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November 13th, 2013

2013Nov13_GoogleApps_BAlmost all of Google's products and services require that you access them through your Internet browser. Because users have at least five browsers to choose from, you will see them access Googles Apps using one of these options. Some business users prefer to use Internet Explorer (IE). If this is the what you use in your company, pay attention. Google made a recent announcement that you should be aware of.

In early November, Google announced that they will be discontinuing support for users who access Google Apps on older versions of Internet Explorer (IE).

The announcement

The current version of IE is 11, which was introduced with the recent Windows 8.1 update. However, many companies that use IE are still using version 9, which came out in 2011. Google has announced that they will be ending support for IE 9.

What this means is that users of IE 9 may no longer be able to access the full versions of Google Apps. For example, instead of opening Gmail you will be redirected to the HTML (most basic) version, or calendars will be displayed in read-only mode, not allowing you to create or edit new entries.

This is an important development to respond to if your business hasn't updated to newer versions of the IE browser. You could find yourself unable to access Google Apps, which could create problems, particularly if your company relies on them to operate on an everyday level.

What should I do?

If you are using an older version of IE, the first change you are going to have to make is to update your browser. When you log into a Google App you should see a message come up instructing you about the impending cessation of support and how you should go about upgrading.

Before you press the update button however, check with an IT partner or your IT department to ensure that the update can be installed with minimal or no problems. Most users should see little to no difference but there is always a chance of something not working, especially if you use older software.

It is recommended that you  find out if other computers in your company need to be updated too. If you are unsure as to what version of IE you are running you can find out by:

  1. Opening Internet Explorer.

  2. Pressing Ctrl+H and selecting About Internet Explorer.

To inform yourself about Google's browser support policy check out this page here for more information. In general, Google supports the latest versions of Chrome, which automatically updates, and the current and previous major versions of FireFox and Safari. For IE, Google supports the three latest versions.

To learn more about Google Apps and services and how they can fit into your organization, or if you have questions about updating any software, please contact us today.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
August 28th, 2012

When it comes to office email software, most people support one of several services: Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and others. A vast majority of companies use Microsoft Outlook and have either considered using Gmail or are in the process of switching over. Gmail and Outlook both have large amounts of fans, and when asked to switch from Outlook to Gmail, many don’t want to. There is a way around this though.

If you have employees who are reluctant to switch from Outlook to Gmail, there is a way to use the Gmail platform with the familiarity of Outlook through a feature Google calls Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. Here’s how you can set it up. Note: you need to be a Google Apps Administrator for this to work.

  1. Log in to your Google account and navigate to your Dashboard. From there go to the Settings tab (located on the bar going across the top of the window) and click Email (located on the left of the window). Under the General tab scroll down and tick the box that says Enable Google Apps Sync and Google Apps Connector for my users.
  2. Scroll down to User email uploads and tick the box that says Allow users to upload mail using the Email Migration API. This will allow users to upload their profiles from Outlook.
  3. Select Contacts from the left side of the screen and select Enable contact sharing.
  4. Click the Dashboard tab from the top of the window, and select Your Google Apps and ensure that Google Calendar is on.
  5. Navigate to Domain Settings, the tab is at the top of the window, select User Settings and check the box that says Enable provisioning API.
  6. Download and install the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Office tool. It should run automatically.
  7. Sign in to Google Apps Sync and select which data is to be merged from Outlook into Gmail and press Create profile. A screen will pop up asking you to open Outlook. When you do, the migration will then start.
  8. While the migration is in progress, which could take a while, right click on the Google Sync icon on the bottom right of your screen (beside the clock) and select Set calendars to sync. Select the calendars and hit Ok.
After the sync is complete, your employees will be able to continue to use Outlook to compose and send emails. Outlook will also sync with Gmail. If you have any questions about the syncing process please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
August 15th, 2012

The Internet is a constantly improving entity with websites demanding an ever faster Internet connection. While the Internet is blazing fast compared to the connection speeds of just five years ago, many small businesses have to make do with limited connections that often cost an arm and leg. Google wants to change this and has recently introduced their own Internet connection.

In late July Google introduced its new Internet and TV service, Google Fiber and Google Fiber TV. The service aims to bring 1-gigabit Internet connections (1,000 megabits) and fiber optic TV services to customers, while simultaneously encouraging current Internet and TV providers to adopt faster and better Internet connections at lower prices. As of the last week of July, residents in Kansas City could sign up for the service, which is currently under construction. Service connection is expected by summer of 2013.

A gigabit Internet connection is the fastest Internet connection currently available in the United States, and most countries for that matter. For small businesses this will essentially make anything related to the Internet up to 100X faster, and you’ll also be able to communicate with clients and other businesses using HD video, or operate in the cloud with no connection interruptions.

