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Why spend hundreds of dollars on an event planner when you can use Google for free?

Seriously.  You’re going to be doing most of the legwork anyway if you’re planning a party.  Why send out precious invitations printed on smooth matte cardstock paper when you can just give friends a heads-up through email?  It’s less expensive, and much cooler to anyone with a laptop or iPhone.

So let’s see how Google can save you a lot of money on your next event.

Telephone Lookup

Whether choosing to hire or fire an event planner, certain research still needs to be done in order to prepare party invitations.

How many of your friends’ addresses do you keep stored in your memory?  Probably not many.  However, calling friends up on a cellphone is as easy as pressing a few buttons.  Why not find their addresses just as easily?  Just type their phone numbers into the Google search box (only numbers, without hyphens), and receive their addresses as search results.  Then, start mailing out your party invitations.

Google Notebook

Once you locate an address through a Google search, you can save it just as easily by bringing Google Notebook into play.  This app can be accessed through your Google account, and the cool thing is that you can download a mini-notebook that can be drawn up at will from the bottom corner of your screen.  Just open it up (without leaving your search page), highlight the address you’ll be saving, press “clip” in Google Notebook, and ta-da!  The info is saved.

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Plus, you can even search your notebooks just as you would Google itself, to find any clips that you might misplace.

Google Street View

If you’re going to make a map to send with your invitations, why not use Google Maps The Five Best Things About Google Maps The Five Best Things About Google Maps Read More ?  Furthermore, why not just go the full distance and use Google Street View?

Just type in your own address on Google Maps, and press the “street view” option included in the bubble containing your address.

What you’ll find is a photo-realistic, interactive map that will give your friends a perfect idea of how to get to your house.  If you choose to send a snailmail invitation, you can use the Street View pic of your residence as a reference; however, if you send your invites out via the internet, you can give your friends a Street View pic that they can manipulate with their mouse.

Google Bookmarks

While in the process of party-planning, you’ll probably get distracted quite often.  As soon as you begin to discover interesting sites on the internet, you’ve got to go to work or to run an errand.

Don’t worry.  Google’s Bookmark tool will allow you to save whole sites for future reference.  In order to keep your thoughts organized, you can comment on the sites & even add tags to them.

Of course, your bookmarks are searchable.

Google Calendar

Every event planner needs a calendar, and Google’s got you covered.  Google Best of Google Calendar (Addons + Tips) Best of Google Calendar (Addons + Tips) Read More Calendar Best of Google Calendar (Addons + Tips) Best of Google Calendar (Addons + Tips) Read More is easy to manipulate:  you can plan far into the future, to the very hour of the day in question.

You can even share your calendar with others, and when your friends agree to be at your event they’ll receive confirmation email reminders in Gmail.

Google Sites

Once you’ve planned your party and you’re ready to send the invites, you can do it via Gmail by including a link in your letter to a customized Google Site.

This recent app lets you build your own free web pages.  Save your friends the trouble of having to open up attachments in their mail, and simply upload all of your photos, info, & links to your Google site.  Then, send out a carbon copy email to everyone on your invite list, giving them a direct link to the webpage.

Is Google The Best There Is?

All of the services described above can be accessed by logging into Google & entering “My Account”.  Let us know if you’re a fan of Google’s services.  If not, are there other services that you recommend over Google’s?

A lot of companies seem to be using Google’s apps as a model, and some are creating software that is even more functional than what Google has to offer.

Feel free to comment about any other apps that are worth looking into.

Photo Credit : CleverCupCakes
Photo Credit : Alexander O’Neill
Photo Credit : Pittaya
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Photo Credit : Derbeth
Photo Credit : Yandle
Photo Credit : Misterteacher

  1. Matt
    April 14, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    You crack me up. I have been an event planner for over 15 years and I have seen my share of DIY events. Sure, any fool can handle typing the word "caterer" or "equipment rental" into a google box but then what? Here is a simple examples of how you could go seriously wrong.

    Did you know caterers quote their per person charges without including tax and service? In SF, that is an additional 25% or so. If you had a budget, it's shot now.

    You should be careful when you spout off about something you obviously know nothing about. Maybe if I type "blogger" into google, you'll be out of a job.

  2. James Withers
    April 2, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I'd like to make a comment to anyone with a professional background in event planning.

    First of all, I'd like to say thank you for offering your services to the community. In reading through some of the nicely articulated arguments in favor of these professional services, I'm impressed with the aim & scope of the services being offered.

