First, if you already have a Google account (like a GMail address), you will want to log out of by clicking on your name or icon up in the upper right corner of any Google app, and then click the “Sign Out” button:
To do this, you need to add a new Exchange service on the device. There’s a nice step by step of this at http://support.google.com/a/users/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138740
Alternatively, you can use the standard GMail settings, on the iPhone, but my favorite approach is to actually use the GMail app from Google in the App Store. The reason I like that app over the standard iOS mail app is that it is much more of a true mobile client that takes advantage of the platform.
First get the App from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gmail-email-from-google/id422689480?mt=8
You can do this either from your iPhone/iPad directly, or using the iTunes store on your Mac/PC.
Once you have the app installed, you need to set up your GMail accounts. Either tap “open” from the App Store page about GMail, or find the GMail icon and launch it.
On launch the app will prompt you to log into your account. For a Google Apps account, this will be the email your administrator assigned you like email@example.com, and the password that you’ve set up previously by going to http://gmail.com.
Launching the App the first time takes you to the login page, where you can type in your email address and password. Note that this is the same whether you are logging in to a GMail account or a Google Apps account, to Google they are just different users as far as mail goes.
Once you log in, you will be shown the inbox for that account, and be able to read your email pretty easily. To navigate the folders (like sent, draft, etc), you tap on the little icon in the upper left corner that looks like a box with stacked bars.
This will cause the folders and settings pane to slide out from the left and reveal your email structure so that you can choose. Clicking on a particular folder will display that list in the same fashion as you saw with the inbox.
Additionally from this screen, you can add other email accounts by tapping on the profile area at the top of the pane, which slides the list of accounts down and changes the direction of the panel indicator at the top of the pane.
If you’ve already done this, you will see the list of accounts, and each one will be badged with the number of unread messages. Adding a new account is as simple as tapping the large plus icon and logging in. Tapping on a profile picture will switch you to that account once you are logged in.
Once you log into the new account, you will again see the loading page, this time with the image from the new account’s name and profile image
The next time that you go to the account selection page, you’ll see a list of accounts with the icon for each badged with the number of unread messages showing so that you can easily see what needs your attention at the moment.
Google apps on the iPhone are a mixed bag, with some being native, and others not, so it’s also a good idea to set up the Apple “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” for synchronization of those things (which can use the Exchange push in the same way as an actual Exchange server).
The best way to do this is to follow the instructions at http://support.google.com/a/users/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138740
First go to your settings (normally you can find this by clicking the home button on and looking for the gear icon that says “Settings”.
If you’ve previously added accounts, the “Add Account …” will appear below the existing account settings list (in my case I actually have to scroll in order to get to this button.
Tap on the add account button and you’ll be presented with the choice of types of account that you want to use. You can use GMail here, but I prefer to use Exchange simply because it pushes the information to the phone asynchronously
Once you tap on the Exchange button, you’ll get a new page that prompts you for the authentication information. This uses Microsoft’s autodiscover method to figure out how the account should be configured.
Type in the user name and password for your account here, and give it a description. Typically I use the name of the company that has the domain that I’m adding (for example PMI-SFBAC for my pmi-sfbac.org address).
Then click the “Next” button which should bring up the Domain screen. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the server ends up being m.google.com, and that you still have the right username and password. To continue, tap “Next”.
The final step is to choose what you want to be pushed to your phone. Generally the important ones are the contacts and calendars, since those are business related.
It really doesn’t hurt to have Mail turned on as well, since that keeps your inbox in the iOS Mail app up to date, but if you’re worried about your data plan, just set up the contacts and calendars, since that is the part that the GMail app won’t really be as helpful with.
I’m really impressed with the capablities and use of these free web applications. It’s a really interesting marketing tool as well: give away the low end product to build user acceptance, and then add a bit more to give value to the enterprise.
