Whether you have your own computer or you're stuck using the computer labs, Google has a lot of tools that will help you get the most out of college, academically and socially.
1. Google DocsGoogle Docs is Google's online word processor. It isn't fancy, but it does have everything you need to write your average term paper. It's perfect for any student who spends time in computer labs or on library computers, and it works well for students with their own laptop and an Internet connection.
Import and export in Microsoft Word format, and save your files as Adobe PDFs for emailing to your instructor.
2. BloggerWant to keep in touch with your friends and family while you're away? Set up a public blog, and keep them informed about your life. It's an easy way to keep your mother from worrying about you and help your friends feel close. If you're tired of typing your blog posts, you can also podcast.
If you've got a popular blog, you might even insert some Adsense Ads for extra spending money.
You could even use it to keep the peace with your roommates and track who's turn it is to vacuum this week.
4. GmailRather than relying on the campus email system, why not give your friends and families your Gmail address? It's an address that won't change when you leave college, and Gmail gives you two gigs of storage space, so you can also use your account to transfer large files between computers.
Gmail integrates with Google Talk, so you can chat with your buddies when you check your mail.
5. Google MapsGoogle Maps lets you find anything from the location of Afghanistan to the location of the local pizza parlor. You may even find a coupon for that pizza, before you order.
If you own your own computer, consider downloading Google Earth for even more information at your fingertips.
6. Google EarthGoogle Earth is a software download from Google that gives you your own virtual globe with more features than Google Maps. You can save custom locations with flags, so you can refer to them frequently. Google Earth can give you an edge in your classes, too. You get a better context in history class, for example, if you know exactly where Midway Island is located.
The only caveat with Google Toolbar is that the Internet Explorer version can interfere with WebCT 6, but the Firefox version works fine.
And most important, you can keep track of when your assignments are due, so you don't fall behind.