Supercharge Your Business With Google Apps
Turn Off Ads in Premier Edition Gmail
If you use the paid, Premier Edition of Google Apps, you might be annoyed to see text ads in your mail service. Relax. Here's how to turn them off.
When logged in as an administrator, click Manage this domain at the top of the page. Pick Domain settings, and check the box in the middle of the page for Hide all ads for [your domain]. Click Save changes. That's all it takes, although I'd rather Google assume that paid users want ads off by default.
Follow Business Leads Within Gmail
What happens to your important but misaddressed e-mail, such as when a new client tries to reach out to your business but misspells your name? You can create e-mail aliases for suspected misspellings, catch all misdirected e-mail, and make a group e-mail address for certain teams.
While logged in as an administrator in the Dashboard, click Email. Pick the Email addresses option. Click the user's name. Scroll down, and click Add a nickname. Enter an alias there--I added "zach." Click Save changes.
Other misaddressed messages might be junk, but you can catch them just in case they're important. Go to Service Settings, Email. Scroll down to the 'Email routing' section. Click the radio button for Route to catch-all address, enter your username, and click Save changes.
Google Groups can manage internal communication, but you can also use Groups to receive messages from anyone. That way, you could have a firstname.lastname@example.org address that forwards mail to everyone on the team. Just click the Groups button and select Create a new group.
By default, only members of the group can send messages, but you can change that here. Scroll down and click the checkbox for Also allow anyone on the Internet to post messages. Now customers can contact all of your sales staff via one address.
Customize Google Calendar Meeting Reminders
You can set Google Calendar to remind you about meetings in a handful of ways: e-mail, pop-up window, or SMS to your phone (including a plain, dumb handset). Here's how to configure the defaults to remind you to prepare well in advance and to ping you just before the meeting time.
Within your personal Google Apps account--not the administration dashboard--visit the calendar. Click Calendar settings and Notifications. You can click Add a reminder or remove to layer more or less. Try setting the first default to e-mail you a reminder 1 day in advance. Set another reminder (or two) to send you a text message just before meetings. (First, if necessary, click Set up your mobile phone to receive notifications.) Click Save.
Do More With Additional Apps
The e-mail, calendar, document, and other tools bundled with Google Apps can act as the cornerstone of your business operations. But additional, third-party apps can add more tools, even interfacing with your contacts, calendar, and other data. Among these extras are project management programs, CRM tools, time trackers, and more.
Visit the Google Apps Marketplace to find a mixture of free and paid add-ons. When you find something of interest, click Add it now, and follow the prompts. When you click the button to enable the app, it will be activated for all of your users, saving installation time versus traditional software.
Custom-Route Unknown Google Voice Callers
Google Voice permits people to reach you by phone wherever you may be. The free service assigns you a single phone number that rings all of your phones. You can have it ring your home number, the office, your cell phone, a temporary location, or anywhere.
Being reachable is great when you're working, but it's frustrating when you're away and you don't want strangers to call. You could temporarily shut off your mobile-number forwarding, but that would block people you want to be able to call. Instead, manage where calls ring depending on the caller, with calling groups.
First, scale back the default places that Google Voice will ring. Uncheck various lines in Settings, Voice Settings, Phones. Think of these preferences as your away mode, when you don't want to be reached by strangers. I recommend leaving just your office line enabled. Then click Groups, and edit those profiles. In the Friends group, for example, edit the default to ring all of your phones. Click Save. (Add people to the groups in the Contacts area.)
Now when your friends or members of other groups call, they'll be routed to certain lines. When strangers call, they'll reach you at your desk but not at home after-hours.