My first foray into the personal cloud was Google docs. This product has to be the coolest idea ever: create your documents on a web site, and let them be shared and simultaneously editable. The concept is awesome, and works really well for some documents (most notably spreadsheets). I can share a spreadsheet with any number of people, and they can all edit it at the same time.
Sort of like Netmeeting on steroids, I open my spreadsheet and there’s a little notification that somebody else is editing or viewing it. As they make changes, I see them in real time, and they see any changes I am making. Now the interface is not quite as friendly as Excel, but for most of the spreadsheet light users like myself, it’s more than adequate.
This is supposed to work for documents as well, but I’ve had less success with them (changes seem to get overwritten if more than one person updates at a time).
The other beauty of this is it effectively gives you a network storage for all of your documents, solving the problem of how to keep them safe and secure. I no longer have to worry (as much) about backing up my hard drive, since I know Google is taking care of the hardware. If a drive crashes there, they are ready with a failover, and I never even know that it was lost.
After using docs for a while, I also started playing with the other apps and found them all well thought out and useful. One of the main reasons that I had a Windows VM on my Mac was to support Outlook because of it’s tight Exchange integration, and ability to handle my calendar well. I combined Outlook with Plaxo to keep my various calendars and contacts in synch, and was very happy with this.
The bad thing about Outlook however is the way it stores its’ data: the dreaded PST file. They’re notoriously tempermental, extremely space wasteful, and difficult to back up. So I started trying other methods for dealing with email, including the built in mail client for Mac, and Entourage. None of these were as easy or as complete as Outlook.
Then I tried GMail‘s client. I’d had an account for years, but had never really tried the mail client. But as I thought things through, the benefits were clear: I get a huge amount of storage for my email, and I don’t have to worry about losing any history ever. I’ve lost years of email in a single PST or drive crash before.
At first I wasn’t convinced. The UI seemed cluttered, and I wasn’t a big fan of the way the conversations were threaded (in Outlook I used to categorize, and had lots of options for sorting folders just so). With GMail, everything is in a big pile, and you filter by tags. After a few weeks, another benefit became obvious: the fact that I could search for anything in my mail.
In Outlook, there was always a find feature, that if you could get it to work, took a very long time. Worse, it wasn’t possible to search across different mail accounts unless you added some search add-on. I had been using Google Desktop for this for some time, which worked well as long as the index had seen the message I was looking for (it only indexes message as they are opened, so when they get archived the search may find them, but you can’t get to them because it’s pointing to the wrong place).
With GMail, everything is indexed, no matter where it is. And interestingly, this also includes your instant messages, so if I remember I talked to Warren about something, I can search for it and GMail will find it in both my email and chat conversations with him. And when I look at a message, it shows me the whole thread of the conversation, with the bits that match the search expanded, making it easy to put the whole thing in context.
So now I’ve got free document storage, free email with more storage than I’ve ever used (a PST with 10 years of email had to be split because it was over a gigabyte in size, yet contained less than a hundred megabytes of data). I don’t have to manage my email any more than to tag it in ways that are useful to me (and I can tag it for multiple things, and there is still only one copy of the message to worry about, unlike with folders where you had to have two copies if you wanted to categorize things that way).
So how does Google monetize this? Well, it turns out they have an enterprise version that they sell for $50 per year per user. Compare that with the cost of hosting Exchange, and a file server, and you have a no brainer for most small enterprises. And even for the standard version, they let you use it for free for up to 50 users, so a SMB can get started for even less than the $50 per user.
Considering the Microsoft equivalent functionality would require the full Office suite, and Exchange server, and some collaboration server, you’d be looking at an outlay of a few hundred dollars per user. The clear win here is that you’ve now got a suite that works for the home user, and can also be used effectively by business users. Google wins on the marketing front, leveraging the lessons of open source to gain customer base and entry into the enterprise market.
Next: Live Mesh …
If you’re like me, you eventually end up with too many identities. I haven’t figured out how to associate different email addresses with a single account, so I have to maintain several different Google identities.
