually recommend people to follow and “learn” about who I’d like to connect with based on my comments. (a little creepy but what about Google isn’t a little creepy these days… right?)

The downside

I can also see Buzz seeming TOO much like email and people feeling an obligation to go back and read posts in retro. That’s how we use email. We feel compelled to read every message.

The beauty of Twitter and Friendfeed is that once the stream of information passes by you by it is easy to let the old messages go. You “dip in” the stream of information when you can. With Twitter you don’t “archive” things to read later. It is a much simpler form of information flow.

Some people argue that everyone will now have to build up yet another network. But in reality, you’ve already built a network with your Gmail contacts… right?

Right now the only networks Buzz will import are:

  • Picasa Web
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Blogger

What Google Buzz will kill – or at least challenge

Is Friendfeed needed anymore?

Google Buzz eerily reminds me of Friendfeed. It pretty much replaces the basic Friendfeed functionality in my mind. You can comment on a post like Friendfeed. Other useful features include the abiltiy to reply privately to a post via email.

Stop waving and start buzzing

I think Google Buzz really puts a hurting on Google Wave. To me Wave felt complicated, awkward and lived OUTSIDE my Gmail inbox. Buzz takes the basic idea of Wave (the merging of email and Twitter), places it inside my inbox and makes it easy for anyone to understand.

Twitter growth could slow since it is virtually reduced to a distribution channel

Because Google Buzz incorporates so many elements of Twitter and does it inside a practical business tool (email), it could slow the growth of Twitter particularly those who are latecomers to the micro-blogging site. Think about it. A 45-year-old executive already uses Gmail and now has the ability to have public discussions and posts right inside the email application. Is there really reason to try and use Twitter for any more than another distribution channel?

The idea of Twitter being reduced to a distribution channel is dependent on Google Buzz allowing outbound communications. At the time of this post they only allow the importation of your Twitter feed INTO Buzz but not the other way around.

Here are your action steps to take right now

Set up a Google profile and make sure it’s updated and ready.

All the Google Buzz posts will be displayed publicly on your Google profile. So it’s a good idea to have your Google profile ready.

The big downside to a Google profile is that you HAVE to use your Gmail name for your vanity URL. For example, I’ve been using Gmail long before I decided on my Twitter username: @joelmarkwitt. So my Gmail account is simply ‘joelwitt’ making my Google profile URL: http://www.google.com/profiles/joelwitt

Every other platform on the web from Friendfeed, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and and LinkedIn I’ve been using ‘joelmarkwitt.’ So, several months ago I registered a second gmail account with this username.

I suggest that you register the username you use for all your other online presence with Google. This way you can make it your vanity URL for a Google profile. Of course my big problem was that I had built up all my contacts and emails in your my original Gmail account. So I simply put a message on my ‘joelmarkwitt’ profile to point people to my “official” Google profile.

Start playing around with updates

This is the best time to start messing around with Google Buzz. Right now it is so new and everyone is experimenting with the application. Make a few updates. Comment on other’s posts. Get your feet wet and begin to see how this can be used for your professional life or business. Speaking of business, rumor has it that Google will be rolling Buzz out to all their enterprise business users very soon – so it will be interesting to see how it can be used on an enterprise level.

Follow Folk Media on Google Buzz

Official Google Buzz Links

Introducing Google Buzz

Google Buzz in Gmail

Readers: Get your Buzz on

Introducing Google Buzz for mobile: See buzz around you and tag posts with your location.


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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership and How To Use Social Media To Find A Better Job. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

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