How to use Google services productively (10 useful tips for work)

Today we’re going to talk about 10 best practices for using Google Search, Gmail, and Google Drive. These tips will be useful to absolutely everyone who uses Google products.

Google has created many convenient services that are applicable in different areas of life. For example, not everyone knows that Google Maps allows you to track the timeline of events.

Lifehack #1. Dots and pluses in Gmail

The first lifehack. When I need to register on the same site several times, I can use dots and pluses in Gmail.

For example, let’s say my email is mozcheck@gmail.com. That means I can specify m.ozcheck@gmail.com, mo.zcheck@gmail.com when registering on the site.

For the site these will be unique emails, and they will come to you in the same Gmail. The same goes for the plus signup. I can write mozcheck+test@gmail.com, mozcheck+test2@gmail.com, and it will all come to my inbox mozcheck@gmail.com.

This is very handy for being registered on the same site several times. This can be used by email marketers to sign up for the newsletter, to check what the site sends depending on the hanging cart, on registering, on signing up for the newsletter, on registering as a man or as a woman.

And plus, it’s extremely handy for developers when they need to test the fallibility of forms, whether the notification comes or not. And it’s a lot better than specifying an email test@test.com, because then you’re generating non-existent emails in the database, and you can have problems with the deliverability of email newsletters.

Lifehack #2. Search in Gmail

This next tip will be useful for those who have little space left in their mail. What can you use to clean up Gmail?

First, you can click arrow in the search form in your mail and select “Search emails”, such as “more than 10 MB”. And first of all clean the biggest emails, with attachments, delete them.

Secondly, you can use Google One – that storage from Google that costs anywhere from $3 a month – and just expand your storage capacity. You can store your photos, your mail, and your Google docs.

And in fact, I recommend that you click on the arrow in Google and see what advanced search options are out there. You can search there for who the email is from, to whom, what words the email contains, what the subject of the email is, and so on. Mastering the Gmail search will allow you to quickly find the email you want.

By the way, this tipster not only works for Gmail, but it also works for corporate email within Google – Google Workspace, or formerly Google Suite.

Lifehack #3. Short domains for creating new documents

The next tiphack that I use a lot is short domains to create a new document. For example, typing docs.new will create a new Google Document. There are also short domains for creating a new spreadsheet, a new presentation.

Short domains for creating new documents 👇

☑ doc.new, docs.new, document.new – to access Google Docs

☑ sheet.new, sheets.new, spreadsheet.new – for access to “Tables”.

☑ slide.new, slides.new, deck.new, presentation.new – for access to “Presentations”

☑ site.new, sites.new, website.new – to create websites.

☑ form.new, forms.new – to work with the “Questions – Answers” forms.

The fourth lifehack has to do with using Google search. I actively use search refinement.

The most commonly used refinement is quotation marks. If you put a phrase in quotation marks, that’s how Google will search for it, not the whole mention of disjointed words there.

That’s the use of a minus. Well, for example, you’re looking for “apartment-home rentals” you don’t want to see listings for home rentals. Or “rental apartments-single-room apartments” yes, you don’t want to see apartments that are one-room apartments. That’s very convenient.

rental

And then the 3rd thing. If you know that there’s an article on a particular site or you need to search for a particular site, you type in a search query and in Google you type site: and the domain of that site.

In fact, there’s an order of magnitude more Google search operators. I’ve given you the most commonly used ones and the most useful ones for me personally, and we’ll leave all of them in the description.

Also, I very often use a currency or value converter in my search. For example, there, 100 Euro in USD, or “25 feet in meters,” and Google converts them. So I don’t have to remember how many feet in an inch or inches in a foot.

And I also have Google Chrome set up with custom search engines.

What do you mean? What I’ve set up by keyword is that Chrome searches either Google Drive my or Trello’s tasking system.

С I have to type in, for example, gd (Google Drive) space and a search term, hit enter, and right from the address bar I will see the search results for my Google Drive. Or tl (like Trello), space, some project name or something that was in the task, and it will search on the Trello system.

If you often search by some tasking system or your drive, I recommend that you set up such custom search engines.

Lifehack #5. Using Calendars

The fifth tip hack has to do with using calendars. If your company uses Google Suite and colleagues use Google Calendar, I recommend subscribing to calendars and making calendars half-public. For example, all my colleagues can see which time slots I have busy, which are free, and accordingly can immediately suggest meetings when I have free time. They subscribe to my calendar and see when I’m busy, when I’m free, when I’m out of the office or unavailable, and accordingly can use that when scheduling meetings.

I also recommend creating online meetings, online calls, the moment when you start an event in Google Calendar, to make a link to Zoom or Google Meet, so that later you don’t have to go into a chat room and say: “Everybody connect here”. There’s a link right there in the calendar, and people click on the link at the specified time and go straight to the meeting room.

Lifehack #6. Keeping things in order with Hazel

The sixth smart trick is for the advanced. I use Hazel on my Mac to spread files around in folders in Google Drive. If you actively use Google Docs, Google Drive, then you’ve run into the fact that in Google Drive it’s extremely inconvenient to drop a file into a folder. You do a bunch of clicks, waiting for the contents of that folder to load, it’s slow. And I found a little bit of a tip for me.