    Obviously, my article is to be read in jest, and I surely hope no one who reads it actually calls up their event planner and dismisses him or her. I simply sought to illustrate the novelty of Google's services here, and to introduce readers to a few of the services that they may not have been aware of. Just as I'm impressed with potentials & abilities of event planners, I'm also impressed with Google's services.

    Furthermore, whether you're using Google or not, there are plenty of interesting services available online to meet the needs of a homegrown planner.

    However, in the long run, many people will avoid using Google for these means simply because Google's services may not be sufficient for every occasion, especially if applied to a grand scale event.

    Luckily, people who are not interest in exploring these Google services have the option to click on event planning ads to learn more.

    Bottom line: I'm glad both service options are available, and I certainly don't wish for any actual planners to be fired. :)

    • Prof Events Planner
      April 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm

      Please understand that right now meetings and events are under fire from the highest level. We are fighting like mad to prove our worth and preserve our livelihoods. To throw around titles like "Fire Your Event Planner" is pretty scary, especially with a company as reputable as Google tied to it. Right now we are dealing with legislation that is trying to make outlaws of us (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/02/kerry_targets_e.html), leaving us as the lifeguards trying to save the baby from the bathwater.

      Thank you very much for posting your comment to clarify, but my fear is that it just might be too little too late…

  3. Emee
    April 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Google is great, but they can change and decommission their free apps as they please. So the service you are relying on to help you plan your event 12 months from now, may be gone in 6 mos. A professional event planning firm with a team, a long history, and good reputation is not suddenly going to bail on you in the same way a Google dev team might decide to stop working on their pet project in Labs. Also, an event planner is going to be a partner in the creative process and strategy -- not just a keeper of calendars and phone numbers. If that were the case I wouldn't have a job. BTW I love how the ads on this page are for event planner services.

  4. John Jaworski
    April 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    This is one of those things that falls into the category of "Well... it sounded like a good idea at the time!" Can you have an event without an event planner. Sure.

    It's happened a lot. If Timmy is having his 7th birthday and you want to have 20 kids over, the normal breathing human being can handle that!

    Can you handle planning your corporate launch?

    Do you want to take the risk of blowing that?

    Do you really want to plan your own Society wedding? What happens when the band doesn't show? What happens when the flowers pull a no show too? Talk about Bride-Zilla!

    See a planner is there to take the heat off of you, both before, during and after the event.

    They are trained professionals that know who to go for when the Client requests purple and orange striped zebras to carry him into the room. They know how to negotiate with the vendors to insure you get the best value. And on top of that, they handle all the hiccups too.

    Just because you could do it doesn't make it right...

    I can drive a car with my feet too... but I shouldn't! It just not a good idea!

  5. Ida
    January 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Why not hire google instead?? Sounds like a great plan!

  6. Event Planner
    January 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    You make a lot of convincing arguments for ditching event planners and using Google instead. There are, however, some things that Google can't do just yet that an event planner can definitely help with.

  7. Sparx
    January 15, 2009 at 5:32 am

    Google Notebook is no longer being developed and support for the Firefox Notebook extension is also being withdrawn. Existing users of course, will carry on for the moment, but NO newer features will be added.

    More info here

    Alternatives include Evernote and Zoho Notebook.

  8. Jorek
    January 15, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Yeah, Google Notebook...
    http://googlenotebookblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/stopping-development-on-google-notebook.html

    You never know, when something's going to pop.

  9. casey
    January 15, 2009 at 1:46 am

    you could also try http://www.storyz.com for inviting groups to an event etc. I did this with my art exhibition and worked well as you can send pictures, video and of course text instantly to as many people as you want & they receive a notification by email and sms -all free

  10. Pete
    January 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Fantastic, I am a bit of a google glutton myself. Even if the things they add are things I don't use myself they all are intuitive and their usefulness is apparent. great post.

  11. Nick
    January 14, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Hey google notebook looks great, I want a notebook that says Google on it! Its every geeks dream! walk around in school/college and have a green book that says google on it.. man how awesome is that.

    I totally gotta switch to google someday. Google has some amazing online applications for Cloud Computing.

    Random question, Someone told me that I can manage other emails accounts like how Thunderbird or Outlook does but I don't see how it can.

    But anyways, great post man! and Google rules the world! Well at least mine! :)

    • Nick
      January 15, 2009 at 5:35 am

      It's easy really, just hidden.

      In gmail click 'settings' top right, then click 'accounts'.

      Here you can add other accounts that gmail will import mail from using pop3.

      A cool tip is to set up a filter to label mail from external accounts, it just makes it that bit easier to distinguish between.

      I've switched over from outlook a few years back and haven't looked back since. Cloud computing is definitely the way to go.

      Nick.

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