You’ve got a Gmail address. You use Google Docs all the time. You might even store stuff in Google Drive. But Google’s a big, big company with dozens and dozens of services you may not have tried yet. Here’s a look at some of the more helpful—but under-the-radar—offerings from the search giant.
Form(s) and function
Ever tried to plan a family reunion? The emails fly. Nobody’s on the same page. Everyone has an opinion. There’s got to be a better way! That’s where Google Forms comes in. Use it to cobble together quick surveys that you can send out to the larger group, then sit back and wait for available weekends, dietary restrictions, and pot-luck sign-ups to roll in.
Your new startup is off to the races, and you want to know what people are saying about it. Use Google Alerts to automatically scour the web for mentions of whatever terms, names, or items of interest you want to keep track of. You can set your results to be delivered at a specific time, once each day, or once per week so you’re not overwhelmed when that new app you created catches fire.
FaceTime between two iPhone owners is easy. But video chats between iPhone owners and Android owners? Not quite as easy. Thankfully, Google Duo does a pretty good job of replicating the experience. As long as each person has a Google account, video chats can be conducted via phone, tablet, or the web—all in a pretty straightforward fashion and with up to eight people at a time.
Hassle-free international data
If you’re just looking for a noncomplicated phone plan, check out Google Fi, especially if you travel internationally. The service’s claims to fame: no extra fees for mobile data abroad, leveraging three mobile networks to grab the strongest signal (if you’ve got a compatible phone), and pay-as-you-go billing that starts at $30 and is capped at $70 a month.
The act of booking flights won’t be mistaken for fun any time soon, but Google Flights makes the experience surprisingly not awful. Tell the service where you’d like to go, and it’ll return no-nonsense results that show the best options first. You’ll also get trend info about whether now’s a good time to buy or not, a handy calendar grid that shows cheaper options for more flexible dates, and the option to set up alerts to automatically track price changes for you. With the tragic demise of Hipmunk, this might be your best go-to tool for travel research.
Fun with fonts
There’s nothing quite like a great font to liven up your website. The problem is that they can be expensive and tough to implement. Google Fonts bucks that trend with no-cost, open-source fonts that can be embedded into your site with a single line of code and a quick tweak to your CSS file. At the moment, there are just shy of a thousand available fonts. They all come with easy previews and clear instructions on how to add them to your site.
Easy, shareable to-do lists
There are roughly a bajillion to-do list apps and services out there, but sometimes you just need a simple solution for creating lists and sharing them with others. That’s where Google Keep shines. You can add notes, lists, photos, and even audio reminders—all of which are shareable with other Google account holders. Along with handling an array of business tasks, it’s great for quick trips to the grocery store where one person does the shopping and the other holds down the fort at home.
An able replacement for cable
Curious about cutting the cord but not sure where to start? Google’s YouTube TV service has a good mix of local channels, popular networks, broad device support, and unlimited DVR recordings—all for around $50 a month. You’ll be able to clear out all that cable-box clutter and dodge all those pesky little add-on fees without missing many (or any) of the shows and networks you’re currently watching. As with other streaming services for cord cutters, the best part about YouTube TV is that you can try it for free and cancel without penalty. So if it’s not working for you, just cancel it in a few taps and move on.