Everyone knows about Gmail and YouTube, but I’m fairly certain you’ve never heard of this tool. And it’s one of the more useful free tools I’ve run across recently.

It’s a tool inside Google Docs. More specifically, it’s the Form tool in Google Docs.

In short, it’s a super fast, easy way to create surveys for your blog or any other website. 

I first used it with this blog post where I asked for people’s input on the name of one of my ebooks. I created a simple survey that looked like this:

Sample survey

And I embedded it into the blog post.

The cool thing is that everyone’s responses are recorded and saved in a Google Docs spreadsheet. The spreadsheet for the above survey, for example, looked like this:

Responses

Pretty slick, eh?

And then last month I wanted to ask my fkb.me readers and subscribers about something, so I created another survey. But instead of embedding it on the site, I created a pen.io page for it (pen.io lets you create web pages without registering for the service) and pasted the form’s html code in. The result was a survey at  fkbme.pen.io (it’s still there if you want to look at it) that I sent my readers to. [Each Google Form actually has its own URL that you can send people to, but I didn’t realize that until after I’d created the fkb.me survey… I just wanted to tell you guys about pen.io because it’s freaking awesome.]

And in addition to the data recorded in a spreadsheet as shown above, you can get a nice summary of your gathered data:

Summary

Again, pretty slick, eh?

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I ended up naming the ebook 101 Blogging Tips: How to Create a Blog That People Will Find, Read, and Share.

Creating a survey with the Google Docs Form tool is super easy. On your main Google Docs page (make sure you’re logged in), click Create and then Form. You can then add different types of questions (multiple choice, check boxes, text box, from a list, etc.) and type in the information for each question. It’s really easy and pretty intuitive.

I love this because there’s no signing up for yet another service, like you’d have to do to use SurveyMonkey. Everyone already has a Google account, and you can have a survey (or any other kind of form, for that matter) up and running in no time.

  • What do you think? Does this look like something you’ll use?
  • What else could you use this Form tool for?
  • What else have you used for surveys?