Google is at it again, this time changing the look of their very popular Gmail email service.
They announced this change over on their official blog. Over the next couple days there will be a link on the bottom right of the page when you are logged in to Gmail allowing you to switch to the new look. I know so many people, including myself, are resistant to change, when it comes to something we have been using for so many years. I am here to say that after initial resistance, I have come to enjoy the new look and it is much more customizable.
Be sure to check out Google's blog as it shows off some of the new features from the Google team, and I am sure they are proud of their work. Some of these new features, for example allowing the user to configure the spacing in the view, took the new look from insulting to the eyes to something I really enjoy. They have updated the theme; including some new HD themes that add a snazzy new look to the whole layout. I really do enjoy the new, more customizable appearance, and it is navigable via the keyboard. It claims to have an improved conversation view included also although I haven’t had enough time with it to comment on this feature, and not being a fan of conversations overall in email clients to date. All in all check it out if you are using Gmail as your mail client, and really who isn’t? Plus why fight it --it will be coming soon enough anyway.
- by David, "Gingerbread", Quiram
On Monday there was an issue with the Google mail system that affected 40,000 users (though there are some reports of up to 500,000 from non-Google sources). The users could not access their email and contacts during the outage. At first it was suspected the data was lost, but Google later reported that was not the case, the data was inaccessible due to a storage software update issue. The data access was resorted within 24 hours.
I have made the recommendation in a blog back in September of using Gmail as a tool to make your business more resilient to a localized disaster (i.e. loss of building, vandalism, theft) and keeping your email accessible during the recovery. I still recommend it. In fact in light of how the issue was handled by Google, I recommend it even more. .
Google addressed the issue quickly and fixed it. The storage software update was halted as soon as the forums were lit up with requests into why users "lost" their emails and contacts. Think about it, the forums got the news of issues. Then that information was communicated through the company to the Engineers who identified the problem and stopped it from affecting other storage sites. It isn't like these people all work in the same room. Google is huge well over 20,000 employees. The restore portion of the event is what took the 24 hours.
That being said I am sure that there are those who are not convinced and see this outage as just another in a line of outages from 2009, two years ago. Yeah, there were several outages in 2009 and one this March. Things happen. No computer system is fail-safe. Nothing is, things fail. It is having a DR plan and protocols to follow during outages and disasters that make up for it.
Let’s looks at the pros and cons here from this most recent outage:
- You are relying on someone else to run your email accounts.
(Well you would be anyway; someone has to manage it be it on site staff, Managed Service Company. Having Google do it is free and they will maintain their technology and provide the staff for it)
- Google is not immune to outages….frankly no one is...not even the uptime of 99.99999%, there is still some outages in there. So there will be downtime.
- The responsibility of communication is on Google's side. You can contact them about issues, but there is no recourse of action if they do not communicate back.
- Google has shown that they are committed to make the Gmail system work and provide the service. They will get it fixed and they have the right people to do it. This particular issue will not happen again. Ever.
- Google responded to the issue quickly and stopped it from affecting other storage systems. Less than 1% of the total Gmail users were affected.
- Google still has the redundancy of hot sites and physical backup. Services which are out of most business price range. This service usage is Free!
- Comparatively the amount of downtime that business experience with their own internal email is much longer than the 24 hours experienced by Gmail users.
Overall using Gmail is not a larger risk after the latest outage. There are the same risks as before that is inherent in using cloud resources. Google has shown that they have the capability and drive to recover from outages that just cannot be matched by smaller business and it is free. If you'd like to hear more about specific Disaster Recovery plans, please contact Trigon at your earliest convenience! If you'd like to hear more about Google Apps, contact our friends at Mosaic.
- by Andrew Levin, via Mosaic Technology.
So, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding Google Apps so I decided to take it for a test run myself. As it turns out, I was very impressed by the surprisingly simplistic configuration process. I was able to sign up, configure my account, repoint my domain, get apps configured, setup users, and email flowing all in under 30 minutes. Granted, everything was a vanilla configuration, but just being able to experience how quickly an administrator could get fundamental IT services up and running so quickly was very promising.
In a nutshell, I will outline the basic configuration process just so you can get a feel of how easy it is.
- I went to https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new in order to sign up for the free service.
- Followed the prompts to input basic domain information
- Created an administrator account
- Verified ownership of my domain by adding a C-Name record specified by Google
- Successfully logged into my account and was taken to the administrator’s dashboard
- Poked around through all the available settings to get a feel for everything
- Clicked the setup guide to learn how to create custom URLs for my domain, instead of using Google’s.
- Sub domains can be created for any of the provided features. For example, docs.yourdomain.com or email.yourdomain.com. All it takes is adding the proper CNAME value within your domain’s DNS manager and point it to ghs.google.com. Then you simply specify the sub domain name in your Google Apps admin dashboard and they take care of the rest of the redirection.
8. Reviewed the setup guide
I then began poking around admin dashboard to see what other options were available. It has a similar look and feel of other Google offerings which makes it pretty simple. Also, which is great, there isn’t really that much to it. I mean, you have your domain settings, users and groups, service settings, support tools, and you’re good to go. Although I only performed a cursory review, my first impression was that of a design objective similar to Microsoft’s Small Business Server. Google Apps facilitates the ability to not require specifically skilled IT administrators (possibly the skilled IT administrators based out of Wayne, PA servicing the entire Philadelphia area) to run and support the essential features of your business’s infrastructure.