Currently the service is only available in the Kansas City metropolitan area, but Google has stated that if the project is successful, they would like to roll it out in other cities. With the launch, Google is offering three packages:

  1. Gigabit and Fiber TV. The first package includes both the gigabit connection and Fiber TV. Fiber TV offers all the regular broadcast channels along with television shows on demand and Fiber TV specific channels. The Internet connection comes with no data cap - download as much as you want - and 1 terabyte of storage on Google Drive. The cost for the service is USD$120 a month.
  2. Gigabit Internet. Users who don’t want to sign up for TV can sign up just for the gigabit Internet connection. As with the first package, there is no data cap and you will also get 1 terabyte of storage on Google Drive. This package will cost USD$70 a month.
  3. Introductory. This package is for users who don’t have a broadband connection. For $300 for the first year, and free for the next six, you get a 5 megabit connection.
Each package costs USD$300 to connect on top of the monthly price, except for the third package. For the third package, Google is allowing users to pay the connection fee on a monthly basis over one year - USD$25 a month.

While this service is only in Kansas city for the time being, it’s a high possibility that Google will expand the service across North America in the near future. If this is successful, it will be guaranteed that small businesses will see Internet providers introduce plans with super fast speeds at incredibly affordable rates. This means there will be no excuse not to be on the Internet, and companies currently limited by slow Internet speeds will be able to utilize the Internet much more effectively.

If you’re interested in Google Fiber and would like to know more about it, or any other Internet Service Providers, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
August 7th, 2012

Regardless of the computer system your office uses, you probably use at least one Google product. In the west, Google has managed to become a part of our daily routine, with some small businesses relying on Google’s products almost entirely. Whether you’re a die-hard Google fan, or a casual Googler, there are some Google features that could make your experience better.

Here are five Google features and products you’re probably not using.

  • Hellofax. From the name, you probably guessed that Hellofax is an app that can send and receive faxes. What makes the app appealing is that it integrates with Google Drive, allowing you to send faxes directly from Google Drive and faxes that come in will be automatically converted and stored in Google Drive. If you only send the occasional fax, or don’t want a fax machine in the office, this is a great app for you.
  • DocuSign. As a business owner, chances are nearly 100% that you’ll sign documents on a relatively regular occurrence. It can be wasteful to print a document, sign it, scan it and email it. To save your time and paper, you can use DocuSign to attach your signature to documents saved in Google Drive.
  • Activity Reports. Would you like to know how much time you spend using Google’s products, what you search and anything else about Google? With Activity Account you can do just that and have Google send reports to your email. This is a great tool if you’re looking for ways you can improve your productivity, or Google Fu.
  • Gmail Snooze. When you’re on holiday, or away from the office do you ever feel that you’re never really “away”? If you’d like to escape for a while, even for a couple of minutes for a quick siesta, Gmail Snooze is a script that can help. If you’d like to install a script like this, follow Lifehacker’s great step-by-step instructions.
  • Gmail Meter. Have you ever wanted to know exactly how many emails you get in a week, your average response time and your most productive - email wise - time and day? Gmail Meter is a script that will compile a report to let you know exactly this and more. There is a little bit of installation needed, however the gmail blog has a good explanation on how to get it set up.
These are just a few of the many features, apps and products of the Google universe that should help you and your business. Are there any other Google features or products you use that others don’t? Let us know below.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
August 1st, 2012

The cloud and cloud based applications are quickly becoming the norm, with many users expecting some form of cloud integration in modern devices and applications. The downside to this is, while the cloud is great, it requires a constant Internet connection in to be of any use. If your office uses Google Drive, you’ve most likely experienced times of paralysis when your Internet is down. Google has recently introduced a solution to this problem.

At the I/O conference in June, Google announced some big changes to its cloud storage/document suite - Google Drive. The biggest announcement was that you can now create and edit spreadsheets and documents when you’re not connected to the Internet. Google calls this new feature Offline Docs.

This is a great upgrade for businesses with spotty Internet connection who have been looking for an cloud based office suite, or are looking to provide employees with a solution that allows them to be more efficient while mobile.

How to enable Offline Docs At this time, Offline Docs is only available to users of Google Chrome. If you use Firefox, Safari, IE or any other browser, these steps won’t work. Google has not announced when, or if, the feature will be available for other browsers.

To enable Offline Docs:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Select More, located on the left-hand side of the screen, below CREATE.
  3. Click Enable offline docs and wait a few seconds for a dialogue box to open.
  4. Select Install from Chrome web store, followed by Add to Chrome.
  5. Click on the Google Drive icon and Offline Docs will be enabled.
After Offline Docs have been enabled, docs stored in your My Drive folder will be available offline. When your Internet isn’t working, simply open a new tab in Chrome and select the Google Drive icon, the offline version of Drive will open and you’ll be able to edit documents. Note that any features that require an Internet connection will be unavailable. When you connect to the Internet again, the document will be uploaded.

