By Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR.
Google, in my humble opinion, is the most amazing invention since anything else I can really think of. And Google is not just a big search engine, although it would still be awesome if that’s all it did.
Google has been offering a suite of incredibly powerful tools for years; way before ‘in the clouds’ become the next big thing for companies like Apple and Microsoft. And to make it even better, Google has recently created a platform for musicians that offers even further tools that will help independent musicians all over the world to thrive in the digital world called ‘Google Apps‘.
Google is, quite simply, a portal that truly puts all of the worlds electronic information at your fingertips – there’s a good reason why the word “Google” has become synonymous with searching online.
Here are 7 Google Apps designed to help you through all of Google’s awesomeness and use it to your benefit.
1. Google Alerts
Have you ever spent hours trying to track down articles on a certain subject, topic or even about your band / your brand? With Google Alerts, whatever words you select will be searched by Google and emails will be delivered to in your in-box.
To Setup A Google Alert
- Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
- Choose your search terms.
- You may include wildcard characters (*) to expand the search to find words containing the search terms, i.e. “fi*” will return results for “fish,” as well as “ficus”
- Use quotation marks (“ Cyber PR ”) to search for only the exact words in the search, in the exact order entered
- Choose the type of alert you would like.
- Select the frequency of alert emails.(Daily works best)
- Enter the email to which you would like the alerts emailed
2. Google Blog Search
This is basically a filter for only searching blogs; and with 270 million blogs out there, on top of all the websites, this is a great filter for all the noise. This is also a great place to track your band on blogs. To search on Google’s Blog search, go to this link: http://blogsearch.google.com/
If you still have an AOL or hotmail address, you’re in trouble. Gmail just may be the best e-mail program/website on the planet. Many bloggers and new media makers use Gmail and it shows you’re in the know, so get signed up.
Google e-mail is so wonderful because it is searchable by topic or by word, and Google provides you with a huge amount of storage space.
Using Gmail as your default mail host, you can set up an URL and add GoDaddy for 7.95, then point it to the server and voila! You have a customized e-mail addresses for free.
4. Google Drive
Google Drive (formerly Google docs) is, in essence, the entire Microsoft Office suite offered to you for free, is synced completely online so you can access it from anywhere without taking up any storage space on your computer, and can be shared with anyone who has a Google account. This is an incredibly helpful tool for you and your team to take advantage of to keep track of lyrics, merchandise, accounting, and anything else you would otherwise use Word or Excel for.
5. Google Music Artist Hub
Google recently introduced their first digital music store called Google Music, and unlike iTunes and Amazon, Google has made Google Music incredibly easy for you to get your music listed for sale by creating the Google Music Artist Hub, a platform for you to be able to list, organize and manage all of your music being sold in their store. And to make it even better, having your music for sale in the Google Music store also means that you can sell your music though Youtube as well!
All you need to do to get on Google Music is to register for an Artist Hub account, which requires a one-time, $25 fee, and they will walk you through how to get your music published!
6. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a highly integrated, yet very simple calendar application that is synced to your Google account so it can be accessed form anywhere you can access the internet. The best reason for you to be using Google Calendar is that multiple users can sync to the same calendar, which means it is a free solution for you, your band, and your team to be on the same page for any upcoming events or deadlines that you may have.
Google introduced Google+ in 2011, and the Facebook meets Twitter design and functionality made it the latest and greatest social networking platform to enter the competitive market. What makes Google+ so important for you is that, because it is a Google owned and operated platform, it ranks very highly in Google searches, helping you with your search engine optimization.
Google+ is so deep that we dedicated an entire Musician’s Guide article to the platform, covering many of the important features you’ll need to know about!