Google is the king of productivity: Making the most of your apps.

Long gone are the days that Google was thought of as just a search engine. Nowadays, as an established member of the ‘big four’, Google is responsible a huge number of online tools and apps. The continuing integration of this suite of productivity related magic is also helping new users get to grips with the Cloud. We’ve taken a look through two of Google’s most well known tools, and highlighted some simple but little known tricks to get the most out of their magic.

Gmail: If your company isn’t using Gmail, there has to be a really good reason. No other free service allows such a level of control over your communication. It’s automatic access to apps such as Drive (explained below) and the Calendar means it becomes the one stop shop for organising your information.

Our Gmail tip of the day: manage your traffic with the ‘plus’ trick

This is not the plus you are thinking of though! Completely separate from questionable social networks, the plus feature of gmail addresses means you can customize the traffic entering your inbox and manage it how you want to. If your email is setup like mine, you will have something similar to “firstname.lastname” Adding the ‘+’ symbol and a keyword to the left hand side of your email address can be useful when giving your email address out to large groups or when signing up for newsletters.

For example “firstname.lastname+membership” could be used for your affiliation to a particluar club. Using the amazing filter feature of Gmail, you can tag these emails as soon as they get into your inbox, making organisation that little bit simpler! Other examples are +newsletters for sorting out email lists from personal communications, or +banking for logging into your online accounts.

Give it a try for yourself and see how it can make your life easier!

Drive: Drive is the google answer to Microsoft Office, and a very good one too. Drive gives you the full range of office style tools to allow content creation and editing from the cloud. Access your documents wherever you are. The autosave features are also excellent. Alongside the ease of Cloud access, the ability to share documents with colleagues brings about a whole new era of collaboration. Comments and edits can be made by anyone with access, and ownership is attributed to the correct author, making traceability simple.

Our Drive tip of the day: Set up offline access for your google drive

If you like to work on the go, it’s not realistic to assume you will always have a steady internet connection. Although the synchronization between mobile devices and laptops is excellent, we still cant see many people writing their budget reports on their iphones. We hear from a lot of people who are scared of switching to the cloud in case they cannot use the tools on the road, but this trick solves that problem. Here is where the Google Chrome offline mode comes in handy. Setting up offline mode will allow you to view and edit files, create and rearrange folders, and generally stay productive on the move. When you find a connection again, all these changes will automatically take place!

We’ll be checking in more often over the next few weeks with hints and tips for other useful google tools!

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