If you find that you don’t need to use Offline Docs, you can turn it off by clicking the gear in the top right-hand side of the Google Drive window and selecting Stop using Docs offline. To learn more about other useful features of Google Drive, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
July 24th, 2012

One of the most useful features of a Web browser is the ability to search the Internet through the use of a search engine like Google. To the user, Google is a simple search engine, nothing could be further from the truth. Google relies on a complicated algorithm that ranks websites, and in turn this algorithm can be influenced to have websites, like yours, show up higher in results. This algorithm has been recently updated and many businesses have seen their ranks slide, was your one?

In order to make your website, its pages, links and keywords within them relevant, while ranking them by importance to related search results, Google uses advanced algorithms that assigns a numerical weight to keywords and then ranks them. The better the total rank, the higher your page will be on relevant search results.

Companies that take advantage of this algorithm and keywords to get their website to show higher in results are engaging in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In order to ensure better, more relevant search results, Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm. These tweaks could be a big thing for your website as they could force it to show up higher/lower in search results. A recent update, Penguin, has many businesses confused as to why their ranking has suddenly dropped.

About Penguin Penguin, an update to the Google algorithm was released in April 2012. Its goal is to update page rankings, and decrease ones that don’t meet Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In layman’s terms: If your website doesn’t meet the established guidelines, it will show up lower in search results.

There are three things about Penguin website owners should be aware of

  1. It’s not out to harm all websites. As Penguin is an update and some websites will receive a lower rank, Google doesn’t mean for this to be a punishment, rather a correction and update to bring more relevant search results.
  2. Certain links are harmful. If your website has site-wide links - A link or links that appear on every page of your website, referring to another site. These links often appear in the header and footer of webpages, and serve no other purpose than increasing page rank (more links with keywords = better ranking). - your rank will fall.
  3. Websites can recover. The good thing about Google’s analytics is they’re dynamic. If you’re Web page drops in rank, you can act to improve it. In fact, Google will email you notifying you about the links. Google will also contact you if you have too many links from low-quality websites/networks (Google considers low-quality to essentially be spam).
If you’re unsure about your SEO ranking, and would like to see your website feature higher in search results, please call us, we may have a solution for you.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
July 17th, 2012

There are normally a limited number of ways your employees’ skills overlap, some may be great with customers, while others are more suited to working with numbers. There is one area that all employees, regardless of rank, are somewhat equal; using the Internet, or more specifically Google, to search for information. While they may be comfortable with the basics, they could probably use some power searching tips.

Starting July 9, 2012, Google has a course to help your employees sharpen their Internet searching skills. Power Searching with Google is a course that aims to teach users about the more advanced features and shortcuts of Google Search.

The courses will take place over six sessions, each lasting around 50 minutes and will be conducted online using Google Groups and Hangouts On Air - a live broadcast using Google’s online video conferencing tool. These courses are comprised of traditional assignments, interactive searching and group sessions that allow you to communicate with other “students” and staff from Google.

After you’ve completed the course and passed the final assignment, Google will email you a printable certificate of completion. If you’re interested, or feel your staff could use a boost in their searching abilities, registration is open now. Why should you register you ask? Well, the first reason is because it’s free. The second reason is because this could really help make you and your employees more efficient at finding the information they need.

To sign up for the course, visit Google’s Search blog and press Register. If you’d like to know more about Google’s products and how your company can benefit from them, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
July 10th, 2012

June has become one of the best months of the year for technology, it’s the month when the vast majority of tech companies introduce new products and software they’ve been developing. Last week, Google had their turn, and had some big, potentially game changing, announcements that have many businesses excited.

Across the conference, Google had three major announcements:

  1. A Nexus Tablet. As most Android users know, Nexus is Google’s line of mobile devices, they’re what Google thinks of as the benchmark Android system. This year the big announcement was a USD $200, 7 inch tablet, the Nexus 7. With a superfast 1.3 Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM and up to 16GB of storage all in a thin - 10.45mm - body, this tablet gives the iPad a serious run for its money. At half the price of the cheapest iPad, it’s more affordable for nearly all small businesses.
  2. Jelly Bean. Google likes to give sweet - literally - code names to different versions of the Android operating system. The newest version, 4.1 Jelly Bean, has some great new features including the ability to use voice to search, a new location based feature that keeps you updated about what's going on around you, and a faster interface. 4.0 users should see the update in the near future.
  3. Google Glass. Announced a few months ago, Google officially introduced their take on augmented reality, Google Glass, a hybrid mobile device/eyeglasses system. Users wear them as they would any other pair of glasses and interact with their environment through the system. They can record their daily lives, look up addresses and maps, etc. This disruptive technology could change the way businesses interact with customers.
Google has announced some intriguing devices and updates that could help improve the way small businesses operate. The most intriguing device is the Nexus 7 tablet, which could prove to be the best tablet solution for small businesses. If you’d like to learn more about Google’s I/O or any of Google’s other services, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
July 3rd, 2012

Google has some great software that businesses have been adopting in droves. One of the most popular pieces of software is their Internet browser - Google Chrome. Chrome is a sleek and simple browser with basic functionality when first installed, but, for your business to really get the most out of it you need to install apps.

