Apps have changed the way we use computers, smartphones, and tablets. While they were once limited to gaming and email, they now offer almost unlimited productivity and educational opportunities. With thousands of apps on the market, Google’s selection ranks high in nearly every category.
See how these best productivity apps are keeping students and professionals at the top of their game with this list of the best ways to use Google apps in the workplace and the classroom.
What are the top productivity apps for small businesses?
Google is a growing force in the business world. They provide free and low-cost solutions for businesses to manage everything from email and cloud storage to document and spreadsheet creation. One of the major perks of Google's suite of services is that it provides convenient and uniform tools for businesses of all kinds to access anywhere.
The most popular Google apps for business include Gmail, Calendar, Google Drive, Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Keep, Currents, App Maker, and Search. Businesses of all sizes can access these apps from across one enterprise login as part of their G Suite package.
Here are some of the most unique highlights of the G Suite offerings, as well as a few other add-ons available to companies today.
1. Email management
Gmail isn’t a business-only application. Millions of users are making it their primary email service for use at home and in the office. Gmail has unique features, a slick HTML interface, and innovative customization tools, including folder naming options, templates, and enhanced security perks.
As one of the first email clients to create the “archive feature,” business owners can get to “inbox zero” much faster by simply archiving emails without ever deleting. Plus, all your messages are retrievable by a number of unique search shortcuts.
Google calendar is a preferred scheduling tool for many reasons. Used in conjunction with the Gmail app, it’s simpler than ever to keep track of business flights, offsite meetings, and even webinars. Open any email containing appointment or travel details, and it will populate in the calendar automatically with correct time zone info and any relevant call-in or contact details.
The app works with your Google login across all devices, so you can check when your flight arrives from your phone, tablet, or laptop, ensuring you never miss a meeting when you travel. It’s a top pick for Google apps for work that you shouldn’t leave home without downloading.
3. Office document creation, editing, and sharing
It’s impossible to do business without a standardized tool for making spreadsheets, slideshows, or text documents. While Microsoft has led the way with its Microsoft Office tools, freeware competitors and Apple have opened the space to other brands. Google has begun to take over as a provider of free online file types that integrate with its Drive storage app.
Make a slideshow in Google’s Slides app, and open and use it in any slideshow program that supports the .ppt file extension. There’s no need to guess what tools your clients or customers are using, because Google can read most common types.
What does a savvy business do with all those documents and archived emails? Store them in a secure cloud storage account. That's where Google really delivers with its storage plans that range from 30MB to unlimited. Searching through all these documents and files is easy, too, because Google's AI tech ensures you can find even the most obscure file from your thousands of files. Use Google Chrome extensions and third-party plugins to do more with the files you have.
You can also free up your computer’s HDD, discourage data loss, and secure your information with the permissions you set for teams or individual users. The days of lost files due to crashed hard drives are truly over, making this one of the absolute best productivity apps for companies.
With so many video conferencing tools out there, it may not seem that Google’s free version would be able to compete. It’s one of the best-loved options for quickly hopping on a video call with your team members, briefing a client, or giving a presentation to your remote teams.
One of the major perks of using Google’s video chat tool is that you don’t have to buy expensive video export or storage products. Assuming you have an active YouTube channel, you can record your video chats with up to 25 users as a private or public YouTube video. You can also stream your Hangout live.
What are the best Google apps for education?
Even before someone starts their first business, they are working their way through school. Google has capitalized on the market for teachers and students with its growing suite of educational apps. As schools continue to embrace tech and use it to simplify administrative duties and access updated materials, you'll see more schools make the move to Google.
Here are the most common Google tools being used by schools, universities, and private tutoring services today.
6. Google Classroom App
Hailed by teachers as a plug-and-play management solution, Google Classroom App takes the clutter out of grading, tracking, and reporting. It puts everyone into one seamless, cloud-based tool that educators and administrators can use across synced devices. Embraced as one of the top Google apps for education training, the app is being incorporated into curricula to ensure that tomorrow’s teachers are well-versed in this tech.
7. Video Learning
Kids probably already spend much of their time on YouTube. With movie trailers, goofy videos, and even full-length TV episodes, it’s one of the most common ways to be entertained. It also has a treasure trove of educational content with classroom lectures from top colleges, documentaries, and quick explainer videos on everything from the Pythagorean Theorem to how a representative government works.
Teachers can curate videos to their own playlists to assign students, ensuring that they focus on the good stuff and don’t waste time searching through hours of questionable or frivolous content.
8. Foreign Language
While not a substitute for learning a language, the Google Translate app does help in a pinch or when students are looking for just the right word or phrase to get them to the next level of learning.
It supports more than 100 languages, and one great perk is its webpage translator that converts entire pages of text to a roughly translated version in the language of your choosing. You can use this to translate news and websites from around the world. Seeing the original source for a story from France, for example, may resonate more with students than a summarized version in U.S. news. For those who want to appreciate the culture at its source, Translate is invaluable.
9. Reading and research
When Google Search fails, it’s time to reach for original text and sources. The Google Books project and the accompanying app offers full texts of classic and modern books that you may not find in print from anywhere else. Read through the original words of Thomas Paine or dig deep into the journals of a university from the 1920s.
With basic search and find functionality within the document, students can narrow down their search to the content that matters most. Google Books is growing as a repository for those out-of-print gems we can't afford for students to lose.
10. Live Tutoring
Remember how amazing the Google Hangouts tool was for businesses to gather up employees and present a live presentation? It’s just as useful for students. With the opportunity for teachers to teach virtually from anywhere in the world, it’s a preferred choice for private tutors and mentors as well. Use it to connect with your French teacher, get guitar lessons, or ask questions about the differences between shark species.
What used to take a clunky and expensive webinar product can now be done with a quick connection through the Google Chrome browser or a mobile app. The live feed can take place in seconds, which means you’ll waste no time in learning something new or reviewing those facts you need to master for the big test.
What apps help you study?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a school today that’s not using at least one of the Google apps to teach, share, or manage classrooms. Many students use Google apps for education without knowing it, but what about those who want to improve grades and be more proactive with their education? Google offers a variety of apps that help here, too.
These Google apps for students include YouTube, Google Translate, and the suite of Google document tools. Students can read materials in their textbook or on their e-reader, perform more research via a YouTube video, and then take notes or create reports in the Google Doc or Slide tools. Any help needed with foreign languages is easily obtained through the clever Translate app.
The sooner students embrace responsibility for their own learning and acquaint themselves with the tools that work best for their learning type and tech needs, the better off they will be. Google provides widely accepted educational apps that can be used across all devices, ensuring that kids can study in the classroom, at home, or in the car on the way to a sporting event. Every moment counts, and Google helps maximize those minutes to study and master materials - wherever the student may be.
When work and study combine
As students grow up, particularly as they enter college, it will be useful to have one set of tools to manage work and school. With an eye for creating Google apps for college students, the tech leader knows that it can create a seamless transition from the classroom to the boardroom. One standard for all facets of life, from browser and storage to document creation and chat, means that you only have to learn one set of tools.
As Google continues to add on to its growing suite of solutions, those who use their apps will find it less cumbersome to add more skills and tech abilities to their toolkit. Google has made it very practical to embrace the brand for every part of digital life. If you consider yourself a lifelong learner, no matter your age, you owe it to yourself to see which tools are right for your unique goals.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.