When organizations adopt Google Apps, I typically help people setup their desktops for fast access to Google Apps and enable Google Mail Labs features. The nice thing about most Google Mail Labs features is that they work in any browser.
Chrome browser extensions can also enhance the usefulness of Google Apps. Browser extensions need to be installed in each browser you use. Although, if you sign in to Chrome you can choose to sync your extensions between systems.
Here are a few Chrome browser extensions you may find useful. All of these extensions and applications are available at the Chrome web store.
Google Calendar & Google Calendar Checker
The Google Calendar extension displays the time until the next appointment on your calendar. It also detects any Google Calendar items on a web page and makes it easy for you to add those items to your Calendar.
Google Calendar extension (left); Calendar Checker extension (right)
One word of caution: if you choose to display other people’s calendars in addition to your own, the plugin displays the time until their next appointment, not just yours. If you want to just see the time until your next appointment, try the Google Calendar Checker extension instead.
When you enable offline documents, the Google Drive application is installed. This application lets you view and edit Google documents offline using Chrome. At the time of this writing, this works on the web only for word processing document; spreadsheets can be viewed offline, but not edited. Google Drive is useful when you want to work on a document, but lack an Internet connection.
Gmail Attachments to Drive
Gmail Attachments to Drive provides functionality you’d think would be built-in to Google Apps. When you receive an attachment in Google Mail, this extension adds a “Save to Drive” option in between the default “View” and “Download” options. Click the “Save to Drive” button and the attachment is saved to your Google Drive.
Even better, the Tasks extension speeds Task entry. In the Chrome omnibox, type the letter “t” followed by a space, and then type the text of your task and press return. The text you type will be added to your Google Tasks list. Very Handy!
Rapportive provides you social media context in Google Mail. Based on a sender’s an email address, Rapportive displays information pulled from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This can be extremely useful if you often receive email from people you don’t know. You can quickly see a person’s title and contact information, and view their recent public Tweets and Facebook posts.
Rapportive exists in two forms: as an application that can be installed by an administrator from the Google Marketplace, and as a Chrome browser plugin. I find the browser plug-in more useful than the Marketplace app. The plugin displays information in a column to the right of email; the app displays additional contact information at the bottom of the screen. Glancing to the right is much easier than scrolling to the bottom.
(In an ideal world, I’d like a plugin that combines Google’s default display of Google+ profile information with information from other social networks, such as that pulled by Rapportive.)
What Chrome browser plugins do you use in your organization? Do you have a “default set” that you recommend or install?