As privacy is becoming an even bigger concern, the centralization of our information is an issue almost no one can afford to ignore. As such, there is a lot of talk and debate about whether we are giving up too much of our information to Google and, if so, can we trust them with that information.
This spurred a conversation with a friend of mine some time ago on the topic and we both began to think about the Google services we use on a daily basis. We put aside all of the services we use without any action on your part, such as viewing Adsense ads or YouTube clips, or even the services that we use almost every day, such as Google Docs, and focused in stead on services we know we will use at least once every working day.
So what are the services? Here they are in no particular order.
This one is fairly obvious, it is Google’s core service and still their most popular. Like the majority of the Web Google remains my default search engine and I use it at least a few times daily. Experiments with other search engines have left me less than satisfied. Google simply seems to do this best though the competition is finally getting a bit stronger.
Another obvious one. I use Gmail (technically Google Apps) to manage my email and handle almost all correspondence. Though I don’t use Google Talk, nearly every piece of correspondence, including Twitter and Facebook messages, pass through my Gmail account at some point.
Google’s RSS reader, Google Reader, is still the best tool of its kind for what I do with RSS. Though I’ve experimented with other feed readers and use them for certain functions, such as Fever, Google is still my primary RSS reader and one of the first things I open up each morning. Though the volume of RSS reading I do through it isn’t very high, it’s very crucial to my work.
I use Google Calendar to keep track of my appointments, deadlines and other important dates. The fact that it is free, integrates with other services, such as Toodledo, and syncs with both my desktop and my iPhone has made it an invaluable part of my daily life.
I may not log into Google’s Web traffic tool every day, but I get the information emailed to me (in my Gmail account no less) as it is paired with my data from PostRank for my morning reports. I also do log in on at least a weekly basis for additional analysis.
Of the services on this list, this is probably the one I am least committed to. I use Clicky primarily but I have a great deal of archived data in Google Analytics and, since it is free, I continue to use it alongside with Postrank.
At the risk of starting a browser war, I use Google Chrome as my primary browser at home on my Windows comp and switch between it and Firefox at work on my Mac. By in large it has proved to be the fastest and most stable browser for my day-to-day needs though I keep other browsers around for Web development.
Very recently, I started using Google Voice both as my voicemail on my personal phone but also my business line. All calls to my business are routed through the service and I make all outgoing calls through it as well. This way, I can receive important calls no matter where I am, get transcriptions of voicemails and generally offer a better experience to clients.
On this list, FeedBurner is the only Google product I started using while it was part of another company. Google bought out FeedBurner and has integrated it (somewhat) into their other offerings. FeedBurner is a service I don’t actively recommend anymore, though I still remain committed to it, largely due to the fact the benefits of leaving do not outweigh the problems I would likely incur.
As with Google Analytics, it may not be a service I log into every day, but I have integrated it in with other services and get daily FeedBurner reports, which, sadly, are often useless.
So what do you think? Do we give Google too much of our information and, if so, what alternate service should we be looking at?
I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this so leave a comment below.