Use Google to Supercharge your Academic Career

posted Sep 7, 2009, 12:25 AM by Danny Eusebio   [ updated Sep 7, 2009, 12:27 AM ]

If you haven't been using some of Google's tools, its about time you start. Google has been modernizing and developing tools like Gmail, Calendar, and Documents in the last few years. And those three tools alone have replaced even my own slew of apps I use on my computer. Forget about Outlook and Word, it's time you start learning about what you've been missing. Working on documents and projects by yourself are a thing of the past. Google makes it easier for you to collaborate and work online with your friends and coworkers. It's simple, fun, easy, and clean. Oh, and did I mention all of this is free.  All you need to do is make a Gmail account. If you're a college student, then you definitely need to learn how to use Google Apps. It'll save you a butt load of trouble. Will be going in briefly to discuss the following Google features and in later will have a section to detail how to use the Apps with a tutorial.

Mail

If you're still using Hotmail and Yahoo, then you need to run along home to your mommy. If you're still using AOL as your sole source of email retrieval, then you need to buy a time machine and travel to the present because that's an awful archaic system. Furthermore, if you're a college student stuck using your schools email system, then you need to throw some dirty undies at it.

Stop making your life so hard. Transition to Gmail is easy. Here's why you should:
  1. 7GB and growing of storage space. I've gotten halfway on my quota so far.
  2. Threaded email conversations. Keeps reply's nicely organized.
  3. Add a signature to your emails. Speeds up emailing writing.
  4. Quickly Search for mail. Never worry about losing an email.
  5. Add filters to label incoming mail. Let Gmail take care of the labeling.
  6. Chat features enabled. Keep up and work with your buddies.
  7. Integration of a Task List. This is useful for reminding you of things you need to do.
  8. Undo feature. You got about 5 seconds to undo the wrong email you sent.
  9. Send email as a different username@school.uci.edu or other.

Calendar

There's no need to spend money on any nice Calendar program. Don't use Outlook, iCal or even Entourage. All you need is to use Google Calendar. You can easily keep track of your schedule on your portable device or any computer that has internet access. Now don't be afraid, you don't have to always have internet. Your calendar can easily be stored offline and on your portable device. If your still using a physical agenda, then you need to put on some granny panties and head on over to the senior citizen home next door.

Here's why you should:
  1. Easy Calendar Setup
  2. Make different types of calendars for aspects of your life
  3. Easily sync to your mobile device
  4. Add task to your calendar
  5. Easily share calendars
  6. Setup RSVP's with your friends
  7. Never worry about losing your appointments

Documents

Instead of using Microsoft Office to make your documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, it's probably about time you learned about cloud computing. Normally we perceive all our files have to be physically stored on your own computer. However, that isn't the case anymore. Now you can store computers both on your computer and on the internet through a service like Google. As a result, your files stay secure in an online environment in the situation that your computer were to crash. In addition, you have better control over each document, you can see revisions, and you can collaborate on documents a lot easier.

Here's why you should:
  1. Similar functions at Microsoft Office. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but its close.
  2. You can make documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and even forms.
  3. Easily collaborate and work on any type of document with another person.
  4. You can access your documents offline if you aren't connected to the internet.
  5. You can export your documents into Microsoft Office formats, pdfs, and easily publish to a webpage for instant sharing.

Sites

The very website that your viewing was built off one of Googles Tools. Now it becomes even easier to build a clean looking website in little to no time at all. What's also important to note is how Google has made it easier for you to make money through their adsense program. So its definitely a win win for everyone. But that's not the entire story behind Google Sites. Sites is really a location for your and other friends to collaborate and work on a project. You can give access to various individuals and easily have them update the website whenever they are connected to the internet.  As a result, building organizational websites are a thing of the past, and no longer does one webmaster have to do everything. Now everyone can make changes and update the website.

Here's why you should:
  1. There aren't any alternatives right now.
  2. It's simple to use.
  3. It's free
  4. It's a collaborative tool.
  5. You can design lucrative websites with ease.

Conclusion

Google Apps is a powerful set of applications that any college student should get the hang of using. It should almost be a requirement. It isn't difficult; it just takes a little bit of getting use to. You've grown up using Microsoft Office for so long that that is all you understand. However, there are other tools out there, in this case free, that will not only do the same task, but do it even better. Hopefully by the time you read this I've put together some quick demos on how to use the features in Google Apps.  Will be continuing our articles and tutorials on other free applications that any college student should have access to.

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