A Day In the Life of a Google Junkie

In the 10 years that I have been a Web professional (all of which I've spent developing and promoting websites) I've never seen a company as dominant in its industry as Google. And I would bet the 30 domain names I call my own that you feel the exact same way.

Not only has Google become part of the common lexicon, it is a company whose services most of us rely on greatly each and every day to sustain our businesses, even keep us connected with friends and colleagues. To "Google," in the minds of many, now means to find - but what have we found? Let's look at a day in the life of a Google junkie, yours truly, to find out.

The first thing upon waking in the morning is to check my personal Gmail account. I do that one of two ways - either on my laptop (through my Chrome browser) or through my G1 mobile phone and the Android operating system. While Gmail continues fighting for market share against the likes of Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail and even AOL, the addition of new technology approaches to daily communication (such as Google Wave) might arguably make short work of the competition. In fact, Gmail grew 43 percent in 2008 alone. Expect big growth in 2009 too.

After arriving at the Website Magazine offices, I immediately log into my Google Reader account and review the many Google Alerts I've established since that offering launched. (I am a former user of Bloglines but it was much more convenient to keep my official communication under the same virtual umbrella.)

When I have sufficiently stuffed myself with information, it's off to do some quick analysis. There are about 10 domains that I watch closely in my Google Analytics account - some are parked courtesy of Google, so there is occasionally a detour to my AdSense account. Then it's off to my Webmaster Central account to make sure everything is humming along nicely; search engine positions and all. Then, AdWords to check the status and performance of paid search campaigns, to generate a few reports, and maybe add some more funds to the account. Since Google drives about 70 percent of the natural and paid traffic to our Web properties, other sources often wait for later in the day.

Finally, it's lunchtime. Since I tend to eat at my desk (which I've been told is unhealthy), I have the luxury of quickly scanning the news (Google News), checking my stock portfolio (Google Finance), and maybe even watching a few videos (YouTube).

Next, it's time to get some real work done. Most of the documents I create are stored on Google Docs, so I can access them from home and the office. I'm routinely interrupted, however, thanks to Google Talk - but it's proven to be a powerful way to keep in touch with people as I'm working on projects. Plus, downloading the AIM client behind the corporate firewall is not a possibility.

Before leaving the office, it's not uncommon for me to check Google Maps for traffic info, and perhaps the location of some stores on the way home using Google Local.

After the kids are in bed, an entire micro-cycle of my day resumes - last checks on all the important Google accounts (AdWords, AdSense, Reader, Gmail, etc.) and then it's off to bed where neither my laptop nor my phone are allowed. Unfortunately.

There is a small contingent of Web professionals - you might be one of them - that fear Google. They believe that their absolute and unabated power and control might sooner or later corrupt them.

So what, in all this introspection have I found with Google? Convenience, simplicity, support, value, even entertainment. I encourage you not to fear Google. Rather, I encourage you to willfully submit to them in all their fascinating, glorious totality. You might just learn something about how to serve customers and generate revenue.

So what if the critics worry that the cloud might implode, or that another pair of genius programmers working in their garage will develop a new way of organizing the world's information? What I have learned about Google probably won't surprise you - it is that they are the benchmark on which all great companies today and in the future will be measured.

What are you doing to get users "hooked"?