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Understanding Google Workspace

Learn how understanding Google Workspace can empower you to create documents, spreadsheets, forms, slideshows, and more.

Back to Smithville Smart: Digital Fluency Series

From Docs, Drive, to Sheets, you have probably heard of some aspect of Google Workspace before. However, understanding Google Workspace is the first step to using its applications. These applications allow you to work on a multitude of projects independently or with others. It offers productivity, communication, and collaboration tools used in businesses, schools, and everyday life. Google workspace offers a versatile solution for a wide range of users. Once you begin understanding Google Workspace, it can be used for email, school projects, work tasks, and more.

Google Account

In order to begin understanding Google Workspace, you will have to create a Google Account. A Google Account is a user account that provides access to a variety of Google services and products, such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, and more. Your Google Account serves as your single sign-in credential to access these services.

When you create a Google Account, you will also create a Gmail email address. You can use this for sending and receiving emails and various other Google services. Your Google Account stores your settings, preferences, and data across your Google apps. This makes it convenient to access and manage your information from multiple devices.

Here’s how you can set up a Google Account:

  1. Navigate to https://accounts.google.com/signup.
  2. Fill in your first and last name.
  3. Choose a username. This will be your Google email address: [your username]@gmail.com.
  4. Create a password.
  5. Confirm your password by re-entering it.
  6. Fill in additional security information. This is optional but can be helpful for account recovery.
  7. Verify your phone number. This adds an extra layer of security to your account and will help to recover it if needed.
  8. Review Google’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and accept them if you agree.

Google Workspace

Understanding Google Workspace starts with its applications. Also known as Google Apps, Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-based productivity tools. It includes a variety of applications used for communication, productivity, file storage, and collaboration. Google Apps are free to use and accessible with your Google Account from a browser or app. All Google Apps save to a cloud. This means that you can access your files from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Here’s how you can find Google Workspace:

  1. Sign in to your Google Account: myaccount.google.com
  2. Click “Go to Google Account.”
  3. Enter your email address and password. Click Next.
  4. Click the Bento Menu in the upper right-hand corner next to the circle with your first initial in it. A list of Google apps should pop up.
  5. From there, you can select which Google App you want to explore.

Google Drive

Part of understanding Google Workspace is knowing where to access all of your projects. Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage and synchronization service. It allows you to store files, documents, photos, videos, and other digital content. You can access these from various devices with an Internet connection. Drive integrates with other Google Apps which allows users to collaborate in real-time, seamlessly share files with others, and edit and comment on the same file simultaneously.

Google Docs

Google Docs is an online word-processing application that allows you to create, edit, and store documents online. It is a cost-effective alternative to other applications that may require a subscription purchase. You can access your documents from any Internet-connected device.

One of its standout features is that it lets you collaborate online with your colleagues in real time. All you have to do is share the Doc by sending a link or inviting them via email. It also automatically saves your changes, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work due to accidental closures. Plus, the system saves all changes to a version history. This gives you a detailed history of the previous versions of your document.

You can start a Google Doc from scratch by creating a blank document or you can select from a template. The application provides a variety of templates that make it easy to create professional-looking documents—like a resume. You can also export and download in various formats, making it easy to share documents with others.

Gmail

Gmail stands for “Google Mail.” It is a free, web-based email account provided by Google. It allows you to send and receive emails, store contacts, and use other features offered by Google. Many users use Gmail to sign up for social media accounts, streaming services, newsletters, and other websites.

Gmail has automated filtering technology to make it easier to sort through your inbox. Its robust spam filters automatically separate spam emails. It also automatically categorizes incoming emails to Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and forums.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an online calendar and time-management tool that lets you schedule and organize events, appointments, and activities. You can customize each event with attachments such as documents, images, and other relevant files. You can even color-code each event to easily distinguish between different activities. Google Calendar has filtering technology that lets you view your schedule by specific criteria, or you can search for a single event manually.

Google Calendar integrates with other Google Apps, such as Gmail. This allows you to enable notifications that remind you of upcoming events and appointments. It also integrates with Google Meet, so you can schedule and join video conferences directly from your calendar.

Google Calendar lets you invite others to events by email invitations. From there, you can specify their access: view-only, edit, or manage. This allows the recipient to add the event to their calendar as well. You can also make your calendar public or share it with specific people.

Google Slides

Google Slides lets you create, edit, and deliver professional-quality presentations online. Its collaborative features allow you to work with colleagues on presentations in real time from any device. Changes are instantly visible, automatically saved, and tracked in a detailed version history. Like other Google Apps, it saves your presentations to a cloud which makes it easy and convenient to work on them.

Google Slides integrates with Google Meet. This makes it easy to present your slideshow right from Slides during video calls. It also has Presenter View, which shows your notes, upcoming slides, and a timer for you to see. It is popular among educators, business professionals, and students who need a flexible and convenient way to create and deliver presentations.

Once you open Google Slides, you can create a blank presentation or select from the template gallery. From there you can customize your presentation as needed. You can also download it in various formats for flexible sharing.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows you to create, edit, and store spreadsheets online. It is also a powerful tool for data analysis and visualization and offers a range of functions for mathematical calculations, statistical analysis, and chart and graph creation.

Google Sheets allows multiple users to work on the same spreadsheet simultaneously and view changes in real time, making it an excellent tool for teamwork. It saves all changes to a cloud, ensuring that you won’t lose valuable data due to system crashes, connectivity issues, or accidental closures. You can access previous versions of your spreadsheet from Version History.

Google Sheets allows data imports and exports from various sources and formats. This makes it easy to share information with others. It also integrates seamlessly with other Google Apps. This lets you incorporate data and charts into your documents and presentations.

Google Forms

Google Forms allows you to design and distribute surveys, questionnaires, quizzes, and forms. It has a user-friendly interface, making it easy to add questions, multiple-choice options, text fields, and more. You can create your own form or choose from a variety of templates.

Each form is customizable to fit your specific needs—from choosing themes and colors to adding images. You can also set rules to ensure you get accurate information and give your respondents the option to remain anonymous.

One powerful feature of Google Forms is its automatic data collection. It automatically stores the responses to your form and saves them to a spreadsheet. This allows you to easily review, analyze, or share the information with others. It also provides graphs and charts of responses to better understand the data collected.

Google Meet

Google Meet is a video conferencing and online meeting platform that allows you to host and join virtual meetings, webinars, and video conferences through a web browser or its app. This makes it easy to join a meeting from a computer, phone, or tablet.

It also integrates with other Google Apps—such as Google Calendar. This integration allows you to easily schedule and join meetings directly from your calendar events and other Google App projects, such as a slideshow or document.

Google Meet has many tools to increase user interaction during meetings. Participants can share their screens, exchange messages using the chat feature, conduct live polls, and host Q&A sessions. It also has real-time closed captions for accessibility.

Next: Getting started with Google Workspace

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