For example a client invites me to join his Google group using his company email, so I have to set up a new account to access and manage that group. At some point I try to consolidate these to use my GMail identity, but that isn’t always possible (the client may for instance have decided to restrict their group to only allow access by people using their corporate domain addresses for instance).
Eventually though, I do end up with accounts that I’m no longer using (and sometimes I just would like a fresh start). Google actually has a link in their help about deleting an account, but it took me a bit to find it, so I thought I’d post a step by step guide.First you must be logged in, so go to one of the Google pages like http://groups.google.com and look for the link at the top right corner of the page that shows you who you are logged in as:
Once you are sure you are logged in with the right account, click the “Account” link and you will be taken to the management page for your account:
Click on the link next to “My Products” that says “Edit” and you’ll go to the accounts page, where you can choose to remove your web history OR account:
Click the link that says “Close account and delete all services associated with it”, and you’ll get the delete account screen, which has a number of options and validate with your password. Unless you want to keep a membership in a group, check all of the boxes here, then hit the button that says “Delete Google account“:
Once you have done this, you’ll get a screen that tells you that the account has been deleted:
That’s all there is to it – you can recreate the account by following the steps from my prior post Getting a Google Login for Your Existing Email Account
Step 1 – Simulating an email alias using a Google Group
The last couple of days, I’ve been involved in setting up a new non-profit entity and email addresses for the people involved. I used my hosting service to create a new domain, and set up email addresses that forward to their existing email addresses.
What I realized was that I didn’t have an easy way to set up a email aliases, and I needed a way to forward email to the entire group.
Naturally I thought of Google Groups, which lets you set up a sort of discussion board and file sharing area. My team has been using groups for other purposes, and one of the things we learned was that if you keep the group private, it can become confusing as people add their email aliases to the member list so that they can post from their various accounts.
So for this new group, I decided to set it up to only use the email addresses from the new entity, and allow posting to the group by any email address. By doing this, anybody can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will get sent to the group, effectively creating an alias.
This also keeps the group relatively clean, since the only addresses that show up in the members list are the ones that are connected to the new domain. On other groups I’ve managed, I end up with people with lots of different entries because they have multiple email addresses which can be confusing.
Without signing in, the group can now send email to “all” with a single email address. Of course that doesn’t take advantage of the file sharing and other group features, so what follows are instructions on how to create a login for a new email address which will allow logging into the group.
First, if you already have a Google login, you want to make sure you are logged out. Go to a Google page like If you are logged in, you will see your login information at the top right corner of the page.
If you are not logged in, or after you click on the “Sign out” link, you will see just the “Help” and “Sign in” links like this:
Now you are ready to create the account. Start by clicking the “Sign in” link, which will take you to a sign-in form that looks like this:
Since we are creating a new account, we click on the “Create an account now”. Note that if you have an existing account, this won’t do anything to that account, you are simply creating a new account separate from the original. You will now see the account creation form:
The form is self explanatory, all you have to do is fill in the fields, type the distorted word on the page, and agree to the terms of service, then submit.
Next you’ll see the account creation verification screen, which will tell you that the account was created and must be verified. You need to check your email for the message, which has a link that validates the email goes to you.
Once you validate, you should once again be able to log in, and see your new login name in the upper right corner of the page:
So for the people in my group, once they create a new Google account with the correct email, they will have access to the Google group that I created, and be able to share files, etc. By setting up the group to allow anybody to post, they can post from their other email addresses, and receive the email on their new address.
You can also delete the account (or any other) should you decide you no longer want or need it, but that is for another day.
One of the things I always struggle with as a project manager is how to communicate availability. If I’m using a corporate email system like Exchange, it is extremely easy to set up calendars to be shared, and everybody using that system has the ability to at least see your free/busy status which helps in setting up meetings.But when you’re dealing with a disparate group, who don’t have access to the same information, figuring out meetings can be difficult. I manage some of this complexity with tools like Plaxo and MobileMe, which allow you to keep calendars in synch across a variety of calendar systems, including Google, Yahoo and even the local calendar application.
