Every day, I interact with over 50 different Google apps, devices, and services. All of these Google tools make me more productive, organized, and entertained. Over the years, I have heard arguments that other app providers on different platforms (Apple, Microsoft, etc.) offer better tools to help manage your life, but as you will see below, it is completely possible, and extremely easy, to live in the Google ecosystem.
I know this is a rather lengthy post, but I thought it was important to highlight all the different moments during the day when Google products and services are helping me with personal and professional responsibilities.
A Day in the Google Ecosystem
Google Clock, Android, Android Smartwatch, Android Wear
My day starts bright and early, getting awakened by the Google Clock on my Android-powered Samsung Note 5 (I plan on upgrading to the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ in a couple of months). Sure, I could use the stock clock on my Note 5, but I really like the interface of the Google Clock app, and it integrates with my Android Wear-powered smartwatch.
Google Assistant, Google Calendar
Very shortly after waking up, I start a conversation with one of my new favorite Google Services, Google Assistant. All I have to do is hold down the home button on my Samsung Note 5 and Google Assistant is ready to help me out with just about anything. I ask “her” what the weather is going to be like for the day, give me the final score of last night’s Minnesota Timberwolves game, and read me off the events on my Google Calendar that I have scheduled for today. Google Assistant is incredible in terms of the different things it can do and questions it can answer, so if you have a Android device I highly recommend giving it a try. I interact with Google Assistant many times throughout the day to perform many different tasks.
Gmail, Android Messages, Google Voice, Google+
After getting ready for the day, I like to take 15-20 minutes to check up on some of my messaging platforms. I log into Gmail to check my emails and ready some of the technology newsletters I subscribe to in order to see what tech news is trending. Then I will open up my Android Messages app on my phone to fire off any text messages I need to. Google has had a very confusing messaging strategy over the past couple of years (see: Hangouts, Allo), but Android Messages appears (at this time) to be the app Google is focusing on for consumer use, so that is the one I will roll with for the time being. For professional projects, I use Google Voice, so I will log into that app to check on any new messages there. Finally, I open up Google+ to check up on some of the communities I follow in there. While Google+ has never panned out to be a Facebook-like/Facebook-killer app, it is a great place to connect with others who share similar interests as you through the “Communities” section of the app.
Google Fit, Android Pay, Google Play Music
Before breakfast, I like to try and get a run/walk in, and since the closest grocery store is only a little over a mile away, I like to sometimes run there, pick up a gallon of water I will drink throughout the day and a couple of bananas, and then walk back home. I use Google Fit to track my fitness, including all the steps and miles to-and-from the grocery store. When I get to the grocery store, I use Android Pay (which is tied to my U.S. Bank debit card) to checkout. Android Pay is awesome for this because it avoids me from having to bring a wallet with me on my workout. Sometimes I will listen to podcasts during my workout, but on occasion I will jam to my favorite playlist on Google Play Music. I do have the family subscription to Google Play Music, allowing me to stream just about any song I can think of.
Google Analytics, Google Play Books, YouTube, YouTube Creator, Google Opinion
On the bus ride into work, I use that time to cover off on some quick admin duties. I open up my Google Analytics app to review my site’s web traffic from yesterday. I will also spend a good portion of the day in Google Analytics’ web app as well, for work-related duties. I also will open up my YouTube Creator app to view any metrics related to my personal YouTube channel. Then I open up the Google Opinion app to see if there are any new surveys to take. This app is great for earning a few nickels here and there for answering really short surveys. The nickels add up fast, as I have not had to pay for a movie or gems for Clash of Clans in years, just for answering simple surveys! If I have any time left on the bus, I will either fire up my Google Play Books app to read a chapter or two of whatever digital book I have downloaded at the time.
Occasionally I will head out of the office for a lunch meeting, sometimes at a place I have never been to before. That is when I rely I on Google Maps to help me get there. Google Maps’ “Timeline” feature is also helpful for tracking my movements as part of my Quantified Self practice.
Chrome, Calculator, Gboard, Google Device Manager
Throughout the day, there are a number of Google tools I use for various, common tasks. For example, Chrome is setup as my default web browser, so any site I look up on the web is done through Chrome. If I need to do some quick math, I use the Google Calculator app (again, like the Clock app, I could just use the stock calculator on my Note 5, but I like how the Google one works better). While more and more of my interactions with my smartphone are done via voice, any typing I do on the device, or on my tablet, is done with the Gboard app. In the afternoon, I like to make sure the kids get home from school okay, so I will fire up the Google Device Manager app to get a location update.
