There is a steady stream of products and tools coming out of Google Labs. Many of these are free — and underutilized — by the community that would most benefit: ecommerce businesses.
Need up-to-the-minute financial data? There’s a Google tool for that. Need to translate a product description into a different language? There’s a Google tool for that. Need to determine the visibility of your website or track how users interact with it? There’s a Google tool for that, too.
Here is a list of Google tools and products that will help you make the most out of your business.
- Analytics. This is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you access to your visitors’ behavior. You can analyze your traffic data to create better-targeted ads; determine the content that interests your visitors the most to drive traffic up further; and manage your AdWords campaigns. Price: Free for users with less than 5 million page views a month.
- Alerts. If your business relies on having the latest information in your niche or industry, try Google Alerts. Simply enter in the topic — or keywords — you wish to monitor, the type of data you want to retrieve on it from news to blogs to video and more, the volume of results you’d like to receive, and get it all via email. You can track a developing news story, stay current on a competitor, or get the latest scoop on world events. Price: Free.
- Groups. Set up a private group that anyone in your company can access, or any clients can access. Organize meetings, store files, create topics and brainstorm collectively on various projects. Price: Free.
- Picasa. Edit, store and share photos online with Picasa. Create slideshows of your products and easily embed the slideshow into your website. (See “How to Embed Photos and Slideshows from Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket,” our previous article on that topic.) Price: Free.
- Voice. Set up multiple numbers for your business and have them ring to any phone, regardless of which device or carrier you use. You can set up a single number that rings you anywhere, get transcribed voice mail messages via email, and receive free calls and text messages in the U.S. and Canada, with very low rates in the rest of the world. Price: Free.
- Realtime. Search out all activity on social networks, follow trends, track popular posts and find articles, blog posts and tweets from around the world, in real time. Price: Free.
- Site Search. Use Google’s powerful search algorithm for your own site’s search engine. Site Search is a hosted solution that gives users of your website the ability to search for anything on it, just like they would on Google. Tailor the look and feel of the search bar and search results to match your website’s aesthetic design. Price: $100- $2000 and up, varies on the number of queries the engine receives each year.
- Desktop. Search your business computers just like you search the web with this Desktop search engine. Dozens of sidebar gadget options are available for streaming news, weather and financial reports as well. Price: Free.
- Directory. Search for virtually everything and everyone that is on the web with this comprehensive, categorized directory listing. Pick a topic, for example, “ecommerce” and drill down to developers, vendors, software and marketing companies and many more. Price: Free.
- Finance. Up-to-the-second domestic and world market news stories from the top sources all over the web, plus stock analysis, trends and a handy custom portfolio creator for easy tracking of specific businesses. Price: Free.
- News. Stay in-the-know with the latest breaking news locally and globally. The news site is broken down into familiar news sections like World, Business, Science and Technology, United States and much more. Price: Free.
- Calendar. This is an online and interactive calendar to share upcoming events with everyone in your company, allow other users to suggest events to be scheduled and get event reminders via email or text to your mobile phone. Price: Free.
- Docs. This powerful suite of online tools to manage office documents rivals anything from Microsoft Office. Create and collaborate on spreadsheets, slideshow presentations, interactive forms for surveys and robust word processing. Price: Free.
- Chart Tools. Create and embed live image oriented or interactive motion charts to your website with Chart Tools. You can use live data from outside data sources or use your own data. Price: Free.
- Product Search. Quickly scour the Internet for the best deals on products that your business needs. Price: Free.
- Trends. See what other Google users are searching for right now. Track user search terms in the past day or the past several years. Search out up-to-the-second data in the present and track specific website usage trends for various regions all around the globe. Price: Free.
- Translate. A powerful translation tool that can translate any text into more than 60 of the world’s most used languages. Use it to translate the text of an ad into another language, search for products or services in the native language of another region using the Translated Search function. It also includes the “Global Market Finder” utility to seek out key search terms for popular products overseas, allowing users to then harness that data with AdWords’ keyword bid and competition data. Price: Free.