I have Google Drive on my laptop, it’s macOS, and so the program Hazel, it monitors that there’s a new document in the Google Drive folder, and if that document has certain keywords in its name, that program puts it in a subfolder. For example, all the briefs from potential clients that they fill out in Google Docs, I just need to add to my drive and Hazel will automatically drop them into the right folder. It’s extremely handy and then it teaches you to just name the files correctly, mentioning certain keywords, and the system will scatter them into the right folders on its own.

Lifehack #7. History of changes in Google Docs

The seventh smart trick is related to Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, Google Slides. I make extensive use of the change history. You can understand who, when, what rules, who made certain edits to the document.

We actively use commenting on documents and we have this little rule – that the person who commented on the document for example: 👇

Correct this in the article.

Let’s change this in the ad campaign or in the TOR.

He gets answers to his comment in Google Docs or Google Tables, and only he can mark that comment as done, or in English. Why is it convenient? Because you don’t have to go into your email, find an email that sends all these notifications, what’s changed with the Google doc.

You open the document, you see what a colleague is writing there: 👇

I corrected that.

You look. Yes, indeed, he corrected it. He did, and that comment is gone, hidden, archived. If the colleague himself marks that comment as done, however, there’s a good chance that it will get lost or you won’t remember that you wrote it. Especially if you have a lot of documents.

Lifehack #8. Automatically uploading to Google Photo

The eighth tip for people who are always running out of space on their phone. I recommend that you put on your phone, whether it is an iPhone or an Android, the program Google Photos and set up automatic uploading of all photos to Google Photos, and after the photos are uploaded, you can click in that app “Free Space” and it will delete from your phone those photos that have already been uploaded to the cloud. And accordingly, there will be a new space on the phone and the photos will be saved in the cloud.

By the way, Google Photos has a really cool search engine. You can just type in what should be in the picture, like a box or a drawer, and the search understands that, and can find pictures where you’ve photographed the box or drawer everywhere.

Plus you can search, if you remember where that photo was taken geographically and it was taken with your phone, you can search the map by selecting a specific point and seeing what photos were taken at that point.

Lifehack #9. Autosponders in the mail

The ninth tip hack is built around dealing with email, especially when you’re unavailable or you don’t have time to respond to an email and you have to alert people or someone you work with has to respond. I highly recommend that when you take a day off, vacation, or are partially unavailable, set up auto-responders in your mail. I always set them up and warn people to note that I may be slower to respond when I get back.

And another tip that allows people on Google Workspace or Google Suite not to overpay for inboxes and build proper communications is to use Google Groups or aliases in Google Suite.

What does that mean? For example, we start an email account at podcast@mozcheck.com. And it’s a Google group, meaning we don’t pay for it as an individual user, there, $6 a month. And I add myself and two other colleagues to this Google group.

All of the emails that come into the podcast@mozcheck.com mailbox will go to a copy of the three mozcheck.com employees, and one of them will be left to respond, and the others will see that he already responded and that this correspondence does not need to be responded to and will be in a copy of that correspondence.

It’s inexpensive, extremely convenient, and extremely life-saving when you don’t want to be a bottleneck. For example, you were on vacation, unavailable, on a trip, an email came in and until you forwarded it to your colleagues, no one responded.

Lifehack #10. Using Google Maps

Well, here’s the tenth tip of the day related to the use of Google Maps. I actively use Google Maps, Waze as a navigator, and I have the timeline turned on.

The chronology saves everywhere I’ve been, on what days, and gives me certain bonuses. For example, if I need to know when I was last in this place, yes, there, I was here 2 years ago. Or if I need to enter spending into my home accounting and I’m trying to remember what I paid cash for on such and such a date. I can go through a Google timeline and see where, at what time I was there, and accordingly remember where I spent this or that money.

Plus, what I have set up in Google Maps, and not just in Google Maps, is to find my wife – that I can always see where my wife’s phone is and she can see where I am. It’s secure. It’s useful if you have a good relationship, you don’t lie to each other. And it’s a lifesaver if, I don’t know, your phone runs out or there’s no connection and you’re trying to figure out if everything’s okay.

And then the third and final one, the Google Maps related tip, a lot of people don’t know how to use it, it’s very cool for travel. Hopefully there will be more travel in 2021. It’s an offline map download that makes it possible to download maps and use them on a trip without wasting megabytes.

Although actually roaming is not that expensive now, I’m actively always on vacation, I always have the internet on, I’m always connected, and it saves a lot of time and money, because you can choose the best restaurants, you can build the best route, you can not walk on overpasses, not get lost in a new place, call a cab, and so on. So don’t skimp on roaming. As soon as the borders open, see how much your operator charges for roaming and mobile Internet, and activate it. Well, you can download maps offline, which is just faster, and you’ll have a map, even if roaming suddenly doesn’t turn on.

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