Ah, the "Double O Oracle". I resisted it. I swear I did. Just like with Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, my obstinance turned into lust once I experienced it for myself. It started with a simple search on a computer with limited resources and suddenly I saw the beauty of their design.
Next, I became drawn to AdWords while I was trying to run my own design business. I appreciated the ability to have thousands of free impressions of my business name in search results, even if no one ever clicked further. When I came back to school, a friend introduced me to Gmail and I now check all of my 6 or 7 email addresses from one online interface, which allows me to see all of my messages - past and present - from any computer that has an internet connection. That was life-changing. As far as tools for entrepreneurs go, that one was priceless...followed closely by Google Calendar, which I use to do everything from planning my week to synchronizing weekends with the boys for my ex-husband.
As if that wasn't enough reason to owe my sanity to Google, they then came out with Google Docs! I can write papers and spreadsheets, or do homework online and have it all safely saved for me the next time I want to look at it, even if it's from another computer with a different operating system! Google Reader allows me to follow my favorite blogs and RSS feeds (if you need a blog to test it out with, I'm volunteering http://geekgroupies.com/GeekBlog/groupie.html) and now Google Voice. I just hooked myself up with a number for my latest venture. Whew! And the miracle here? 'Sall free. That's right. I haven't paid a red cent for any of the services with the exception of getting clicks on AdSense, which is the backbone of Google's game plan. They let the *advertisers* pay for leading the general public to their virtual doorstep.
There are those who feel that Google is evil. They feel invaded and used. If this is how you feel, by all means, avoid their many excellent and time-saving products. I, for one, don't see a problem with letting a company earn a profit when they have a business model that is both creative and useful.