- Patents. Do you have a new product that the world has never seen before? Search out over seven million patents registered at the United States Patent and Trademark Office to be sure. Price: Free.
- Places. Increase your social networking presence with Google’s geo-location listing service. “Places” gives businesses the ability to set up a page with Google so when customers or clients search for your business, the correct contact information will be there. Customize your business Places page with photos, user comments, and special offers to Places users. Utilizing “Google Boost” is done through a Places account as well. Boost gives businesses the ability to advertise on the Places page and in Google Maps. Price: Free.
- Google Display Network. The Google Display Network is one of the most popular ad networks online, reaching more than 80 percent of global Internet users, according to Google’s own research. Sign up and use powerful targeting and remarketing tools to find the best placements for your message in front of an audience that’s interested in your business across their network. Then measure the progress of your marketing campaign with built in, real-time tracking tools. Price: Varies depending on type of ad package selected; cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) are all available.
- AdSense. Use AdSense to display relevant ads on your website that are suited to your audience’s interests, then earn revenue from clicks and impressions. Create a custom search engine to your site and then earn revenue from the ads on the search results pages. Develop specific ads for mobile users and display targeted ads for RSS feeds your site may have. Tailor AdSense for domains, mobile content, search engine results, content and much more. Price: Free.
- AdWords. Create your own ads, choose the keywords and when customers use one of those keywords when searching for a product on Google, your ad appears next to the search results. Take advantage of the “Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator” to budget your ads and find the best keywords for your audience. Price: Variable. You’re charged only when someone clicks on the ad.
- DoubleClick Ad Planner. Use this tool to help determine the best strategy for your marketing campaign. Find the top 1,000 most visited sites globally, better understand the behavior of visitors to your site, find audiences using specific demographic data and generate aggregated website statistics for your marketing plan. Choose to share your analytics data to reflect the traffic data of your site for other advertisers that may want to place an ad on your site. Price: Free.
- Insights for Search. With “Insights for Search” you can compare search volume patterns across various regions, categories and time frames for any search term or phrase. Track seasonal purchases by comparing one year to the next, find rising product searches by tracking them over a specific period of time and find potential customers based on the volume of their searching for a particular keyword. Price: Free.
- Commerce Search. A custom site search engine designed specifically for online merchants. Create a customized search engine that customers can use to find products by price, category, brand or any other attribute you set. With this engine in place you can then analyze your site’s search traffic, find out top customer queries and much more. Price: Starts at $25,000 annually.
- Merchant Center. Upload your site’s product data so it is available to Google Product Search and other Google search services. This way, shoppers using Google to find a product can find your site quickly. Price: Free.
- Google Checkout. If your customers are familiar and comfortable using Google Checkout, allowing them to purchase goods with it on your site will maintain that trust. Checkout is also integrated with the other Google advertising and analytics tools so you can easily track customer behavior. Price: 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent plus $.30, per transaction.
- Code. Get breaking news from Google about what its developers are working on, from search engines to web apps to mobile apps. Take advantage of the Web Toolkit to build and optimize browser-based applications, get access to all the latest code for Android and submit your finished app to the Google Apps Marketplace. Price: Free.
- Code Search. Developers and non-developers alike can use this simple tool to search out any publicly available source code from over 70 different code languages. Price: Free.
- Webmaster Tools. Get detailed reports about your website’s visibility on Google to diagnose any access problems Google is having with your site. Analyze data about internal and external links to your site, find out which Google search queries drive traffic to your site and find out exactly how many users arrive there. Price: Free.
- App Engine. Developers can build and host web apps on the same systems that power Google’s popular applications. You can also build enterprise applications with the App Engine for Business. Price: Each application costs $8 per user per month, up to a maximum of $1,000, with additional cost for more storage, if needed.
- Sites. Quickly create a basic website in minutes and use it for announcements, news or blogging. Create easy access to forms, documents, links and other resources for your business. Price: Free.