Thing 4 – Google

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my Google account. It wished me a happy birthday this year with a special Google doodle! But, just like when it does other nice and helpful things like remind me ‘it’s time to leave for the airport’ or create a slideshow of my photos there’s a slight sense of discomfort that my Google account knows more about, and takes more interest in, the daily occurrences in my life than some of my best friends.

Despite my slight discomfort I like the fact that Google adds things from my email to my calendar and makes life easy for me where it can. I’ve used a lot of different Google tools, especially Gmail and Drive. Drive has been invaluable for some of the collaborative work I’ve been involved in.

I joined Google+ a few years ago because it is used by members of my family to share pictures in a more secure way than Facebook. (Although there are now more options on Facebook that allow you to do this.) I don’t really make much use of it and it kinda just sits there until there’s a conversation going or something being shared that I’m interested in.

The same goes for Google Hangouts – I’ve used it in a personal capacity rather than for work but I enjoy how it lets you group call and find that for more than two people it can be a better option than Skype. It also has some really fun features if you’re chatting to little people. Hangouts-on-air sounds amazing, even if its just to troubleshoot IT problems for my parents now that I am that bit farther away.

I think the main thing with all the available online tools out there is that there is no harm in giving them a go. In my experience the organisations I have worked for have certain ways of doing things and specific tools but the more experience you have with using different ones, the more likely you’ll be better equipped to troubleshoot if (or more likely when) there are technical issues.

Since moving I have realised that online access to my friends, family and networks is very important to me and so my Google account as well as other tools used to keep an online presence mean I don’t feel isolated in any way. Although I don’t really have the need to use these things for work at the moment, the fact is that someday I might and the more I know how to do, the easier it is to learn something similar or the next big thing.