Google - Makes my life easier for FREE

By
Real Estate Agent with CENTURY 21 Garner Properties

The geeks at Google just plain "get it". They look at things from the perspective of the consumer and not the, "how can we make more money", point of view. As a result, they have grown into one of the most significant computer/internet companies of all time, and their stock value shows it. I've compiled a list of how I use Google everyday in the real estate business. All of this stuff makes staying organized, getting tasks done quicker and easier for me. The best part is, it's very affordable; it's all FREE. Maybe you already use some or all of this stuff. Maybe you'll learn about something your not using. Either way, I'm certain some of these things will help you in your business.

Google.com, the search engine. 80% of you probably already use it. Simple, easy, the best results.

Google toolbar. A better pop-up blocker, spell check anything you type, even on web pages. Google search directly from the toolbar among many other customizable things.

iGoogle.com- Custom search engine page. Just when I thought Goggle.com was the greatest, along comes iGoogle.com. Now the Google geeks have made their simple search engine customizable to me. When I click on my web browser I not only get the good ole trusted search engine at the top of the page but I get to decide what else I want to see on the page. gMail. After fighting with POP3 email service companies for the last 10 years, and thousands of dollars,  I think I have finally found a POP3 service that works. And it's not just satisfactory, every time I turn around I find some other reason that it works better than anything that I've spent lots of money on.

· Works Great with MS Outlook, I have no problems with outgoing or incoming mail from whatever ISP I'm connected to at anytime.

· Internet based. I can check my mail from any computer anywhere and it doesn't mess up the mail coming to my outlook.

· Mobile gMail. I can read, respond and compose mail from my mobile phone without using a huge amount of data transfer.

Picasa3. Google's version of a photo organizer and editor just got even better. It EASY to use and has most of the photo editing features that will make your photos BETTER than they are now. With the recet upgrade you can create slideshows, edit video, and upload directly to youtube.com with no problems.

Maps.google.com   When my GPS fails me I go to Google maps. If you haven't checked it out yet, pull up a an area and click on "Street Scene". It's a 360 degree, traveling street view. Just like your driving down the street.  Google's goal it to have everything "street scene-d" within a few years. 

Maps for mobile.I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've used Maps for Mobile. It has rarely not found what I'm looking for, even in residential subdivisions in rural areas. There's easy to follow driving directions and the real cool part; There's REAL TIME TRAFFIC!!!!. I can plot out my route in seconds and if there is heavy traffic the map shows roads with a yellow or red line. This is the closest thing to a GPS you can get, for no up front cost and no monthly fee.

GOOG411. It can't get much easier. GOOG411 is information by text message.You have a name and need a phone #? You have a phone # and need a name? You need an address? You want to know the score of the ball game? The weather forecast? Send a text message to GOOGLE (466453) and seconds later you get a response. I just heard from someone last week that I introduced this too a couple months ago and they decreased their monthly cell phone bill $40 by using GOOG411 as opposed to traditional 411. Just last week we were out and trying to decide where to eat, Someone said, Texas Road House. We love to eat there but usually avoid it due to the long wait to be seated. GOOG411, "texas road house" (It already knows my home zip code, if not I would enter the city), 10 seconds later, I get the address, and phone number, I click on the phone number and my cell phone dials, I'm connect to call ahead seating, they tell me 25 minutes. The whole process took about 2 minutes.  We arrived and had about a 5 minute wait.

Google Calendar.This just became 100x more useful with the new sync add on. Google calendar now syncs with your MS outlook! Your outlook calendar is available to you on any computer anywhere. And guess what?....... your computer crashes, no worries, your calendar is online on Google; get your computer fixed or a new one and re-sync with Google Calendar. The features are incredible, you can have a family calendar, work calendar, you can share specific events or calendars with other Google Calendar users.

Google Docs- Share your Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc with people you want to share with. An online storage space for all those docs you don't want to loose in case of a computer crash. 

Groups.Google.com- A tech guy introduce this to me years ago. I had a problem that he didn't have to answer to, so he Google grouped it. BAM! There was a solution to my problem. If you can dream it up there's probably a Google group dedicated to it. Just type in a problem and up pops questions and answers to other people's posts with the same problem as you. If there are no answers you can always post your problem and someone more knowledgeable about it than you will answer your question. Many times, it's a factory representative or software company tech that answers your questions.

YouTube.com This is fairly new to me. In the past I always thought this was a novelty and didn't want to spend any time there watching someone's 4 y/o play the piano. Then up pops http://youtube.com/century21  CENTURY 21 has launched this as a contest/ promotion but I can see huge possibilities in the future of youtube and real estate.  Virtual Tours could easily become a thing of the past when this catches on. Why pay $30 a month for a virtual tour provider when you can have a 3 minute video tour of every listing? For FREE. I started looking around a little after I saw the possibilities with YouTube. Agents from across the county have already started taking advantage of YouTube. I found some fantastic, short videos of home tours, city tours and relocation information. The possibilities are unlimited.  Don't discount this as a novelty, be creative, be the first in this area to market yourself and your property with video.

Google Alerts. Alerts let you customize what you want to be alerted about. Want to know if your name pops up on a web site" Alert it. You website? Alert it. Your competitors web site? Alert it. Anything you want to know about before anyone else knows about? Alert it.

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Rainmaker
206,029
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Don't forget

Google Analytics:  Learn more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site. You'll get the information you need to write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Learn more about the benefits. Google Analytics is free to everyone, whether you are an advertiser, publisher, or site owner.

Google Product Search:  Used to be Froogle.  Great online buying tool.

Dec 03, 2008 08:16 AM #1
Rainer
20,196
Christopher Johnston
The Johnston Team - Metairie, LA

I'm brand new to the business, sort of, and I'm building an entire business using many free or low-cost tools. I think that this will allow me to keep my overhead low whil focusing on cashflow. This is probably the first time in history that some of this has been possible because of the technology we have available to us.

Dec 06, 2008 12:40 PM #2
Rainer
8,231
Gregory Urroz
ProSmart Realty - Gilbert, AZ

Thanks Doug, I never knew they had all these tools. I am one of the 80% that use the basic google search engine.

Dec 13, 2008 12:23 PM #3
Rainer
48,303
Doug Garner
CENTURY 21 Garner Properties - Independence, KY
Broker-Manager, Auctioneer Northern Kentucky

Casey: I've tried FREE411, but I prefer the SMS from GOOG411. I like that I can type "W" and get weather or "bengals" and get the score of the game or "half cup in teaspoon" and get the conversion. Thanks for commenting. 

Dec 16, 2008 03:01 PM #4
Rainer
24,603
Keith Pound
EXIT REALTY CRUTCHER - Louisville, KY
Realtor, Auctioneer - Louisville, KY - 502-645-5950

Doug, great summary, powerful tools that we have to use. However I am not all of them to their fullest, must get busy.

Dec 25, 2008 10:41 PM #5
Anonymous
real estate developer

to Know about real estate

Jan 01, 2009 01:16 AM #6
Rainmaker
194,815
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co. - Farmville, VA

Great Post! Google also have a new tool in beta form now called Google Wave, that will eliminate alot of emailing between agents or groups of people. I think it could have great potential.

Mar 02, 2010 06:59 PM #7
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Rainer
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Doug Garner

Broker-Manager, Auctioneer Northern Kentucky
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