16 Google Services And Apps For Your WordPress Blog

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.

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 Search

Google 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 Fonts

Google 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 AdWords

Google 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 Shortener

Google 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 Feedburner

Google 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 Analytics

Google 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):



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



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.


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 Hosting

Google 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 Docs

Google 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 Maps

Google 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 Reader

Google 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:


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.

To Sum it Up…

As we have seen, Google offers many services (don’t forget GMail) that can be employed to boost our WordPress blogs. Which of these do you use/do not use? Do let me know in the comments!

Sufyan bin Uzayr

Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and is the author of several books. He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.

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  1. Udem says

    Nice article!!! for me Google Project Hosting and google docs is helpfull ur best thnx a lot

  2. D. Klein says

    You are ALL soooooo stupid….., you are giving Google the possibilty to track your user and sell the privacy of YOUR users to Google. Each tool is ONLY develop by Google for this reason.

    If the google tools are blocked by the users firewall, your nice site would work any more…

    There are so many free tools from other providers, that you can use without the tracking problem.

    Think twice, WHY Google is offering these free services…. !!!

  3. Adelle says

    yes these tools are really useful for blogger, i’m using adsense, feedburner, reader, libraries API, web font & analytics

  4. Ramnadh says

    Ya nice collection. i am using many of them. I think you forget to mention about google aps.

  5. Ramnadh says

    Ya nice collection. i am using many of them. I think you are forget to mention about google aps.

    • Sufyan says

      Hello Brian,
      Ah….well. I also tried reaching you via email, but for some reason unfathomable, you refused to reply. Glad we’re public with this comment. I can defend myself better. :)
      1. I am not one of those pay-per-article lover-boy writers who’d submit any sort of content to blogs for the money. I’m an Editor myself, and as a writer, I detest plagiarism more than you can even imagine. Your claim in your mails to 1WD that the article ought to be removed and you probably do not find me worthy of replying is, with due respect, obnoxious.
      2. With that off my chest, let us proceed with something more logical.

      The WPCandy article link that you sent does indeed look similar to my article. However, that doesn’t essentially make it “plagiarized”. In fact, I haven’t even read anything on WPCandy in my life thus far (I had just “heard” of the site, visited it for the first time when you commented). That rules out plagiarism charges, at least for me.
      As far as your claim that I have copied/lifted it, no, I did not! I never read that article in the first place. Also, you may run CopyScape on all my pieces — I know for sure I haven’t plagiarized, and I don’t think there’s anything to fear.
      Thing is, the WPCandy article, and mine, both just talk about the same thing! That’s it. And since the said topic is bit limited, there seems to be some level of resemblance in treatment of the topic. Beyond that, there is nothing “copied”. The only sites I consulted have been acknowledged in the article itself via links.
      Consider doing a Google search for Checkout. And now, consider describing the info about it in one-two paragraphs. What all info would you include? Similarity to PayPal, AdWords integration, and availability in countries. What else? None, because there isn’t much useful beyond that.
      Now, URL Shortener. Konstantin’s article is the most well known guide about it (almost). Any mention of the Google URL shortener will refer to his work. Also, I mentioned Jetpack, you didn’t.
      Youtube: You’ll have to talk about embeds/tags, what else?
      AdWords/AdSense: You’ll say how awesome these services are, and then mention the plugins for WP users. What else?
      Same applies with it all. Feedburner, Docs, anything. Fact is, the given topic has a rigid architecture — you’ll either mention the requisites, or you won’t. I did, you did, and that’s a co-incidence.
      Even in terms of paragraph organization, the two articles are different. Look at them well. You have put Docs and Chart Tools separately. You have even mentioned GMail separately (I haven’t). Certain other things too.
      Fact is, that the two articles talk about the exactly same thing. These are not “15 Anti-Spam Plugins for WP” pieces, wherein my 15 and your 15 will be different. The given topic is not so flexible — I’ll either mention the required details, or I won’t. If I don’t, it’ll be a pathetic article. If I do, it will be similar to anything in the same topic (as it, apparently, is).
      Let me know if you still have doubts/arguments. :)

      • Brian Krogsgard says

        You can justify yourself be explaining how the code to enqueue jQuery in your article has the exact same typo that my own article has. And the typo is not in the source you cite – the same source I cited for a very common snippet.

        I hold my ground on every front.

        • Sufyan says

          The said snippet is a direct citation from Frederick Townes. The code on his site must’ve been fixed by now. That is a common typo, you’re making a mountain of a mole-rat. I do not know when he fixed it, or if I myself made a typo. If this resembles the error in your post, it may at best be a co-incidence, or at worst some loop-hole that you’re trying to pull, in your bid to prove your baseless point.
          Seems you shouldn’t have written that post on your blog. You’ve called 1WD “a joke of a publication”. Duh! At any rate, we do not have to respond to your post. The comments that you’ve got so far — most of them claim that the article has not been copied.
          Seems its time you called it stale-mate at your end.

          • Rarst says

            > The comments that you’ve got so far — most of them claim that the article has not been copied.

            There is not a single person there that that claims such thing. “Most” (as in four out of five) wrote that this is possibly or definitely plagiarism.

      • Rourke says

        Why does jQuery snippet in your post has same typo (“query” instead of “jquery” in third line) as in WPCandy post?

        • Sufyan says

          Yes, most of ‘em do claim that it isn’t copied. Read again, and read well.
          In fact, you wouldn’t read well. You didn’t even bother reading my comment there. I had asked, has the Google SoC ended FOREVER, and shall never, ever happen again? You did not bother replying. Just as Brian did not bother replying to my email. All you are seeking is to tear apart the article based on some weird rationale.
          Fact is, you’re attempting to thrash the article on the basis of your personal bias. Yes, you are. Therefore, you refuse to accept that this being a narrow topic, the articles can indeed seems similar. You claim that my piece is the same as Brian’s. Honestly, you feel I should’ve left Feedburner and/or Reader from this round-up lest it may appear ‘similar’ to some article that I didn’t even read?
          Nevertheless, this conversation is going nowhere. Owing to your personal bias, you refuse to believe. Since you’ve already formed your opinion, I do not suppose I should bother explaining things to you anymore.
          Lead a wonderful life, my friend.

  6. says

    Great topic – you know I use Google’s stuff for just about everything now (hard to beat free & effective). I didn’t even know about Google’s Project Manager! Thanks for the lead :D

    • Sufyan says

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah, Google services are ideal both for personal and professional use. I myself rely on Docs most of the time.