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The (Un)Essential Google Guide

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When Gmail started, you had to be invited to join. Now, Google’s an essential part of life—from YouTube and GoogleMaps to Blogger and Google Docs (thought to be the beginning of the cloud movement), it’s hard to imagine what life was like before Google.

Here is our list of three Google applications that you will soon not be able to live without:

1. SketchUp : Remember when you were young and liked to build with Legos? Well, while an architecture degree can cost upwards of $100,000, you can build models from scratch or download what you need with this application. You also have access to the Google 3D Warehouse—with a huge searchable bank of models. The best part about it is that it won’t cost you a cent.

Of course, you could also buy SketchUp Pro for $495, made for professionals.

2. Google Voice : As anyone searching for a job knows, placing your résumé with your personal information on a job board means that anyone who wants to contact you can. Google Voice helps you avoid creepers by providing a voicemail box (you can use your own number or an alternate number). Essentially, it’s one number that rings on all your phones so when you get voicemails, you get them as transcriptions in your Google Voice account.

3. Google Sites : Yes, personal websites that didn’t require any HTML knowledge were all the rage in the 1990s. Angelfire and sites like Geocities created countless homes for teen-angst-filled writing. But if you’ve moved beyond that, then you can make a portfolio site to show off your work thanks to Google. These sites are both relatively simple to make and the sites look professional (no advertising unlike Yahoo).

So, sign up now and help the Google world domination arrive just a little bit faster.

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