“Let me Google that” has taken on a new meaning. Far beyond a search engine, Google has expanded into a myriad of 45+ free online tools in subjects ranging from media to finance, and businesses are starting to catch on. Why not test drive one of these free online tools for your office?

6 Free Google Tools Your Office Should Be Using

6 Free Google Tools Your Office Should Be Using

Google Fusion Tables

This robust tool allows users to import or create data charts, choose a way to visualize the figures, and share the data in a matter of minutes. Data can be presented as pie charts, line or bar graphs, maps, timelines, and more. Plus, you can merge an existing table with another in one step. While it is still in beta, Fusion Tables is already a comprehensive application that makes table creation and sharing easy—and who doesn't like easy?

Google Scholar

If you do any sort of research in your business, crediting your information to a random website or Wikipedia won't always fly with a client. Google Scholar steps in as a database for reputable, scholarly publications you only used to find through a library. You can specify a timeframe for the publish date, display only articles that include citations, and many more search-narrowing parameters to find just the article you are looking for.

Google Trends

You don't have to be an analytics specialist to discover what people are searching for and when. Go to Google Trends and enter a search term—say, “iPhone”. A timeline appears with metrics showing how often that term was searched over the years, and letters labeling certain events along the timeline with corresponding news articles to the right. For our chart, it is clear that “iPhone” searches peaked when news articles broke announcing new products like the iPhone 4 in June 2010. You can also find a breakdown of which regions, cities, and languages were searching the most for this term—Vietnamese-speaking users Singapore, in the iPhone's case.

Google Checkout

Manage all office purchases from one location, and you will find that it's easier to track and organize your finances. That's the idea behind Google Checkout, an application designed to let you buy from e-stores across the web, then keep track all of your orders from one convenient place. As an added bonus, Google Checkout offers fraud protection and can help keep your email address confidential, minimizing unwanted emails from stores.

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Google Calendar

You've probably heard of this popular online calender for personal use, but it's also a handy office coordination tool. Invite the entire office to share one calender, and post schedules, appointment availability slots, time-off, and other information that is helpful for the entire office to know. When meetings are scheduled, Google Calender offers to send email invitations to which users can RSVP to on the spot. Then, it can remind users when meetings are coming up. Finally, everyone can stay on the same page at all times, because the calender can be accessed from any browser at any time.

Google Docs

Ever wish everyone could access the same spreadsheet or document and see the most current version at all times? With Google Docs, you can. This application allows you to create and store text documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentations, and even drawings that others can be invited to access and edit. This online tool is especially useful for telecommuting or intra-office communication, but works well for inter-office collaboration.

These are only 6 of Google's many free online tools that work well. Which free online office tools, Google or otherwise, would you add to this list?

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