November 11th, 2013
I recently read an article found on AMEX’s OpenForum and wanted to respond to the article, as I found some misinformation in it. The article is about Google Apps for Business and how it can be very beneficial to small businesses and entrepreneurs. That part I wholeheartedly agree with. But some of the points within the article are not completely true and I wanted to give a reply to the article in this blog post. Here is a link to the article for better context, and below is my response. - https://www.openforum.com/articles/getting-the-most-out-of-google-apps/.
I agree that a business should upgrade to Google Apps for Business (instead of staying on the free version) and spend the mere $50/year for it. You should have the support and other features that the free version does not provide.
In tweaking the apps, I have found some misinformation that I’d like to clarify:
- In Gmail, the new category folders can be turned off, so you’re still dealing with the main Inbox folder. And the categories do not replace the Labels (or folders in Outlook) that already exist. In Settings of Gmail, select “Configure Inbox” and deselect all choices but Primary to remove the category folders.
- You’d be surprised how often people need/want to collaborate on a document at the same time, therefore relying on tools like Google Docs to do so. It is also very useful not to have to email a file back and forth, and for the system to automatically email you when a comment is made on a document shared with you. You can’t do that with Microsoft Word!
- Sheets has the functionality of creating formulas, therefore showing totals. Cell selection you have to get used to some changes but is otherwise very similar to Excel.
- When someone shares a file with you in Drive, you do not need to ask permission to find/open/use it, it’s just there in your Drive folder under “Shared with me”.
- The calendar IS available in Outlook. You just have to add it by using the URL provided in the Google Calendar settings. I have 6 different calendars that I see in Outlook, that I also see in 3 different Google accounts I have. All synchronize so that a change on one end gets made on the other end (Google to Outlook and vice versa). Simply hover on the calendar in Google you want to send to Outlook, click the arrow and select Calendar Settings. In the Calendar Address section, click on iCal and copy the link that appears. Then in Outlook, select Tools –> Accounts. Go to the Internet Calendar tab and click New… Paste the link that you copied and click Add. You will now have the Google Calendar appear in Outlook and see any changes made in Google.
I will agree that if you are not tech savvy, setting some of this up can be overwhelming, but once done, the Google Apps suite of tools can be extremely powerful to help run a business, and help manage a team that requires remote collaboration.
I personally use Google Apps for Business to help run my business’ technology, and use Outlook on a daily basis. All of my information (email, calendar, contacts) are synchronized between the two tools, as well as synchronized with my Smartphone and tablet without much effort.