Last week we showcased five great apps for Google Chrome. Because there are so many useful apps on the Chrome store, we decided to showcase five more.

  1. Write Space. Write Space is an app that’s a hybrid between Google Docs and Microsoft Office. The app allows users to write in a customizable space with or without an Internet connection. The coolest feature of this app is that it saves automatically, no more losing content when you lose Internet connection or your computer crashes.
  2. Springpad. Springpad is a notebook tool that allows users to collaborate on projects from a number of devices. Employees can use it to share ideas and information while being able to comment on each other’s ideas. Combine it with the Springpad extension for Chrome and users can clip articles, pictures or text from Chrome, and paste it into Springpad for others to view. A great tool to encourage brainstorming.
  3. Offline Gmail. While it would be great if we were connected to the Internet 100% of the time, that’s not the case for the majority of small business owners. If you use Gmail, you know that you can’t access it when you don’t have an Internet connection. With the Offline Gmail app, you can access your inbox, read and reply to messages which will be sent when you next connect to the Internet. A great tool for those on the road a lot.
  4. Aviary. Eventually you will need to edit an image and can’t afford to wait on a designer. Aviary is essentially a free version of Adobe Photoshop. With a ton of similar features, there’s no need to invest large amounts of money when you can do the same thing for free.
  5. Lucidchart. Lucidchart is an app that allows users to collaborate, in real-time, on charts. If you have a presentation to make and need a colleagues help to get it done, the two of you can work on it together and get the task done faster. What’s cool about this app is that it syncs with Google Drive, so your charts are available anywhere. You can also export your work as a .PDF or .JPG.
How to install the apps All these apps can be found for free on the Google Chrome Web Store. To install an app, open the Web Store and search for the app by its name. Click on the name of the app to open a new page that has more information, reviews and similar apps. To install it, press + Add to Chrome, the app will be automatically added to Chrome. You can access the apps you have installed by pressing the wrench icon at the top right of the window, selecting Settings followed by Extensions.

These apps can help tailor your browsing experience to your needs, and give you a better overall browsing experience. If you’d like more information on apps for Chrome, or other ways you can use Chrome in your business, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps
June 26th, 2012

As technology becomes more advanced and integrated with day-to-day business, the Internet browser has become the hub of nearly all business activity. The only problem with browsers, more specifically Google Chrome, is that they’re, at first glance, missing functionality that businesses need. To add more functionality to Chrome, you can install apps.

Here are five useful business apps for Chrome.

  1. Google Mail Checker. If you use Gmail and like most people, have it open in a tab but aren’t looking at it, you may miss an important message. This app aims to prevent this by adding a Gmail link beside the address bar of Chrome that notifies you of how many unread emails you have in your inbox. Clicking on the icon will open Gmail.
  2. StayFocused. Having trouble staying productive while using the Internet? StayFocused is an app that can help. It works by allowing you to set and restrict the amount of time you spend on non-work related websites. Once you’ve gone over the allotted time, the app will block access to that website for the rest of the day. You can even go so far as to block the browser from loading websites for a period of time.
  3. AdBlock. On many popular websites there are ads that can get annoying, or cause your browser to slow down. AdBlock is an app that will remove banner ads (the ads at the top and side of a website) on nearly every website, including Facebook.
  4. SlideRocket. This is a good app for managers who give lots of presentations, but don’t want to carry a laptop with them. SlideRocket allows users to upload and present PowerPoint presentations. Beyond that, you can also collaboratively create presentations which are stored on your Google Drive and can even be accessed on a smartphone. This means you can access your presentation wherever you are.
  5. Scratchpad. Think of Scratchpad as the digital version of the notepad many business owners keep by their computer for writing ideas, messages and notes down on. When you install it, you can either keep it open as a tab in Chrome, or a separate window. The interesting thing about this app, is that you can use it while offline. When you do go online, it syncs with your Google Drive to keep everything up-to-date.
How to install the apps All these apps can be found for free on the Google Chrome Webstore. To install an app, open the Web Store and search for the app by its name. Click on the name of the app to open a new page that has more information, reviews and similar apps. To install it, press + Add to Chrome, the app will be automatically added to Chrome. You can access the apps you have installed by pressing the wrench icon at the top right of the window, selecting Settings followed by Extensions.

These are just five of the useful apps we’ve found that many businesses will benefit from using. If you’d like to know about more useful apps for your business, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Google Apps