Email used to be a problem. “I only saw new email on my phone,” was one complaint. “I could only view Sent Mail on the system I sent it from,” was another. Google Mail solves the problem. We now see all of our email on all of our devices.
Keeping Calendars and Contacts current was once a problem. People used to enter contact information into home and work address books. And keeping home and work calendars in sync was a mess. Google Calendars and Contacts solve the problem. We now see all of our contacts and appointments on all of our devices.
File access used to be a problem. We used to say things like, “I’ll send you the file when I get to the office” because the files was stored on an old-fashioned server. Or, “I think the version on my laptop is more current,” because we made edits at home. Google Drive solves the problem.
You can see the pattern: we now see all of our files on all of our devices.
But why stop there?
Applications also used to be a problem. We used to have to install software on every computer we used. “I need to install XYZ software on my new laptop before I can work,” we would say. Now all we need is a web browser. (Well, more honestly, a web browser and a few browser extensions.) Google Apps along with the Chrome browser and extensions give us access to web applications on most of our devices.
Collaboration used to be a problem. “I can’t do a video meeting, I’m on my phone,” we used to say. Even more quaint: “You can’t access the slides or recording until I upload them from my laptop.” Google+ Hangouts and Communities solve these problems. We can meet and share with Google+.
This world seems simple: open a browser, login, and then work. Yet I’ve watched users struggle to learn how to use Google Apps, Chrome and Google+ on their own. I wanted things to be faster.
So here’s the current “checklist” I use to set up a new Google Apps user’s desktop. Follow the links below for detailed, step-by-step instructions for each application or extension.
[Insert ChromeWebStore.png; caption "Do you configure Chrome Extensions for your users?"]
Chrome & Google Apps Checklist
- Update the OS: Install all available operating system updates.
- Install Chrome: Download and install the Chrome browser. (I typically add bookmarks to the user’s bookmark bar linking to Mail, Calendar and Drive.)
- Enable Chrome Sync: With Chrome Sync enabled, you can login to another system, install Chrome and login. Your extensions and settings will automatically sync.
Enable offline work:
- EnableofflineaccessforGoogleMail. From Google Mail, open the sprocket menu, choose “Settings”, then click on the “Offline” tab, then choose the option to enable offline mail and follow the instructions. (Note, the Google Apps administrator must have enabledGoogleMailoffline.)
- EnableofflineaccessforGoogleCalendar. From within Google Calendar, open the sprocket menu, choose “Offline”, then follow the instructions.
- Enable Google Drive
- EnableDocsoffline. From within Google Drive, open the sprocket menu, then choose “Enable offline docs”, then follow the instructions. (Note, the Google Apps administrator must have enabledGoogleDocsoffline. This can be done once for the entire organization.)
- (Windows/Mac only) InstallGoogleDriveonyourcomputer to sync files with local machine.
- Simplify saving attachments: Install the Gmail Attachments to Drive extension, which lets users save attachments received in email to their Google Drive.
- Configure Google+ tools: (Note: The Goolge Apps administrator must have enabled Google+ features.)
- Install the Chrome Remote Desktop app to enable remote support and screen sharing