Google, in my humble opinion, is the most amazing invention since anything else I can really think of. And Google is not just a big search engine, although it would still be awesome if that’s all it did.
Google has been offering a suite of incredibly powerful tools for years; way before ‘in the clouds’ become the next big thing for companies like Apple and Microsoft. And to make it even better, Google has recently created a platform for musicians that offers even further tools that will help independent musicians all over the world to thrive in the digital world.
Google is, quite simply, a portal that truly puts all of the worlds electronic information at your fingertips – there’s a good reason why the word “Google” has become synonymous with searching online.
Here are 9 Hot Tips designed to help you through all of Google’s awesomeness and use it to your benefit.
1. Google Alerts
Have you ever spent hours trying to track down articles on a certain subject, topic or even about your band / your brand? With Google Alerts, whatever words you select will be searched by Google and emails will be delivered to in your in-box.
To Setup A Google Alert
- Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
- Choose your search terms.
- You may include wildcard characters (*) to expand the search to find words containing the search terms, i.e. “fi*” will return results for “fish,” as well as “ficus”
- Use quotation marks (“ Cyber PR ”) to search for only the exact words in the search, in the exact order entered
- Choose the type of alert you would like.
- Select the frequency of alert emails.(Daily works best)
- Enter the email to which you would like the alerts emailed
2. Google Blog Search
This is basically a filter for only searching blogs; and with 100 million blogs out there, on top of all the websites, this is a great filter for all the noise. This is also a great place to track your band on blogs. To search on Google’s Blog search, go to this link: http://blogsearch.google.com/
3. Google RSS Reader
FIRST: Watch this video: It only takes 3 minutes and 43 seconds
Now that you know exactly what this is from watching RSS in Plain English,
Setting up your RSS reader is the perfect way for getting the information you want (not only from blogs but from also from other sites you frequent) to come to you instead of having to check constantly to see what has been updated.
If you still have an AOL or hotmail address, you’re in trouble. Gmail just may be the best e-mail program/website on the planet. Many bloggers and new media makers use Gmail and it shows you’re in the know, so get signed up.
Google e-mail is so wonderful because it is searchable by topic or by word, and Google provides you with a huge amount of storage space.
Using Gmail as your default mail host, you can set up an URL and add GoDaddy for 7.95, then point it to the server and voila! You have a customized e-mail addresses for free.
5. iGoogle – Your customizable home page
Whether RSS, certain news links or weather, Google home pages tools can certainly help you. Google does not have to be this one-frame box. By opening a Google account, you also gain access to iGoogle, your personal home page. Here you can add just about any sort of information you like; from the silly, such as small Flash games, to the more serious such as tracking mentions of your or your brand’s name on the Web.
6. Google Docs
Google Docs is, in essence, the entire Microsoft Office suite offered to you for free, is synced completely online so you can access it from anywhere without taking up any storage space on your computer, and can be shared with anyone who has a Google account. This is an incredibly helpful tool for you and your team to take advantage of to keep track of lyrics, merchandise, accounting, and anything else you would otherwise use Word or Excel for.
7. Google Music Artist Hub
Google recently introduced their first digital music store called Google Music, and unlike iTunes and Amazon, Google has made Google Music incredibly easy for you to get your music listed for sale by creating the Google Music Artist Hub, a platform for you to be able to list, organize and manage all of your music being sold in their store. And to make it even better, having your music for sale in the Google Music store also means that you can sell your music though Youtube as well!
All you need to do to get on Google Music is to register for an Artist Hub account, which requires a one-time, $25 fee, and they will walk you through how to get your music published!
8. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a highly integrated, yet very simple calendar application that is synced to your Google account so it can be accessed form anywhere you can access the internet. The best reason for you to be using Google Calendar is that multiple users can sync to the same calendar, which means it is a free solution for you, your band, and your team to be on the same page for any upcoming events or deadlines that you may have.
9. Google +
Google introduced Google + in 2011, and the Facebook meets Twitter design and functionality made it the latest and greatest social networking platform to enter the competitive market. What makes Google+ so important for you is that, because it is a Google owned and operated platform, it ranks very highly in Google searches, helping you with your search engine optimization.
Google + is so deep that we dedicated an entire Musician’s Guide article to the platform, covering many of the important features you’ll need to know about!
Google has entered the mobile market with Android, which is now the most widely used and fastest growing mobile operating system available. The obvious benefit to using Android is that it syncs all of your Google apps together, including Google +, Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar, Google Music and even Google Docs so that you’ll never miss a beat when you’re on the go.