Google Apps optimize

Five Google Apps tweaks to improve your web work

Kevin Purdy reveals five little advantageous tweaks that you may not have noticed are currently available in the Google-verse lately.

It's a kind of unspoken policy that Google releases products early and unfinished, then gets to work fixing, tweaking, and improving them right on the web. So some weeks, Google doesn't have anything big to announce - or, at least, nothing your intrepid Google in the Enterprise blogger can find. So here, then, are five little advantageous things that you may not have noticed in the Google-verse lately. Refresh and enjoy.

Get right-click copy and paste by installing the Docs app in Chrome

Just looking at it, the Google Docs Chrome "App" doesn't have a whole lot to recommend itself - I mean, it just launches Docs in a new browser tab, right? Actually, it does a little bit more than that. It enables offline access in Chrome, which is handy for some. There is another niche use - install the Docs app in Chrome, and you can right-click to copy and paste, a feature that's disallowed by default for security concerns. Knowing something about the readership of this blog, right-click copying is likely a niche use, but, still, good to know. (Hat tip to Google Operating System for the tip)

See exactly why a message ended up in your spam folder

Do you take a peek in your Gmail/Google Mail spam folder every so often, just to see what's been caught and check for false positives? You should, especially now that you can learn more about why Gmail is labeling mail as spam. This would merely be a neat trick, if it weren't for the fact that you can retrain Gmail to be nicer to certain messages by clicking the "Not Spam" button.

Replace Gmail's somewhat vague button icons with text

Is that a trash can above your message, or a filing cabinet? Does that exclamation point inside a "Stop"=style sign mark the message as spam, or delete? If you're not a fan of Gmail's icon-only buttons, you can change them to text, but they just don't advertise it. Head into your settings (click the "cog wheel" button on the right), scroll down the "General" tab, and look for the "Button labels" category. Switch from "icons" to "text," and now everything is a bit more explicit. (Hat tip to The How-To Geek site and particularly my friend, Jason).

Email Google Calendars in readable format

Need to tell a boss, a spouse, or a client about a whole bunch of events you've already marked off on your calendar? Good luck trying to export them from Google Calendar itself. Instead, head to PubMyCal, give it access to your Google/Apps Calendar, set a date range, and specify exactly how you want to send out those items. It's one of those things you kind of hope Google ends up having to reward a clever developer for with a nice little buy-out. (Hat tip to Red Ferret Journal).

Undelete events from Google Calendar

Google Calendar, it turns out, keeps a list of all the events you've recently deleted. Google Calendar does not give you access to that list. Maybe their email support workers like the excuse to talk to very desperate people?

Whatever the reason, there is a third-party fix: Undelete for Google Calendar, a free tool from the folks who offer Spanning Backup for entire Google Apps installations. Install Undelete, give it access to Calendar, and you can look at that list of not-quite-gone Calendar events. Keep the app around, and you'll have even deeper access to stuff you didn't mean to entirely wipe out with one bad date range entry.

What little Google Apps add-ons, fixes, and tweaks make your own setup much more livable? Share in the comments, hit me on Twitter or Google+, and share your tiny little amazing thing.

About

Kevin Purdy is a freelance writer, a former editor at Lifehacker.com, and the author of The Complete Android Guide.

3 comments
jonniebgood
jonniebgood

Didn't I just read an article that says that while one can switch back to the old look in Gmail, that soon, like it or not (and I don't) that the 'new, improved' look is going to be shoved down our throats anyway, and that we can kiss the text option good-bye? As in, if it's not broken, let's fix it anyway?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What little Google Apps add-ons, fixes, and tweaks make your own setup much more livable?

parnote
parnote

Nope ... changing from the Egyptian Hieroglyphics icon version to button text was/is a part of the "new, improved" look that they are shoving down our throats. I'm definitely with you ... they screw with stuff too much in Google Docs and Gmail, just for the sake of screwing with it.