Google is so ubiquitous in our everyday digital lives that it's easy to overlook the many tools it offers that have a business slant. But there are lots of them, and I'm not just talking about Microsoft Office equivalents such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, or Google Analytics.
Gathered here are 10 serious Google services that can boost your productivity, get your team on the same page, and market your company. You probably already use some of these services for fun -- like Hangouts -- but they have powerful business applications as well.
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Blog: Google and Your Business
If you haven't stumbled across Google and Your Business -- Google's blog for businesses -- you owe it to yourself to check it out. It's a gateway to all sorts of resources, including tip collections, case studies, and news about relevant hangouts and sites, such as Google for Entrepreneurs. The fly-out toolbar on the right makes it easy to archive posts, apply labels, add to your RSS feed, and find other useful Google blogs.
Google Places for Business
With Google Places for Business, you can add salient details about your business -- not just name, address, and phone number, but business category, hours of operation, types of payment accepted, and areas served -- to Google's database without paying Google a dime. The information, including a small map, appears in relevant Google search results. Google Places previews what your listing will look like even as you provide the information in a questionnaire. While this service is free, Google does encourage you to increase your business's visibility by buying an AdWords ad, but the sales pitch is low-key.
Google+ Pages is Google's equivalent of a Facebook page, but with a couple of customization options specifically designed for businesses. You start by choosing the type of businesses (brick-and-mortar companies have options to help people locate them), then add content such as a cover photo, your logo, and a brief description. As the creator of the page, you can designate other administrators or even transfer ownership of the page. Use it to promote your business with photos, videos, news, links to Hangouts, and more.
Google often promotes Hangouts as a video chat room for friends and family, but the chat rooms also have features that make them useful for business meetings. Not only can you see and hear up to 10 participants, but you can collaborate on Google Drive documents, share your screen, or run third-party apps. A Hangout may not offer all the features of a commercial Web-conferencing tool such as WebEx or GoToMeeting, but the ones it does have may be all that a geographically dispersed team needsand it's free.