This Time in Family Tech: Google
In today’s day and age, it can be tough to find the time to get everything done in your life. Whether you’re being pulled in ten different directions at work, trying to catch up on your recent Netflix obsession, or keeping up with this week’s cool new app it can be tough to try and learn the latest and greatest technology that promises to revolution your world and make managing your home life easier. But what about putting some of the technologies that you’re already using to work for you? For each article in this series, we’ll take a look at an app that you’re probably already using and how it can help you run your home-life. This week, we’ll take a look at how we use some of Google’s products in my family:
Scheduling with Google Calendar
Google offers one of the most capable calendar apps available. With Google’s renowned search capabilities baked right into every aspect of the platform, it’s incredibly easy to add event locations, find upcoming items, and invite others to join you. In our family, each person has their own calendar which we then share with one another. This has made it incredibly easy to manage our home life, whether it’s coordinating the morning carpool, scheduling kids’ activities, or even just trying to find a time for dinner with our extended family.
Sharing Information with Google Drive
Google Drive bills itself as the ultimate collaboration suite. With a robust feature set and constant improvement, it’s poised to challenge Microsoft Office as the king of enterprise productivity. But it’s also a really great way to manage your plan vacations, trips, and events, manage the budget, or even take control of your healthcare. While Dropbox is a great solution for document sharing, Google’s collaboration features (e.g. editing, commenting, search, etc.) along with the lower price of storage has made it the go-to solution in our family.
Planning Vacations, Trips, Events, & Budgets
Using spreadsheets to help manage budgets or plan vacations, trips, etc. is pretty straightforward. For us, using Google Drive really just makes sense due to its heavy focus on collaboration. For example, when we started planning our wedding, we created a spreadsheet on Google and asked our closest family members to add any potential guests that they’d like to include. Within minutes, we had a full draft which my fiancé and I then started to refine. This was a fantastic idea that helped everybody to feel heard and a part of the wedding planning process, while still giving us ultimate control over the guest list.
Life is full of lots of little family decisions: Where should we have the next birthday party? Which insurance plan is right for me? What should we have for dinner? Our family has made Google Drive the default place where we store all of the information needed to make these decisions. Any time we get a digital informational document from work, our insurance company, etc. we throw it into a shared folder on Drive and let the appropriate family member know.
Health tracking is all the rage these days – there are plenty of fitness and health trackers out there that can help you gain some insight on your daily activities, and many of these are powered by Google’s Android offering. However, I think that there’s another way to track your family’s health – specifically in the area of symptom tracking: Google Forms. This platform essentially allows you to quickly collect and analyze information via a form. For example, if you’ve been having chronic headaches, Google Forms might be a great way to start tracking your symptoms along with some potential causes and try to find some patterns (e.g. your headaches may occur on days that you don’t have caffeine).
At the end of the day, my family can’t imagine our digital life without Google playing a pretty key role. By simply embracing this fact, my family has been able to take advantage of Google’s huge suite of products and put them to work to help keep us organized. The strong focus on collaboration makes it perfect for keeping the family on the same page, and we love that we can do everything we need on a free account. While we’re still careful not to put any information that is too sensitive online, for most things we need to do, Google has worked great.