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May 11th, 2012

“Change is good,” an adage Google seems to have adopted and implemented with relish. One of the latest changes made was to the layout of Google+, Google’s social network. The new layout is a dramatic change that’s been met with general applause from the tech community. If your company has a Google+ profile, it should have already been implemented.

When you first log into the updated Google+ the amount of white space will jump out at you. It’s a startling contrast to the other social networks. After you adjust to it, you’ll notice four main aspects of the new look:

  1. To the left. On the left is a bar, or ribbon as Google calls it, with icons for the main features. This ribbon is reminiscent of the Windows Task Bar and works much the same way. Simply click on an icon to open the related function. If you have an icon you don’t use, simply click and drag it out of the bar and it will be moved to More.
  2. In the center. In the center of the page you’ll see all your updates along with a bar above them with your top two circles. To the right of your updates you’ll see what’s trending on Google+, the Invite friends to Google+ button and a suggestions box.
  3. To the right. On the far right is a very prominent chat bar with all your chat contacts. Above that is the Start a hangout button which allows you to quickly begin a hangout session.
  4. Up top. At the top of the page you’ll see the search bar, from which you can search Google+ for posts, topics, friends, etc.
Are you in love with the cover photo on your Facebook profile? Do you like having a picture spread across top of your profile? If yes, Google+ now has the option to set a cover photo at the top of your profile. Not a fan of one picture across the top of your profile? You can also pick and choose multiple pictures. Your profile picture and information have been moved to the right side of the picture with your circles below.

New features There are three new useful features:

  1. Explore. On the left ribbon is a compass icon. Clicking this will open Explore, a page that displays what’s currently trending on Google+. The content shown on this page is viewable by all users, and this gives businesses a great marketing opportunity if they can capitalize on current trends.
  2. Block. On your social network profiles there may be a user who is leaving rude comments or spam messages on your posts. On Google+ you can block the user from posting. Simply go to their profile and select block under their profile picture.
  3. New hangout page. If you click on the hangouts icon on the left hand ribbon, you’ll be taken to the hangouts page. On the page you’ll see current hangouts that you can join or you can start a new one based on any post. To start a public hangout click the camera icon at the bottom of the post.
It looks like Google has taken a big gamble with the new layout, and only time will tell if it will attract more users. If you would like know more about Google+ and how your business can capitalize on what it offers, we’re ready to talk.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 13th, 2012

It’s an understatement to say that email is a necessity in business. In the exchange of data and information, email is simply a staple in any business operation. Which is why Google has made it easier for Gmail users to set it as their default email client.

You have to give it to the guys at Google to always think of something new — some innovative way to better integrate their apps.

Before, sending an email through Gmail was a bit long-winded. You had to copy the email address, open Gmail manually, and then paste it onto the ‘To:” bar. Now, this is a lot easier. With the new upgrade to Gmail that allows it to be used in tandem with most Internet browsers, it’s much easier to make Gmail your default email client.

For Google Chrome Open Chrome, log into your Gmail account, and click on ‘Yes’ when asked if you want Gmail to become your default email client. Now, whenever you click on an email link when using Chrome, it will automatically open the “Compose” page of your Gmail account.

For Firefox Open Firefox, go to the ‘Tools’ menu (or click on the Firefox button) and select ‘Options’. Under ‘Applications’, and then select ‘mailto’ under ‘Content Type’. Next, under ‘Actions’, select Gmail as the default email client.

For Internet Explorer If you are a user of Internet Explorer, you’ll have to download the Gmail Notifier, a toolbar from Google. Install the toolbar and have it select Gmail as your default email client.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 9th, 2012

“The Cloud”—a very common term in business these days, and almost every major player in technology is producing something to do with the cloud. There is a rising trend of increasing interest among small businesses in the cloud and how it can help increase profits and productivity. Are you thinking of migrating?

Many business owners have been caught up in getting their businesses “on the cloud” and are using apps such as those offered by Google to do so. When done correctly, this can bring about substantive cost savings to a business’s bottom line. When done incorrectly, however, there can be many problems. Here are some tips to ensure your company’s smooth migration to Google Apps.

Estimate Users’ Appetite for Cloud Take a poll of your company asking how many employees already use the consumer version of cloud services such as Gmail. This will help make migration easier, as employees will already be comfortable with the idea and using the apps. Also, it will allow you to identify which employees will need training on how to use the services.

Keep Tech Minimal It’s best that when presenting the migration information to employees to cater to their level. If your employees are tech-adverse, keep information, presentations, and demos as simple as possible, leaving out jargon and clearly defining acronyms. Doing this will help employees be more comfortable with the technology, and more responsive to change.

Partner Up Enlist the help of a technical advisory company that specializes in migration to Google Apps. The company will be able to help with issues not covered in the How-To material provided by Google.

Test First Create an environment in which your IT department and IT-savvy employees can test the Google Apps. This gives you the chance to determine the right fit, and which features work and don’t work for your company. The average testing period is around three months.

Revise and Review It’s important to revise any policies you may have regarding the use of technology. Employees will commonly want to access their accounts on their phones and other devices while away from the office, so be sure to have clear policies on the use of these devices. It is equally important to get feedback from your employees about what they think of the products, and ask whether they have any suggestions for improvement.

If you have any questions about migrating to Google Apps, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 5th, 2012

While printing may seem to be somewhat of a mundane aspect of business operations, improving your printing system can do wonders in making tasks much more efficient and convenient for everyone. Google Cloud Print aims to do exactly that, through better and easier – but secure – printer sharing through the cloud.

Trust Google to think of everything – this time it's easier and more flexible printer sharing through Google Cloud Print, a service that allows you to connect printers to the web via the cloud.

Since printing is an aspect of business operations that applies to almost any (if not all) organizations, the impact and application making printers and printing securely available to anyone of your choosing, anywhere is far-reaching. This can be especially useful to people on the go. Just imagine, for example, being able to turn in a printed report or presentation while you're away from the office. Or clients being able to submit hard-copy documents or forms by simply printing them straight to your office. As long as you have a web-connected device you can print from, you can use Google Cloud Print.

Another advantage of Google Cloud Print is that the constant connection to the web enables the service to keep printer software and drivers updated, which makes printing tasks more efficient and less prone to errors. Security is also not an issue, since documents printed through Google Cloud Print are transferred over a secure connection and are automatically deleted when the job is completed. Users may also customize security features and other aspects of their Google Cloud Print account to better fit their needs.

Google Cloud Print's flexibility allows it to completely replace or simply augment your existing printing system. If you want to know more about how Google Cloud Print will work for your business, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can sit down with you and discuss its finer details.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.