Using Google to Work More Efficiently

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Guest Blogger Alex Cortez is a REALTOR with Hawaii Life Real Estate Services. Visit his Maui Real Estate site for local information.

The keys to Google’s success as a search engine have been its perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. Fortunately, those traits have transcended to other applications as Google has grown from a SE to a powerful work center. In the past month I have been making a slow transition from working on various PC and Mac-based programs to using Google as my primary workstation (both mobile and static). And although most people who use Gmail or other Google-based email service as their email provider know how powerful and convenient it is, I would like to share a few note-worthy features in Google Docs and Google Calendar that can simplify previously time-intensive tasks.

Google Docs

The premise behind Google Docs is simple: provide a clear, yet effortless, way to share documents. In this regard, Google Docs has delivered with features that are as responsive to the growing needs of its users as they are visionary. For example, the sharing interface is very user-friendly, intuitive and, most importantly, useful. By providing an easy method of sharing documents online, Google Docs empowers its users with a robust platform on which people can save, edit, and collaborate.

Whether you are working on a listing presentation, financial report, or marketing material, you can easily allow other team members (i.e. co-listing agent, marketing director, office manager) to collaborate and edit the same document in real time while using data validation that you have set forth. Use the chat function to interact with collaborators during real-time co-editing to produce a concise document, saving time and frustration of multiple edits.

In addition, a new feature to Google Docs that can have an array of benefits is the use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to turn digital documents into editable text versions of it, thereby minimizing data entry. Formats supported are Images and PDF files, as well as Images from digital cameras or phones. Keep in mind that formatting may be lost during the conversion, but as this is the first iteration of OCR implementation, you can expect quality and compatibility to improve with time. Furthermore, as real estate professionals constantly work on the go, the ability to access PDF’s, .ppt, .doc, and .docx files that you have uploaded is paramount. Although currently only iPhones, iPads and Androids are supported, look for more accessibility options in the future.

Google Calendar

Between listing appointments, office meetings, caravans, marketing plans, etc., there never seems to be enough hours in the day. As such, any tool that can assist real estate agents in increasing their time-management efficiency is always a welcomed addition. And the Google Calendar accomplishes this in spades. With mobile support for smartphones and sync-ability to Microsoft Outlook or Mac’s Calendar, you can access GCal whenever and however you want. And what I find most practical on Google Calendar is the ability to share calendars, which can minimize scheduling conflicts.

Need to schedule a showing, but hate the back-and-forth aspect of coordinating availability of sellers, listing agents, buyer’s agent, and buyer? By sharing calendars as appropriate, it can simplify what is an otherwise unnecessarily complicated task. Look for future integration of social media calendars into GCal, making it the one and only calendar for the busy, on-the-go real estate professional.

By being on the cutting edge of technology and addressing concerns with practical email solutions, a functional scheduling calendar, and a pragmatic method of document-saving/sharing, Google has created a setting where productive professionals can thrive.

Do you have any time saving tips that you’d like to share? Comment away.