Without a doubt, Google’s most popular service (obviously excluding their search engine centerpiece) is their free email. Google has recently integrated Gmail into an even more comprehensive service including Drive (more on that later) and Google+ Photos. Gmail services are constantly being upgraded, the web user experience is second-to-none, the @gmail.com email address is universally recognized, and great support via a vast knowledgebase and even chat and phone (which, to be fair, Google does make it difficult to get hold of a person for support if you’re not spending money). In addition, Gmail can be integrated with your favorite email client including Outlook, Outlook Express, and Thunderbird.
Google Drive is cloud storage for any and all of your files. Altogether, Google gives you 15 GB of storage for free. Up until recently this space was allocated at 5 GB per service (across Mail, Photos, and Drive) which is an ample amount for most users. In what could be described as a brilliant way to use the same data in a much more effective way, Google now allows users access to that full 15 GB pool of data allocated however they want. If you use up your 15 GB allotment, Google offers paid plans starting at $1.99/month for 100 GB of cloud storage and just $9.99/month for a full 1 TB. But if you only need another 15 GB, you could always just register another free account as many people do.
3. Google Apps for Business
Google Apps for Business is a full cloud-based solution for hosting all of a business’ online application needs. Its main selling points include hosting your business email (complete with @yourcompany.com emails) with Gmail as your employee’s web-based email client and Microsoft exchange-like integration with Outlook, online file sharing through Drive, video meetings through Hangouts, collaborative document management and editing through Docs, shared calendars, and dozens of other apps to help streamline a business’ data needs. Pricing starts at $5/user/month (or $50 year) for their basic service and an impressive $10/user/month for Apps with unlimited storage so you never have to worry about exceeding your data limits.
Another free service from Google (and integrated with Drive if you so choose), Docs offers an extremely impressive set of features. Docs allows you to view PDFs, Microsoft Office (including Word, Powerpoint, and Excel) files, and create forms, presentations, word documents, etc. all in one easy-to-use location. Docs is fully integrated with other Google services so that you can preview any file-type it supports directly in your Gmail account if the document is attached to an email – further showing Google’s keen eye for user experience. In addition, one under-used feature is the Google Docs Forms that allow you to create surveys and polls in order to collect data and automatically output the data to live spreadsheets. Finally, all Google Docs can be edited in real-time by multiple users, right down to being able to see what part of the document a user is currently looking at and editing, making it ideal for business collaboration.
Google Wallet started as a service to take on PayPal as a payment processor (with a much better value proposition) and offer people a way to combine all their plastic (including credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards) into one easy-to-use digital wallet. Users needed to only tap their smartphones on credit card terminals that accepted tap and pay with credit/debit cards already. Later on, Google released a physical Wallet Debit card which allows you to spend in stores directly from your balance, or from one of your credit/debit cards if setup in your Wallet settings, and receive real-time notifications directly on your phone and through email. Finally, in Google’s ongoing quest to provide more and more features, users can now attach invoices directly to emails like regular file attachments and even attach money to emails in the same way. The person on the other end simply needs to press a single button in the email to pay or accept payment. Pricing for wallet is extremely competitive, being free to always send, almost always free to send from a bank account or debit card (and receive from one), and the industry standard 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction when you get a credit card involved due to the processing fees.