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Google offers seemingly endless services and apps. Even though it began as (and primarily is) a search engine, today Google has a solution for every internet user’s needs. And when it comes to meeting needs, Google doesn’t forget the needs of web designers and developers. In this article, we will be taking at a look at some of the major Google services and how they can be useful for a WordPress user.

16 Google Services And Apps For Your WordPress Blog

1. Google Custom Search


Google Custom Search creates a custom search engine for your website. You can tweak it to your heart’s content – it can search your entire website, parts of the website or even multiple websites specified by you! You can also connect your Adsense account to the ads displayed with the search results (free version). The paid version lets you remove ads completely (starting at $100 per year).

Google Custom SearchGoogle Custom Search

2. Google Web Fonts


Google Web Fonts is perhaps the best friend for web designers/developers looking to use non-standard fonts in their projects. This fonts’ directory lets you easily implement the CSS @font-face technique.

Google Web FontsGoogle Web Fonts

Google Web Fonts are totally free and can be implemented within minutes. You can either use a plugin or an @import command at the top of the CSS file (and then simply use the font’s name in your stylesheet). For instance:

@import url(‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Sans’);

#body { font: normal normal normal 14px/20px ‘Droid Sans’, Arial, sans-serif; }

3. Google Adsense/AdWords


If you wish to have advertisements on your website, Google Adsense is the easiest way to start. There are many tutorials that let you get the most of Adsense, as well as numerous plugins that help you implement Adsense in WordPress.

Google AdWordsGoogle AdWords

With AdWords, you can use the Keyword Search to see the trends in search for specific keywords.

4. Goo.gl URL Shortener


WordPress has its own version of URL shortener in the form of WP.me – and this feature has now been very well integrated in Jetpack. However, Google claims its URL shortener is one of a kind! Further more, Google has also released its own URL Shortener API. So if you don’t already use it, it is time you started doing so. To get started, here is an excellent tutorial by Konstantin Kovshenin to help you get started with its integration in WordPress. If you do not wish to code yourself, there are many plugins out there to help you.

Google URL ShortenerGoogle URL Shortener

5. Feedburner


Who doesn’t know Feedburner? It is a great tool that lets you track your website’s progress, number of subscribers, manage RSS and email subscriptions, apart from setting up and tweaking your blog’s feeds.

Google FeedburnerGoogle Feedburner

6. Google Analytics


Everyone uses Analytics – well, almost! Analytics is a wonderful tool when it comes to tracking the progress of your websites, clicks, advertisements, referrers and other related information. You can target specific sections and see what portions of your website are more popular than the rest. For WordPress users, Definitive WordPress Analytics by Joost de Valk is perhaps the most popular plugin for Analytics. If you are not familiar with Analytics, you should consider tutorials by KISSmetrics.

Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics

7. Google Website Optimizer


Google Website Optimizer lets you perform experiments to see what works best for your website and how you can boost its performance. In other words, it can be useful in ‘split-testing’ your website.

It is, however, fairly advanced in its operation and if you are looking for a simpler alternative, you should consider the MaxA/B WordPress plugin.

8. Google Libraries API


Google Libraries API contains code frameworks which can be used on many platforms, including WordPress. While the truth behind this claim is anyone’s guess, it is often said that the Google Libraries’ framework is faster than the one that comes packaged with WordPress itself. The easiest way to integrate Google Libraries’ framework is using a plugin, but just in case you are adventurous, you can code it manually along the following lines (I’d personally suggest you use this method in custom extensions/plugins preferably):

<?php

wp_deregister_script(‘jquery’);

wp_register_script(‘jquery’, ‘http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1/jquery.min.js’);

wp_enqueue_script(‘query’);

?>

Code Credit: Frederick Townes

Google Libraries API currently supports Chrome Frame, Dojo, Ext Core, jQuery, jQuery UI, MooTools, Prototype, script.aculo.us, SWFObject, Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI), and WebFont Loader. You can check its developer guide here.

9. Google Chrome Developer Tools


Google Chrome now accounts for nearly 10% of total browser usage. It comes with its own set of Developer Tools, which is comparable to Firefox’s Firebug. Owing to the browser’s ever-increasing popularity, the extensions offered in Chrome DT are also on the rise.

http://www.youtube.com/v/nOEw9iiopwI

10. Google Project Hosting


Google Project Hosting lets you maintain a project online. It is similar to Github in its mode of operation. You can host projects up to 2 GB in size for free, and it also offers you many features such as subversion, project wikis and issue tracking. From a WordPress user’s perspective, many heavy-weight projects such as Thematic are listed.

Google Project HostingGoogle Project Hosting

11. Google Checkout


Google Checkout is a service similar to Paypal. The best thing about Checkout is its excellent integration with many Google services, such as Adsense and AdWords. On the downside, however, it is not yet available in many countries.

Nevertheless, integrating Google Checkout as an alternative payment solution along side Paypal doesn’t seem to be a bad decision. For WP users, there are many plugins that can help you integrate Google Checkout in your website, such as Simple Google Checkout and LBAK Google Checkout.

12. Google Docs and Chart Tools


Google Docs is a web-based Office suite that lets you edit, create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms. You can even live-edit documents with multiple users.

Google DocsGoogle Docs

Google Docs can be embedded into WordPress too, if you so desire.

Along similar lines, Google Chart Tools let you create interactive charts for your blog.

13. Google Maps


The benefits of Google Maps are not unknown to anyone. You can integrate Google Maps on your blog using multiple plugins, of which the most popular one is MapPress, that lets you integrate Maps on your WP site in an easy manner.

Google MapsGoogle Maps

14. YouTube


YouTube is another extremely popular Google service that lets users upload and share videos. From your blog’s perspective, you can easily upload the bulky videos on YouTube and save a considerable amount of bandwidth. With the advent of HTML5, integrating a YouTube video in WordPress is a matter of minutes using embeds – simply enter the URL of the video in a fresh line, and you’re good to go!

However, if you wish to have total control over the embedded video, you may consider using plugins such as TubePress or Viper’s Video Quicktags.

15. Google Reader


Google Reader is a free web-based RSS feed tool. If you wish to blog about stuff from your RSS reading pane, you can add a ‘Send to’ button for your WordPress blog (by default, such mechanism exists for Facebook, Twitter and few other sites, but a WP-powered blog).

Google ReaderGoogle Reader

You might be tempted to use WordPress’s ‘Press This’ function in Reader too, but sadly, that is not possible because Press This is javascript and Reader will need a full-fledged URL.

In such a case, we will need to post directly to press-this.php

To do so, navigate to ‘Send To’ tab under Settings in Google Reader, and click ‘Create a custom link’. In the URL field, enter the URL to your website, along the following lines:

http://www.sample-website.com/wp-admin/press-this.php?u=${url}&t=${title}&s=${source}&v=2

Make sure you substitute ‘sample-website’ in the above snippet with the URL of your site.

16. Google Summer of Code


While this is not an extension or an app, Summer of Code offers a wonderful opportunity for young talents to, well, do awesome stuff! WordPress has been a regular participant since 2007, and you can check about its progress on the codex.