This doesn’t solve the problem of how to check on availability however. What I’ve always found most effective inside the corporate firewall is to make my calendar public, and to ask my team members to share their calendars as well. This allows me not only to quickly schedule meetings, but gives me insight into what sorts of meetings my team is scheduling, and how they are managing their time.
So, on the outside of the firewall, I have started using Google Groups and Google Calendar to acheive some of the same effect. First I set up a Google Group to give me an alias for the team. It also gives us some basic collaboration tools, web access to messages, and a place share files. Then I set up a Google Calendar with the same name as the Group. There’s no requirement to do this, but it’s convenient to have a calendar where you can put group events, and keeping the name consistent makes life easier.
Once you have a group calendar created, it will show up in your calendars list along with any other calendars you have created. If you added the group email alias to the sharing list during creation, then everybody in your group will have been notified that they have access to the calendar. Alternatively you could simply email all of the individuals in the group.
Once you have the members in the group, you can share your calendar with them by using the “Share Calendar” by choosing it from the menu that pops up when you click on the little inverted triangle next to your calendar (in this case I’m sharing my personal calendar, you would do the same for the group calendar):
Once you choose this option, you will be taken to the “Share this Calendar” tab of the settings for that calendar:
First thing that I do is to make sure the “Make this calendar public” check box is ticked, this allows your calendar to be seen by others. You can also set the “Share only my free/busy information (Hide details)” tick mark if you want to hide the specifics of your calendar. Once that is done, everybody can see my calendar.
Even if you don’t make your calendar public, you can send an invitation to share your calendar, by typing in an email address. So to notify your group that they can access your calendar, you can either invite them individually, or type in the email address of the group.
They should then get a nice invite from Google Groups that tells them your calendar is available, and can add it to their “Other Calendars” list.
The calendars in this list get added to your calendar with different colors, so at a glance you can see what events go with which calendar. You can toggle which calendar events display by clicking on the name of each calendar (when the background is white, the events are not show). Below is a shot of my calendar with the group and Laura’s calendar showing:
As you can see, Laura chose to share only her free/busy time, so all I see is that she’s busy between 5 and 6:30
The last step is to ask for access to your team member’s calendars. To do this you click on the “Add” link at the bottom of the “Other Calendars”.
This takes you to the screen where you enter the email address of the person that you’d like to ask for access to their calendar. If the address isn’t a GMail address, it will also prompt you to invite them.
Once they have accepted, you will have access to their calendar, and it will appear in your “Other Calendars” list (as Laura’s does in mine).
Because the group and calendar are not integrated, you will have to add any new members (or change or delete) in both places, but in essence this gives you access to what you need to help make meeting scheduling easier.
I recently ran across a post by Michelle Hancock on LinkedIn and noticed that she had her email address showing right below her name. I sent her a LinkedIn message asking her how she did that, and she kindly replied that I could call her and she’d walk me through the process.
As it turns out, all she did was to append the email address to the end of the field for her last name.
So here’s the walk through:
- Go to your LinkedIn profile. You get there by clicking on the “profile” link on the right hand side from LinkedIn
- You should see your profile as it exists now and some links to edit, choose the one next to your name.
- You’ll be prompted to log in again (I think they do this for security reasons).
- Once you get the edit form, tab to the last name.
- Go to the end of your last name, add a space or two, and then type your email address (or phone or whatever other info you want to show up there).
- Click save, and your new profile will display with the additional info attached
The down side to this is the same as the up side: now everybody has your email address, so if you’re worried about SPAM bots, you may want to put a space in there, or type it out as “me AT mydomain.com”.
And that’s all there is to it – now you have your email address where anybody can find it.
Note: Walt Feigenson tells me that this may be against the LinkedIn Terms and Conditions, and that you should only put the email in your profile. I haven’t verified this yet, but when I do I will update this post again with my findings.