GOOGLE DOESN'T EXACTLY have a publicity problem. But it does have a product problem, in the sense that since it puts its name to a bazillion products, some of them inevitably fall under the radar, and not necessarily through any fault of their own.
That wouldn't matter, except that the Powers That G have a bad habit of killing features and services that don't get enough love. Can I get an "amen" for Google Reader? Yeah.
So in the interests of hanging onto the products I use and need, here are the top 6 Google things you should all start using so they don't discontinue them. Thanks. Appreciate it.
1. Gmail Undo Send
Everyone's sent an email and immediately wished they could take it back. Gmail has the best system for doing this - rather than one of those weird "this message was recalled" emails, the Undo Send feature holds your email in the outbox for your choice of five to thirty seconds before sending.
This gives you ample breathing space to spot typos, realise you've clicked ‘reply all', or worst of all, used the phrase "kind regards."
Undo Send used to be one of the Gmail Labs features, meaning an experimental thing that you could choose to switch on. But it was so brilliant that it made it into the main product, so you'll now find it under Cog > Settings > General > Undo Send. You can choose 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds for the wait period - I'd recommend the full thirty. Sometimes you don't notice you've put "hope your well" until the 29th second.
2. Gmail Labs in general
Now that Undo Send has graduated from Gmail Labs to the General settings, it's made room for other great ideas to take its place. Labs is the sandbox for fully-fledged features, and you can find some handy features in there that might improve the way you use email.
They change a lot, and Google provides a big disclaimer that they might break or vanish any time. But - touch wood - I haven't had any problems yet.
Things you can currently turn on in Labs include a Mark As Read button (for people who hate having unread emails but don't want to open all the stuff they'll never read), Unread Message Icon (for the opposite people: this adds a little message count to the Gmail icon in the title bar), and even a thing that moves the chat box from the left to the right, like Facebook's. Mmm, so much tinkering goodness.
3. Google Docs templates
No one should spend a single precious moment of their life trying to make their CV look halfway professional when these exist. Google's made heaps of useful templates that they really don't advertise, and unlike the Microsoft Office ones of old, they don't mostly date from the same time as terms like "clip art" and "desktop publishing."
There are different templates for each product. In Google Docs (ie their Microsoft Word-alike), you'll find the CV templates as well as reports, meeting notes, newsletters, even lesson plans. But the best ones, in my opinion, are in the Excel-competitor Google Sheets.
In the Sheets templates, you'll find a wedding planner, annual and monthly budgets, to-do lists, travel planners, team rotas, timesheets, invoices - and they've been prepopulated with wizardry that adds all the totals up for you.
Annoyingly, Google's hidden them really well. To see the templates for your product of choice, go into Google Drive, click New, then choose Docs, Slides or Sheets and move across to the next menu. Click "from a template" and enjoy.
Page 2: Three more under-loved Google products, including one that changed my actual life
The week in Google
The scandal that just keeps giving
Clip to the end....