Enabling Google Now on iOS and use Google Apps ? Head to your admin settings

Google just updated it’s main (and under appreciated) “Google Search” iOS app to include Google Now support, which was Android-only up until now.

I updated the app on my iPhone, but it didn’t work, and asked that I check some settings.

Turns out if you are running Google Apps, you need to enable Google Now under the main google apps dashboard in the Mobile settings for “Android”:
Not super intuitive 🙂

What is Google Now ? Here is an overview video below:

Mind Blown: Transfer your Google Voice from one Google account to another

A few days ago I spent some time cleaning up my address book, but I forgot that there was one additional place where it was a mess, Google Voice.

I had a Google Voice account tied to an older gmail account which I had set up before Google Voice was available for Google Apps.

That meant that my Google Voice account also had a completely separate contacts list which meant incoming calls & SMSs were often not identified, even though I had that person’s info in my other address book.

I was pretty sure I was stuck with this, when I decided to search around, and boom, I found (via Google of course) a “I want to transfer my Google Voice number to another account” page:

I clicked through the form, and then it forced me to be logged-in to both accounts in the same browser, and not even 5 minutes later my account was transferred.


Google Apps Account Transitioned — No Migration — Now What ?

What strange timing.  In a comment on my Google Plus thoughts I mentioned that my Google Apps account was still stuck and could not be transitioned to the new Google service platform that allowed using that account on other services (such as Google Voice – which previously required a gmail account)

Minutes later, I checked, and my account was amazingly ready to be transitioned.   My expectation was that I’d be able to merge accounts, address books, etc — but as you’ll see below — that wasn’t the case.

So for context how did this all happen.

  • I started using Google Apps so I could run email on my own domain but with the awesome gmail interface
  • Certain servies like Google Voice then required either a gmail account or a separate google account.  I used my gmail account for a while and lived with multiple logins and two separate address books
  • I then got a notice from Google that they were ready to “transition” Apps to the unified platform, but that my account was “conflicted” and that I was using the same email address on Apps and on other services.  The thing was, that other email was simply my Apps email address.  But alas, I (incorrectly in hindesight) switched my Google Account to a new address that was an alias of my main Google Apps account.

If you are still with me, this is what I saw next when I initiated the transition:

So for some reason I was not going to be able to transition the data from one to the other.





This was followed by the choice to create a new gmail account or use a non google email address:

I chose a non-google account for this, and that part went smoothly.

But now I’m a bit stuck.

  • When I log in to Google Voice, it wants me to create a new account with a new phone #. I have to go back to using the account switcher to pull up my original account
  • My Google contacts / address book is still split across two separarte accounts, which is a real pain when using Google Voice
  • And now I have two Google Plus accounts — but people only seem to find me on the original gmail/google account one
  • When I click on links from Google Apps gmail I’m often loading up the wrong Google account — for things like Calendar — not good.

So all in all — not great, but not much worse than what I had previously. My hope was that I could merge things a bit, and just have a single account for everything – especially with Google Voice.

Anyone else stuck in this world ?  Any suggestions ?

Daniel Bachhumer has already chimed in to my tweet complaining about this 😉 :

Google Apps and Gmail Fix “On behalf Of” Issue

When I switched to Google apps for my personal email back in January 2008, my #1 wish list item was to:

* Fix the “on behalf of” issue. If you use multiple email addresses, gmail and google apps are easy to setup to receive those emails. But when you send out using those non gmail/google apps addresses, certain recipients – especially those using Outlook – will see a “on behalf of email@gmail.com” in the “From” field.

This past Thursday, Google announced that they had fixed this issue, by allowing you to send out from your domain’s smtp server, thus dropping the “on behalf of” portion.

This is good news 🙂

I’ve been using Mac Mail and Thunderbird for a while in conjunction with google apps, so after tweaking my settings, I decided to try a few days of just Google apps for all my email accounts. Here is what I learned:

The good:

  • Love having just one single inbox
  • The Archive button is even more useful for work emails since the volume of email for me is pretty insane on most days

The bad:

  • The signature feature is pretty weak. You can’t set it per account, and you can’t have different versions. I did find this Firefox add-on, Black Canvas, that looks promising — but it doesn’t seem to work in google apps right now
  • If you rely on the google built-in mail fetcher to retrieve email, you’ll be waiting 20-60 minutes for new email – which is a problem. The work around is to have your other accounts forward all you email to your main gmail or google apps account, that way it shows up instantly
  • Address book issues. I haven’t sync’d my contacts with Google contacts yet, so finding an email address is a bit clunky. I have everything in my OS X address book sync’d nicely with my iPhone right now, so I haven’t gone down the Google contacts road yet — plus I’ve heard some stories of problems of late, so thinking I’ll wait a bit
  • No Gravatar support, so i can’t see the avatar/photos of the people I’m emailing with. I tried my colleague Jon Fox’s greasemonkey script but it’s not working — could be again b/c I’m in google apps. Would be nice to see Google support the Gravatar service, and other avatar services, natively ( Google folks, feel free to contact me if you’d like to chat about this )

Wish List:

