After spending some time creating a closed online community based solely around Google services, I have few recommendations for smaller groups on what online tools to use.
- Gmail – although well-known, it still helps to have a common email environment, when collaborating using Google tools. Not only because it integrates well with other Google services, but it also offers a Jabber-based chat called gTalk.
- Google Docs – allow for easy document sharing, can be used by multiple users at once (yes, editing one document (!) and seeing changes done by different people real-time). Goodle Docs integrate well with Gmail offering instant previews etc.
- Google Groups – as mailing lists are one of the oldest services on the internet, Google jumped in to the game with Google Groups. Interface could have some more time spent on over the years though, but it is still useful to have one mailing list that includes all collaborators. Google Groups feature the setting to have the every email forwarded or to receive a digest once a day (or even no email sent and reading done through the web).
- Google Forms – an extension to the Google Docs that offers user-friendly way to set up a reservation form, email subscription, contact form or even a survey.
- Google Maps – made famous by later introduction of extended Google Earth and the street view, Google Maps serve well for quick and dirty marking of city areas, addresses or other points of interest. Very useful for people not familiar with the area and possibly a good guide when the custom map feature is used.
I could have added Picasa or YouTube as well, but I am sure people will find the other useful Google services when needed.