My overall expectations weren’t to see an elaborate feature set, stunning graphics, or an advanced admin console. I expected to see a simplistic, but intuitive UI, both from the user and administrator side, as well as services that fulfilled the fundamental needs of small to mid-sized businesses. That is exactly what I saw. No frills here, it just gets down to business. The goal of Google Apps isn’t to rival the feature set of MS Office because that would be pointless. The goal is to answer the need for a simplified means of deploying, implementing, managing and using core IT services in a business environment. Impressively, that is exactly what Google Apps has accomplished.
Keep in mind too; this is only the first release…
If you’ve already forgotten what that particular acronym means, we don’t blame you, as Unlicensed Mobile Access hasn’t held the spotlight since the days of HotSpot@Home, but suffice it to say the tech uses a WiFi access point to make free VoIP calls, no cell signal (or minutes) required. It’d be easy to point to this move as a nefarious T-Mobile plot to free up cellular bandwidth a la the femtocell, except it apparently also works the other way, too — the Optimus One will allegedly let you share that HSDPA 7.2 Mbps connection over WiFi with your thirsty laptop.
Smell that? It's the future. But I never would have guessed it would come from T-Mobile. Or even that I could smell it from our IT Support capital of the World, Wayne, PA.
What a huge boon this would be for cellular networks. Imagine if ATT did something like this? (maybe in 10 years) My house is essentially a lead box buried underneath liquid lead. It's not good for calls. Which is great because I hate talking on the phone. I usually have better things to do, like finish this road trip on NHL11. It's hard work, video games. Ya know?
If any carrier has had problems with network congestion, this would potentially take a large load off of their backs. Many people don't buy land lines in their home so that they can utilize their cell phones. Often times, though, they are in a similar situation as I am. If they do get service, it's usually pretty poor. Why not take the time to implement something like this? Maybe just have it turned off by default on phones, and allow the customer to flip it if necessary. No minutes used, no added congestion on their network. Sounds like a win to me.
VoIP is obviously the future for not sure enterprise, but perhaps in the home as well. Even Google has implemented these features into their web-based Gmail. It's a snap to use and is free for the time being.
I ignored 3 calls while writing this blog. Victory!
Search as you type. It’s a simple and straightforward idea—people can get results as they type their queries. Imagining the future of search, the idea of being able to search for partial queries or provide some interactive feedback while searching has come up more than a few times. Along the way, we’ve even built quite a few demos (notably, Amit Patel in 1999 and Nikhil Bhatla in 2003). Our search-as-you-type demos were thought-provoking—fun, fast and interactive—but fundamentally flawed. Why? Because you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]). You really want search-before-you-type—that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.
"It's not quite psychic, but it is clever." That was from Othar, engineer for this project during the live press conference. And that noise was me, packing my suitcase to leave Earth.
I don't know about you, but I'm sure Google could be taking over this planet any day now. Go ahead and try Google Instant. You type in "w" and your local weather will pop up. Ah!! You didn't even hit enter and results showed up!
It's only a matter of time before th..wait. Hold on.
Someones at the door.
He's wearing a Google T-Shirt. He says he.."just wants to talk."
Quick, Google Instant the police, tell my dogs I love them!
Thats was she said.
But seriously folks, Google has launched a major offensive into the world of Microsoft Office. The company has started a campaign akin to the Apple 'Switch' ads of yesteryear. Their goal is to let IT professionals know the ease of using Google and their resources for Gmail, Calendars, Google Docs and others instead of Microsoft Office. They want to spread the word that IT peeps like myself don't need to waste time and buying purchasing, installing and managing servers for these items.
The entire Google Apps group includes; 25GB inboxes, instant messaging, voice and video chat, web-based docs and calendar, mobile email, and internet websites. There's even a handy calculator to show you how much you'd be saving your client cold hard cash.
And lets be frank here, if 'Going Google' allows me more time to search YouTube for clips of people falling off of treadmills, I'm all for it.
Google has set up billboards in San Fran, NY, Chicago and Boston on high traffic highways. The signs are changed everyday, but don't worry, they are completely recyclable. Oh, that Google. It would be a disservice NOT to sign up for everything I do on the internet with this company!
Are YOU Going Google? Will *I* be out of a job in a year because of Google? Did YOU watch Hells Kitchen this week?
DISCLAIMER: This Post Does Not in Any Way Mention Apple.
Recently I created a Gmail account to act as a secondary email for myself. For the sake of conversation, let's call it firstname.lastname@example.org. I was going to use it just in case I needed my password reset for various websites and also as a poor mans auto-archive of my main email. Boy what a mistake that could be.
Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo shut off inactive email accounts after 6-9 months of in-activity, meaning that my secondary email could be deactivated if I don't log in often. So one day a greasy haired nerdlinger who dreamed of getting email@example.com would be inundated with glee to find it was finally available. Imagine his surprise when he started getting banking and password information into his inbox. What he would want to do with my Twitter account is beyond me, but rest assured I want to be the only one alerting the world that I just had breakfast!
So the morale of this story is that you shouldn't forget to log into your email early and often and also to eat your vitamins. For the record, C is my favorite.