Don’t let these Google tools fly under your radar

'Takeout' your connections, identify ad placements, track keywords and trends

Google develops a ton of free tools that are widely used in the real estate industry.

Sure, everyone has heard of GMail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Plus, and Google Drive.

But there are a bunch of other valuable Google tools that fly under the radar.

I recently discovered Google Takeout while trying to merge and transfer data from my personal Google Plus account to my business Google Plus account, which I imagine is a fairly common scenario. 

5 lesser-known Google tools for real estate

1. Google Takeout

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Google Takeout is a nifty tool that allows you to download data from various Google services, including Google Plus and Picasa. Takeout will transfer your Google Plus circles and connections from one Google account (source) to another (destination). However, the process is not immediate. In fact, the transfer begins one week after the request is initiated and typically takes about 48 hours to process. Also, you can only execute transfers every six months. Nonetheless, it’s a super valuable tool to be aware of and have your disposal.

2. Google Charts

Google Charts is a fantastic tool for embedding visual data into your website or blog. It truly is a perfect tool for real estate professionals. The charts are interactive and are available in a variety of styles including pie charts, line charts, column charts and more. Best of all, the charts are HTML5 scalable vector graphics (SVG) and are mobile-friendly — no plug-ins required. Google Charts is a perfect way to bring your market reports to life. You can learn more and get started here.

3. Google Display Network Ad Planner

The Google Display Network Ad Planner (formerly Google DoubleClick Ad Planner) is a tool for generating website traffic and demographic reports. As Google describes it, "Google Display Network Ad Planner is a free media planning tool that can help you identify ad placements your audience is likely to visit so you can make better-informed advertising decisions."

The tool enables you to collect some pretty cool statistics, search ad placements, view demographic information and more. The tool is particularity interesting when searching high-profile websites such as Zillow or Trulia. Some of the data sets provided include age and gender. There is visitor data available as well.

The Google Display Network Ad Planner recently was rebranded and many popular features were discontinued. So I almost opted to go with the Google Adwords Keyword Tool for this spot. However, the Google Keyword Tool is a well-known, tried and true application. We’re focusing on "lesser known" Google tools in this article.

4. Google Trends

Last year, Google merged "Insights" and "Trends" into one standalone tool. Google Trends enables you to track keywords or search queries and plot them over time. You can even compare websites. Trends isn’t just a sandbox for data geeks — It’s a valuable application for any real estate pro. The ability to track and analyze industry trends, long tail search terms and local intent is critical to every Realtor’s digital strategy. This is a must-have tool.

5. SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3-D modeling application that allows you to create a variety of real estate related environments. Google acquired the platform in 2006 and sold the software to Trimble last year. However, both companies will continue to collaborate and develop the software.

The SketchUp website invites you to "Redecorate your living room. Invent a new piece of furniture. Model your city for Google Earth. There’s no limit to what you can create with SketchUp."

The SketchUp showcase is quite impressive. Here is an example of a kitchen-remodeling project. SketchUp comes in two flavors: Free, and a $495 "pro" version. You can compare the two products here.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.

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