It’s amazing what you can do on the Internet without ever leaving the Google family of web sites.
The best feature is threaded emails, which I believe Google has a patent on, so nobody else can offer this convenience. It’s great if you’re on mailing lists.
You can also add labels to your emails. For example, I have labels for work, registration, and orders. Registration is for registration information, like when I sign up on forums or Amazon.com. Orders are to track emails related to items that I purchase online. If you’re planning a vacation with some friends, you can add a vacation label and neatly organize all communications related to that great get away. When you come back from your life-changing peregrinations, you can remove the label and use it for the next vacation.
Of course, the large disk space that they give you (over 6 GB and counting) allows you to archive every email so you can look up information years in the future.
Simple and light weight, Google Reader allows you to organize and access all of your RSS feeds. I follow about 40 blogs, although I don’t know where I get the time. Why use a third party reader when you already have one as part of your Google account?
Forget the olds days (2007) when you had to email documents back and forth between your collaborators. And don’t bother paying for expensive word processing software when you won’t use most of the features. If you have basic word processing needs, Google Docs is sufficient. And with Google’s redundant storage systems, the data is a lot more secure than it is on your personal computer. You can even invite people to view or collaborate on your documents.
Of course, if you are worried about security, you should access all of these features through an SLL encrypted connection. Just change http to https.
This feature is a life saver. I’ve moved so many times in the last few years that I would be lost without it. In fact, I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Where can I get an oil change? Where’s the nearest Chinese restaurant? How do I get to so-and-so’s house? Don’t bother giving me directions, just give me the address. Google Maps is probably my favorite Google offering.
My parents keep pictures from my childhood in a chest at their house. The integrity of those pictures is secure. However, these days most people take digital pictures, and they are subject to the same vulnerabilities as digital documents. I trust Google to store my pictures much more than my personal hard drive, and PicasaWeb allows me to do that. I can also share those pictures with others and don’t have to buy disk space.
Endless entertainment, now owned by Google. You can view cooking tutorials, the latest news, and videos of cats on treadmills, or you can upload your own content. The sky is the limit.
On a routine day, I may spend 90% of my time on one Google web site or another. The only other web sites that I spend a significant amount of time on are Wikipedia, Digg and Ubuntu Forums.