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Just about everyone these days uses at least a few of Google’s many useful services, both for personal use and for business purposes. While their crowning jewel is still their search engine technology, Google is much more than that these days. In fact, they have many products—most of which are free or inexpensive—that you can use to make your business life easier.

One of these products is a web software suite called Google Apps for Work (formerly known as “Google Apps for Business”) which professionals can use for a host of functions, and that can be had for a paltry monthly fee. Google Apps for Work can streamline many processes in your business, especially when it comes to the human element, in a number of ways:

Information Sharing

Apps for Work offers a huge amount of storage, from 30 GB to virtually unlimited space, depending on the plan that you decide to go with. All of the material that you upload to Google Drive would be available to other members of your team, so there’s a central location to store important information and there’s no need to fiddle with e-mail attachments quite so much. In addition, you can maintain a communal schedule on Calender to keep everyone on the same page.

An E-mail Address on Your Own Domain

It’s not terribly difficult these days to buy your own domain and set up an email account, but Apps for Work integrates this process with Gmail, so you can use the familiar interface that you already know.

Collaboration Apps

Working with other professionals on documents and presentations the “old fashioned” way can be cumbersome. Normally, you would work individually and then attempt to combine results, but since Apps for Work is completely web-based, you can get things done much more efficiently. Multiple users can edit text documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets, and more at the same time. These apps can be accessed from just about any modern browser as well, so users on multiple platforms can participate.

In addition to the ability to work together on projects in real time, members of your team will have access to Google’s multi-faceted video conferencing app, Google Hangouts. You can use this to stay in touch via voice or video during every step of the creative process.

Security and Archiving

Many businesses need to keep records of communications received from clients or exchanged between team members. Often, this information is sensitive, and needs to be kept away from the easily-accessed, collaborative storage areas. This is where Google’s Vault comes in. For a small extra fee, it can be added to Apps for Work’s suite of tools, and it will store emails, chat logs, and other data safely until a time is specified for its deletion. The communications are also easily searchable, which makes looking for long-forgotten information simple and fast.

Google Apps at Work has a lot to offer to business professionals, especially those who are looking for a lean, inexpensive solution that addresses common inefficiencies. It is less expensive than Microsoft’s offerings, and largely platform-independent, so at the very least it is worth a try if you need to keep your team in constant communication.

Written by Raul Betancourt.

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