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15 Amazingly Useful Google Services You Should Know About

15 Amazingly Useful Google Services You Should Know About

As one of the most innovative tech companies in the world, Google have a very special place in my heart. They’ve created a huge number of products and services that make all of our lives easier, beginning with their famous web search engine. Everyone’s heard of Gmail and Google Maps, but it may surprise you to find out just how many Google services exist that you probably don’t know about.

As the co-founder of a busy tech company with offices across the globe, I think anything that increases productivity – and reduces frustration – is worth talking about. In this post, you’ll learn about 15 lesser-known Google services that can help you out with everything from building your business to tracking down loved ones when crisis hits.

Google Scholar

A personal favorite of mine, Google Scholar is a great way to keep up to date with academic research and progress in science and technology. Easily and quickly search across masses of scholarly literature from one place.

GoogleScholarLIfehack

    Google Keep

    This Google service is light on features, but great for keeping you super organized and on top of things. Set the time, use geo-tagging so you always know where you are (or should be), and change the color for personalized reminders throughout the week.

    Google-Keep-Lifehack copy

      Google Inbox

      The newest addition to Google’s ever-expanding suite of services, Google Inbox gives you a refreshing minimal interface and shows you what’s most important in your inbox – without even having to open the message. Everything from flight status updates, reservation details to pictures and attachments from family and friends is organized for you. Try it out for yourself by emailing inbox@google.com for an invite.

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      GoogleInboxLifehack copy

        Trendalyzer

        Also known as Gapminder, this Google service helps you easily put together interactive bubble charts that animate your statistics. Fun, easy and colorful, it’s a great way to make your figures and presentations stand out.

        GoogleTrendalyzerLifehack

          Google Business View

          Give prospective or current clients (or your parents!) a full 360° view of your office to fully integrate them into the spirit and culture of your company. Just make sure the ping pong tournament is in another part of the building.

          GoogleBusinessViewLifehack

            Google Correlate

            Everyone knows correlation is not causation. But this Google service lets you look at searches run on their engine that correlate with real-world data. For example, check out a user’s search below on which words are the most Googled during winter. The possibilities are endless.

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            GoogleCorrelateLifehack copy

              Google Goggles

              Now you really can search everything. Snap a picture and let Google crawl its database. If it finds the image in there, it will do what it does best: give you useful information.

              GoogleGogglesLifehack

                Google Sites

                Plain and simple: a streamlined way to build a website from scratch – or from pre-existing templates. Build one for your growing company, for your family, or for just because. It’s that easy.

                GoogleSitesLifehack copy

                  Google Fusion Tables

                  Who doesn’t want to get more out of the data they’re working with? Google Fusion Tables gives you new ways to gather and look at your data, including merging it with other sources and easily sharing for seamless collaboration.

                  GoogleFusionTablesLifehack

                    Google Classroom

                    Though this one is only relevant to those working in education, Google Classroom is a great tool (without ads!) to help teachers organize assignments, communicate announcements to students, and give quick feedback.

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                      Google Crisis Response

                      Hopefully you won’t have to use this one – but if disaster strikes, there’s no better tool to make information about response efforts and developing news easily available. The service partners with government agencies, relief efforts and more to bring helpful information and resources to the right places.

                      GoogleCrisisresponseLifehack

                        Google Person Finder

                        This service helps people reconnect with loved ones after a disaster hits and chaos has descended.

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                          Google Art Project

                          For this service, Google collaborated with art institutions all over the world to give people a chance to see brilliant art from the comfort of their homes. If nothing else, you’ll definitely feel more cultured!

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                          GoogleArtProjectLIfehack

                            FieldTripper

                            Who doesn’t enjoy the odd field trip? This app serves up location-based information to you as you move around a new (or old!) city with tidbits of information about your surroundings. Expect everything from what old movies were filmed to architecture factoids.

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                              Google Shopper

                              Packed with features that show you everything from what the barcode on an item means, daily and nearby deals to the ability to search for an item by voice, Google Shopper makes it easy to shop in a much smarter and more efficient way.

                              google-shopper-for-iphone

                                What are your favorites? Sound off in the comments!

                                Featured photo credit: Kristina Alexanderson via flickr.com

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                                Published on September 25, 2020

                                10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                                10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                                When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

                                VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

                                How to Choose a VPN

                                • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
                                • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
                                • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
                                • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
                                • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

                                Why You Should Trust Us

                                Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

                                Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

                                1. NordVPN

                                The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

                                Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

                                NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

                                In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

                                NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

                                Buy this VPN.

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                                2. ExpressVPN

                                ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

                                Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

                                Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                3. Surf Shark

                                With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

                                Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

                                The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

                                Buy this VPN.

                                4. CyberGhost

                                Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

                                The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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                                What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                5. IPVanish

                                IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

                                IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                6. Private Internet Access

                                Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

                                One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

                                In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

                                These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

                                Buy this VPN.

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                                7. Hotspot Shield

                                Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

                                Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

                                Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                8. TunnelBear

                                As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

                                The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

                                Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                9. Norton

                                Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

                                As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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                                Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                10. StrongVPN

                                The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

                                StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

                                As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

                                Buy this VPN.

                                Bottom Line

                                Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

                                With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

                                We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

                                Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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