You know the importance of using high powered software tools for your business. Your email and appointments must be able to keep up with you and the fast pace of your work. Traditionally, the email/calendar tool of choice for business is Microsoft Outlook. But if you travel for your business or simply are on the go very often, you soon realize that you can't take your whole desktop with you - how can you get your information to follow you wherever you go, even if you leave your laptop and other portable gadgets home?

The answer is surprising, as it is a battery of applications that are completely free, and usually not associated with high powered business programs. If you thought Google was just for searching, think again. This company offers a wide range of tools and gadgets, completely free, which can pretty much answer all of your business needs. Gmail is an email client that can handle anything you need it to do. You can sort, file and filter your mail, use online chat and record those as well. You can have your POP email forwarded to Gmail, or have Gmail forwarded to your POP account. The file size limitations are enormous - sending a large file of any type is no sweat for Gmail. And the best news for your computer is that this all lives on the internet, so your hard drive is not weighed down with all of your fan mail.

It does look different, and if you've used run of the mill email for a long time, it will take a little getting used to. Soon, however, you'll appreciate the logic and flexibility of conversations, chats, labels, archive, stars, and filters.

Google Calendar is simply the best way to keep on top of your events, as well as your families', and your business associates'. Did you know that Google Calendar can sync with your BlackBerry or iPhone without any action on your part? Create multiple calendars and give permissions to view or edit to those you wish, and view their calendars as well. You can set recurring appointments and set reminders, just as in Outlook Calendar. And your reminders can be a pop-up or an email to alert you of the upcoming event.

Google Groups is an online space for your family or business associates. Use it to upload photos, documents, spreadsheets, anything. The people you invite can view it with any computer with an internet connection. Working alone? Take advantage of the file upload to use this space as a free back up tool.

Put it all together and you've got an office that exists wherever there is a computer and web access. So let's say you're in a hotel in Minnesota or a conference facility in Spain or at your brother's house in Tucson. As long as there is a computer, Windows or Mac, with an active internet connection, just sign in to your free Google account and there at your fingertips is your email, calendar, and the documents you've uploaded.

If you're the type of person who's comfortable with learning new software on the fly, then by all means jump in to the world of Google tools and explore all that they have to offer. If not, it is highly recommended to have a professional training session with someone who understands the software, understands how you need to use it, and has the patience and personality to make the experience enjoyable as well as productive.