Gold equipment is typically impractical, as it has only 33 Durability points. Golden tools can do everything wooden tools can, but gold is much harder to come by than wood is. For example, a gold sword has the same damage value as a wooden sword, but has a lower durability. Gold tools, however, can break a block faster than all other tool materials, so they may be useful if one is in a hurry and has plenty of gold. Gold tools, swords and Armor also tend to receive better Enchantments than their counterparts.
Before Beta 1.2, gold tools had both low speed and durability. Currently, gold tools have a higher speed than Diamond and can break blocks about twice as fast as wood tools.
Debatably, gold tools are less efficient than wooden tools. While gold tools have high efficiency (speed), they can only mine the same things wooden tools can. Gold is also very rare and crafting tools with it is a big waste, especially when it is used for a hoe or a sword, as they have a lot more disadvantages than wooden hoes and swords have in all ways.
Because it's a rare drop by zombie pigmen, gold ingots are considered a renewable resource.
In the Pocket Edition, gold ingots were previously required to make the Nether Reactor Core structure. It required 36 ingots (all crafted into blocks). However, this feature has now been removed from the game.