  • While google apps email search rocks, I actually miss my desktop client search feature where as I type I see results. In general I think google could do a better job with search on email, such as having “did you mean” based on my index, and better snippet highlighting, as well as some kind of live results
  • Native iPhone app. The safari/mobile web version is getting better, but you can’t top the speed of a native app right now

Search / Sync Tip:
If you’ve been using a desktop mail client via IMAP like Thunderbird for your other accounts, google apps/gmail won’t have any of your sent messages. I find that I’m often searching for emails that I’ve sent, so this was something I needed to address. What I’m testing right now is a way to copy my sent messages into google apps. I loaded up all my accounts and the google apps account via IMAP in Thunderbird, and then started copying my Sent Folder messages from my other accounts into my google apps sent-mail folder. So far it seems to be working, and syncing up nicely.

Very promising so far. If I can get the signature issue sorted out I’d be happy and may switch to this setup for all email.

I’m also testing out an interesting desktop/web hybrid app called Mailplane on my colleague Andy Peatling’s suggestion. Their tag line is “Mailplane brings Gmail to your Mac desktop”. I haven’t used it enough yet, but it integrates nicely with your OS X address book, growl for notifications, and in beta is gears/offline support as well as HTML signatures. Checkout their 2 minute video overview for a good summary.

Switched to Google Apps for Personal Email

Over the holidays I was testing Google Apps and except for a small false positive spam issue with google alerts — I was really impressed.

The reason I was testing it was to see if I could replace my gmail account with one of my own email accounts, using my own domain — but running on google apps. Google Apps essentially allows you to use all the Google services like email, docs, calendar, etc — but using your own domain (i.e. myname.com).

The main motivator for me was to have a permanent email address that had great web interface, and also pop/imap support for a desktop client.

My old personal email setup:
* hosting: running on my own server
* Spam: using SpamAssasin to filter out spam. It worked fairly well but required some maintenance overhead of keeping up with new versions and tweaking the spam’s whitelist was a chore
* Webmail: the default Squirrel webmail was good, but not amazing
* Search: using Thunderbird for search when you had gigs of email was tough, and webmail search was OK

My move to gmail:
Then in July 2004 I signed up to test gmail and was amazed. I was tired of endless mailboxes/archive rules/folders of the Outlook/Eudora/Thunderbird world. Gmail had:
* awesome search
* no folders ( but simple & powerful labels )
* virtually unlimited storage
* killer feature — the threaded view which I’m amazed hasn’t been copied by every mail provider (and conversely i’m amazed gmail doesn’t offer a non-threaded view for people who just hate the threaded model)
* really solid spam protection

In addition to gmail’s great features I found that I needed a google account to use i-google, google reader, google webmaster tools,etc and I quickly found myself just using the gmail address as my person email address, and forwarding all my old accounts to the gmail address. ( since then google has changed the google account setup so you can use a non-gmail address for google services )

I can still easily call up the Gmail welcome email:

You’re one of the very first people to use Gmail. Your input will help determine how it evolves, so we encourage you to send your feedback, suggestions and questions to us.

I recall emailing in and saying that they should support domain mapping so you could have email@yourdomain.com. Fast forward a few years, and google now has that option. I quickly set it up on google apps, made some DNS changes and was up and running in no time.

Google Apps
I’ve been using google apps for about a month now, and here are a few observations:
* the free version I’m using is perfect for my use. They do offer premium options of larger organizations.
* everything you would expect with gmail you have with google apps – including docs, calendar, etc
* the mobile blackberry app for google apps works great
* with the calendar there are some extra features for people “on your domain” to always have access to your calendar
* outside services that provide a way to grab your gmail address book ( such as facebook ) do not work with google apps – this could be considered a good thing for some people 🙂
* moving my gmail emails to google apps was relatively painless. Details & lots of discussion at Scott Hanselman’s blog.

WordPress.com Support:
If you have a blog at WordPress.com and are using a mapped domain as I now do with this blog, you can enable Google Apps for that same domain. Details are here in our faq.

Wish List:
* Fix the “on behalf of” issue. If you use multiple email addresses, gmail and google apps are easy to setup to receive those emails. But when you send out using those non gmail/google apps addresses, certain recipients – especially those using Outlook – will see a “on behalf of email@gmail.com” in the “From” field.UPDATE: Now fixed.

Pretty much a no brainer. If you love gmail, want your own domain, and like having the safety to know that you can pop/imap your email, and move it at any time — google apps is a great choice.

Google Apps email flags Google alerts (sent to gmail) as Spam

I’m playing around with google apps, and one great feature is the ability to import in existing gmail accounts – all email messages and even labels.

One thing I assumed was that no messages from my gmail spam folder would be imported – and that turned out to be true. But after the gmail import I noticed a bunch of message in the new google apps account’s spam folder. On closer inspection they were all legit messages including google alerts sent to my gmail account. A bit convoluted, but if this is still making sense to you, it looks like google apps email hasn’t white-listed google messages.

Odd, no ? See screenshot below showing google alerts for a stock I follow, MVIS:

google apps flags alerts as spam