Google Keep, Duo, Camera, Google Photos, Google Photo Scan
The evenings usually involve running errands and running around to kids activities. Google Keep is where I keep grocery lists or quick notes I may think of on the go (by the way, Google Assistant is great at putting notes directly into Keep). Sometimes I am bad at grocery shopping, so I use the Duo app to video chat with my wife who can confirm if I am getting the right items at the store right when I am standing in the aisle. At sporting events or school plays, I use the Google Camera app and Google Photos app to capture and share photos and video. Google Photo is one of the best mobile apps for managing photos and videos on both Android and iOS. It is definitely a “Bob Stanke Recommends” pick. Another app I use a lot that I highly recommend is Google Photo Scan, which does an awesome job of scanning in old physical photos and adding them directly to your Google Photos account, without all that annoying glare from bad lighting.
Google Admin, My Account, Contacts, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Drawings, AdWords, AdSense, Snapseed, Cloud Print, Sites, Forms, Chromebook
After everyone is in bed and the house is quiet, I really enjoy working on my side hustle and blog. This time is usually from between 9:00 - 11:00 PM, and during that two hour timeframe, I interact with a handful of different Google tools. Here are some brief examples of what I do with all of them… I usually start with tasks that are more admin based. I log into my Google Admin account to manage my Google for Business account. Then I check on the My Account app to see if everything looks good and my account is still secure. Next I check on both my AdSense and AdWords accounts to see if my campaigns are running smoothly and if any adjustments are needed. That pretty much completes my administrative duties, and then I move onto development and content creation, and here are the Google tools I use… First I scan my emails for any new contacts I may have made and gather up any business cards I got throughout that day and add them to my Google Contacts app. All of my files live in Google’s Cloud, and Drive is the portal to everything I have in creation and storage stages. All my writing is done in Google Docs, including all of my blog writing. I use Google Sheets for a lot of different things, including managing the side hustle’s budget and the family budget. I prepare all presentations and some blog content in Google Slides. Quick mock-ups or visual elements are done in Google Drawings. If I need to do any photo editing, I use Google’s Snapseed app for that. I use Google Forms for building out forms for my website. I also have an intranet site for my side hustle, so I use Google Sites for that, and try to add a piece of content to it daily. Finally, I do quite a bit of printing, but personally and professionally, so Google Cloud Print is my main app for managing my HP Envy wireless printer. All of this work is done on a combination of my Samsung Chromebook, Samsung Note 5, and Samsung Tab 4.
YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Home, Chromecast, Google Play Store
As I wind down my day, I usually like to catch up on some TV, movies, or videos. For that, I like to use either the YouTube or Google Play Movies & TV app on my Samsung Note 5, Samsung Tab 4 tablet, or Samsung Chromebook, where I always have content loaded up and ready to go. If I want to get fully immersed in the show or movie I am watching, I will cast the content to my TV through my Chromecast device, which I can control via the Google Home app. When I am enjoying a TV show or movie, I like to cruise around the Google Play Store to look for new apps or games. Devices that the kids use, also include YouTube for Kids.
50 Apps and Services in One Day
That is 50 apps, services, and devices I interact with in the course of an average day. However, it is not just the number that shows the wide coverage Google provides me, but also that everything is so well integrated. One login gets me everything I need across five main hardware devices I use: Chromebook, Samsung Note 5, Samsung Tab 4, Android smartwatch, and a Chromecast. Apps work together seamlessly and are always being updated. For example, the announcement of Google Keep being added to the G Suite and getting the functionality of being able to be docked right inside of Google Docs. Using Google App Scripts, I can even build custom integrations I may need. Apple and Microsoft fans can say what they want, but I honestly can’t think of any other platform that allows everything I get from the Google lineup of apps and services.
You probably noticed there are a number of well-known Google apps that I did not list that some people use every day. Waze, for example, is a great navigation app, but I just prefer straight-up Google Maps. Google Earth, Android Auto, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming, Allo, and Smartbox are several more great Google apps, but I just don’t have a use for them on a regular basis.
Whether for good or bad, I am all-in on the Google ecosystem, and it has never let me down. That is what makes me a diehard Google fan, user, and customer.