If you are a small business owner, you are probably conducting more and more of your business on your mobile device. Choosing a smartphone and then figuring out how to take full advantage of its capabilities can be daunting, but it can also make your work life run more efficiently.
Google Now, the powerful personal assistant from Google, is a great tool that works on any device using the Google app. However, it works especially well on Google devices, such as the Nexus. For instance, the Nexus takes advantage of the almost 100 third-party apps that have integrated Google Now as well as Google Now on Tap, the newly launched and enhanced update for Google Now.
Here some of the many ways your small business can use Google Now:
Appointments and Reminders
Like most virtual assistants, Google Now enables you to set reminders for just about anything, ranging from bills to employee birthdays. You can set these manually or through voice activation — all you have to say is “Google, remind me I have an appointment with…”
Additionally, you can set Google Now to access your Gmail account to automatically set reminders for flight bookings, car rentals, hotels, meetings, restaurants and packages you are expecting. A particularly useful feature is that you can set reminders to alert you when you are at a certain location. For example, you can set a reminder like: “Remind me when I am at Acme Corp. that Jane Smith likes to be called Janie and she usually orders red wine.”
Booking and managing travel can be a headache for small businesses without a dedicated travel agency making the arrangements for them. But with Google Now, it can keep track of all your relevant travel information, especially since it is integrated into many third-party travel apps like Kayak and Skyscanner.
For example, when you search prices for a flight, you can ask Google Now to track them and give you updates when prices drop or rise. After booking a flight, Google Now will track traffic to let you know when to leave for the airport, provide your mobile boarding pass when you arrive at the airport and send you information about your destination, such as hotel information, car rentals, nearby events and currency conversion or translations for international travel. Upon your return, Google Now can even remind you where you parked your car.
Google Now is particularly useful when you or your employees are commuting in high-traffic areas. It can let you know how long your commute will take in the morning and remind you to leave earlier if traffic is at a higher volume than usual. For meetings, employees can share their commute, so you can gauge when everyone will arrive. Google Now works for both road traffic and public transportation.
Most small business owners are expected to keep up with the latest industry news. Customize Google Now to give you updates on topics you are interested in, so when you open the app it shows you recent articles and information on that subject. Google Now is also integrated with third-party apps, such as ABC News, The Economist, Circa and Feedly, so you can customize news updates from these sources as well. Google Now also can remind you to finish an article you started and never got back to.
A social media presence has become important for small businesses. One tool that is integrated with Google Now is Hootsuite. This social media management tool enables you to manage all your accounts on the major social media sites by scheduling posts and tracking replies and mentions. Google Now cards help your social media managers track the performance of posts by sending notifications about the best performing content.