For the layman, Google is only a Search Engine who also have a Web browser and a free email service (and of course it’s the Youtube and Picasa company). For bloggers and online entrepreneurs, it is an organization to help earn money online and market their products via tools such as AdSense and AdWords. And for the geeks it’s all about Android, Google code, Gears etc.
However, Google is much more than that and it’s getting bigger and bigger day by day. Check out the following free applications and tools which is only a small subset of what Google Labs has today (Sorry for the illogical grouping of desktop apps and web tools)
#1 Google Sketchup
Google Sketchup is a free download program that you can use to build 3D models. It is in fact the scaled down version of the Google Sketchup Pro that costs $495 per license. For most home and personal usage the Sketchup free version would be sufficient. Another important feature of this cool application is the online 3D warehouse that allows you to share, view and use the sketches built by other users. Google owned this product after its acquisition of Last Software in 2006.
#2 Google Building Maker
Google Building Maker is originally part of the Sketchup tool but used more as an addon to the Google Earth plugin. This helps you to draw your own buildings on top of the surface view rendered by Google Earth.
#3 Google Sets
I have talked about Google Sets in the past. This is an extremely handy tool to create a set of related items from examples provided. For example, if you provide AdSense and Bidvertiser as sample set and when you ask for a ‘Large Set’ it provides you a huge list of PPC advertising products. This is particularly useful to do comprehensive research on certain things (e.g. before writing review post about a product, find related products)
#4 Google Web History
Google Web History is part of your Google browser toolbar but people rarely use it. It is an excellent mechanism to remember and catalogue your entire web browsig history. Well, it sounds cool but it can also provide additional intelligence to Google on millions of people’s web usage and this might really help them to start their next business. As such products like browser toolbars are encroaching into your personal browsing space and if they archive your history how could they potentially use it in the future?
#5 Google Flu Trends
Well, Google seem to be feeling responsible for social causes as well and they were quick to react to the Swine flu (and may be other types of flus as well?) pandemic situation. The Flu trends by Google org provides a heat map of the flu spread based on the search intelligence. Not sure how accurate this is but it’s an interesting way of using the search data.
There are several other Google applications and tools such as Google Website Optimizer, Google Gears, Google Moderator etc that are highly underrated and probably need to be talked more about.
If you haven’t yet bookmarked yet, the Google labs is a great place to frequent to understand what might be the next big thing coming out of the Google stable.