Google has introduced several web applications such as Google docs, iGoogle, Gmail, Wave, Google Groups, and Google Reader. Here are some brief summaries of each.

All of the following web applications can be accessed by logging in with your Google username and password and are provided free of charge to any user. Each title on this page is a link that will guide you to the site to get started.

Google Docs

Google Documents , more commonly known as Google Docs , is a place where groups of people (or one person) can make and edit word documents, presentations, and spread-sheets together. One person may use it to be able to work from both school/work and home easily. Multiple people may use it to collaborate on a project. Any person who was invited to the project can view or edit it. Here is a video from Youtube called "Google Docs in Plain English". This video explains what Google Docs is in detail, how it can be used effectively, what its purpose is, and how it makes certain tasks easier.

If one wishes to use it to plan a party, event, etc, then Google Wave may be a better choice.

Documents you create on Google Docs are stored in the "cloud " so that they can be accessed from anywhere with internet access. This can be useful for students going back and forth between the computers at their houses and the computers at school. Anybody with access to a Google account and to a document can work on it. This allows multiple users to collaboratively work on the same document at the same time. This may backfire however, and you will be unable to access your work if your internet connection is severed. The best solution is to get a side job and buy a nice little notebook/laptop that you can easily carry from home to school and back with ease. However if you can't find a job and you don't have enough money to begin with buying a flash drive is the next best thing. Then Google tools.

It is different from MS Office products in that unlike MS Office, Google Docs auto-saves your work as you do it, so if it crashes, your work will not be lost. Google Docs is also obviously free, unlike MS Office, which costs quite a bit of money. Docs is also significantly less feature-filled than Office, but Google is constantly developing new ways to make it a competitor to its Microsoft superior. Google Docs also allows you to have multiple people working on the same document at the same time. Since Microsoft Office is not internet based, only one person can work on the same file at any given time.

Google Docs provides templates that can be used. For instance, Party invitations and resumes, among other things, have templates for users to use.

Importing and Exporting files between MS Office is simple to do. To export go to >File>Download as> and then select the application to export it to. To import, go to Upload Files on the Google Docs homepage.

First in the Google Docs online toolset is Google Documents itself. It provides a simple yet effective interface for creating, editing, collaborating on, and sharing Word-like documents. The newest version has chat, character-by-character real time co-editing, and makes imports and exports much easier.

Here you can find Google's information on utilizing Google Documents.

Google Docs can be used to create spreadsheets like those created in Microsoft Excel. Users can collaboratively create them online with anyone. Many functions of Excel, like adding up the values in columns, are much easier to do in Google Docs. You simply click the rightmost key and click any of the formulas listed.

Google Docs can be used to create presentations like those in Powerpoint. Google Docs makes it easy collaborate on a project with this function. One person could work on a certain slide, one person on another, etc. This would allow the team to finish the project in a fraction of the time it would ordinarily have taken.


According to Google, Gmail is simply a combination of Google gadgets and search abilities with e-mail software, making it easy for one to quickly find and organize emails that they send and receive. The result is a web-based email client that is both functional and simplistic.

This Google Tool was first availabe to the general public on February 7th, 2007. Gmail offers a superior amount of storage to many other email clients. It offers 7 gigabytes of storage, which is drastically more than others. Due to the search features of Gmail , it is easy to find any e-mail. There are also many features which can be accessed through the Gmail Labs feature, which allows users to test new or experimental features of Gmail , such as bookmarking of important e-mail messages, custom keyboard-shortcuts and games. For example, if you commonly e-mail a group of people together, and you forget to send it to one person, it will say "Did you forget Bob?" Gmail also has more accurate spam filters than many other email clients, so one will not be bothered by spam as much with Gmail . Gmail also has a built in voice/video chat which allows you to talk face to face to a person that you want to communicate with. There are no pop-ups or banner ads that you have to worry about either. The use of Gmail is completely free. There is a downside to Gmail if you are concerned about total privacy though. Any email you every send through Gmail will be recorded and archived on a third party server. Also, deleted emails will remain on the offline backup systems.

To set up an account, simply go to , and you can start from there by giving some brief information.


Recently, Google stepped back and asked itself, "What would email look like if it were invented today?"
After much experimentation, out emerged Wave , a real time collaborative tool that utilizes the functions of all the best
communication clients available. Check out this video for a great explanation.

Overall, this application allows people to communicate and work together using and sharing formatted text, photos, videos, maps, etc.
A Google wave is a live transmission, which makes the conversation more fluid, and allows changes to be viewed by all who are in the wave.

Wave has many more uses than conversations. It can be used to create any of the following using a template:

The value and diversity that Google Wave brings to technology is pretty impressive. To help out a planning situation as stated above, maps, weather applications, and other helpful objects can be added to the event page. Google Wave is great for group projects because everyone can be involved at once in real time. Adding photos to a wave is so easy that you just have to drag a photo from your desktop over to the wave. A Wave can also be used for pure entertainment purposes. Playing interactive games with other people in a fast paced manner is a possibility with Google Wave .

If you are working with a group to create a essay or other forms of a word document, a power point file, or a spreadsheet you may wish to use Google Docs instead.

Google Reader

Google Reader is an RSS reader by Google, and it was released by Google on October 7th, 2005. It allows users to keep up with blogs and other frequently updated content they follow by putting the articles all in one place. Rather than having to visit a large number of sites, one can simply visit Google Reader , which makes everything much simpler. The user of Google Reader can subscribe to feeds using the Google Reader search engine, or by just entering the exact URL. Updates to your feeds are displayed on the sidebar.

To set up a Google reader account, go to and click on "Create an Account" to get started.

The image below shows how snippets of articles from several tech blogs are displayed in one place.

The difference between Google reader and iGoogle is that Reader is much more focused and refined on the process of aggregating any number of feeds, where as iGoogle can provide RSS support only to a certain extent before the interface becomes clogged and unhelpful. If you plan on wanting to be updated on only a few feeds, then iGoogle would be the tool of choice. iGoogle and Google Reader are incorporated with each other though. On May 4, 2006, Google released a new feature for Google Reader that enables feeds from Google Reader to be displayed on iGoogle.

Reader's search bar at the top can also be used to find information from sources you trust quickly. For instance, in the image above, say you wanted to know about HTML5. If you searched 'HTML5' in the bar above, articles from all the sources you subscribe to would be pulled, giving you a wealth or articles from sites you already know.


iGoogle is a widget dashboard similar to NetVibes. Initially titled the "Google Personalized Homepage," it was renamed it iGoogle in 2007. Users can utilize a large number of widgets in order to personalize their page. Feeds can be set up on it similar to Google Reader (see below for what each feed would be in a separate widget.) iGoogle allows you to customize your dashboard by picking themes disigned by Google or even by the user. Overall, iGoogle is a great Google tool to have if you want to be organize the sites and widgets you visit/use often. The image below depicts the standard iGoogle page.



Google Groups

Google groups is a tool used for collaboration at its most basic. It provides the fundamental infrastructure for a group of collaborators to share information, work, and files with each other easily and efficiently. It also provides an interface for discussion about such work. Groups closely emulates the classic internet forum, in that it allows for users to discuss topics of interest within groups concerning those topics. You can customize your group however you want by selecting your own pictures, colors, and style. A Google group also resembles the set-up of a Facebook group. People have profiles so you can have a better idea of who you are talking to.

To set up a Google Group, go to, and click on the button that says create a group. Follow the directions form there.

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