Posts Tagged ‘ email ’

5 Awesome Email Features from Google

Email is both my best friend, and often, my worst enemy. It’s my primary means of communicating with my team, customers, prospects, and partners. It’s also my nemesis when I’ve got a ton of things I’m furiously working my way through on any given day.

I have to praise Google for their efforts in making email better; Little things like prompting me when I’ve said I’ve attached a file, but have actually forgotten to attach it (I swear, they added this feature just for me), or, praising me for reading all the important messages in my inbox (yes, I do say “Woohoo!” when that happens).

Gmail also has a cool area in Mail Settings called Labs – Mail Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready yet for primetime (it’s important to know that if you do Enable a particular feature from Labs, they might change, break, or completely disappear at any time.) If you haven’t checked Mail Labs out yet, I highly suggest it – you can find simple features that help manage email easier, or make the Gmail experience better.

5 features I’ve enabled and tested, and why I think they’re awesome:

Now, none of these are exactly “New” features, but, unless you enable them you may not have known they even existed. Below I’ve highlighted 5 features from the Labs that I think are awesome, along with details and links to more info on how to enable and use them.

1. Background Send:

I have to thank Twitter (more specifically, @henningh)  for referring me to this feature when I complained about hating to wait while an email with attachments is sending. This feature allows you to move on to more important things (like sending or moving on to another email) while your email is being sent – like its name, it sends your email in the background.

2. Canned Responses

I had to try this feature out after reading its description: “Email for the truly lazy”. I think it’s also “Email for the truly busy” as well. With the Canned Responses feature, you can create and save messages using a button in the compose form. So, if there are certain responses / messaging that you use frequently in email, instead of typing it all out each time, you can use one of your saved responses. Unlike an Auto-reply, you decide when to use it, and which response to use as appropriate.

3. Google Docs Gadget

I love having things in a unified view – the less clicking around and opening things, the better. The Google Docs gadget adds a box in the left column of your Gmail that displays your Google Docs – Not only can you see recent docs, starred docs, and search for docs in this gadget, you can even create new docs… without leaving Gmail.

4. Google Calendar Gadget

Like the Google Docs Gadget, this feature adds a box to your left column that displays your Google Calendar. You can view any of your Google Calendars and  see their past and upcoming events as well as quickly create new events right from your Gmail. Being able to see my schedule without leaving the page, while I’m drafting an email proposing meeting times is extremely handy.

(You can go here for more info on the Docs and Calendar sidebar gadgets)

5. Inserting Images

One thing about Gmail that used to irk me was not being able to insert an image directly into the message body. Sometimes, I need a recipient to see an image right in the body of an email, and not just as an attachment. This feature lets you do just that. When enabled, you get an image insert icon in your compose options (between Insert Emoticon and Link) that let’s you insert an image right into the message body. Once the image is inserted, you can resize or remove it as needed.

Nothing for Email Attachments?

Surprisingly (or maybe not) Google has yet to do anything to help manage email attachments. I’ve spoken to Googlers who have suggested various ways of building filters, but really, all they do is group my emails that have attachments together. I can’t see what the attachments are, without opening each message individually, and quite frankly, who wants to search through email attachments to find anything?

Above I listed out some really great features that Google is working on. Here’s one that we’re working on.

SmartCloud

SmartCloud automatically tags and saves your important email attachments into your cloud services without you having to do anything. Attachments come into and go out from your email, and SmartCloud tags and saves them into your Box, DropBox, Google Docs, etc… Sounds great right? If you want to know more you can check out our site: getsmartcloud.com

So there you have it – 5 awesome email features from Google, and 1 really awesome one from Openera. I hope these are as helpful to you as they have been to me.

What are your favourite Gmail features, and what do you hope they come up with next?

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Email is not content management!

According to an infographic CCLoop published, sourcing information from Mashable, “The Social Break-Up” by ExactTarget, and Neilsen Research (to name a few) an estimated 2.8 Million emails are sent every second. That’s 90 Trillion emails each year, and email usage continues to grow in both Consumer and Business markets.


Infographic by: ccLoop

It also cites “Attachment Chaos” as first of the Top Four Email Annoyances, and I bet your inbox contains more content than it should. I bet there are files, reports, presentations and other critical documents that aren’t being formally managed (even if you are required to do so). I bet you don’t save attachments as they come in, and spend … no – WASTE your valuable time searching for attachments when you need them.

I say this with confidence, because last month Openera issued a poll asking “How do you Manage your Attachments?”. While it came as no surprise to us, almost 65% of those polled indicated they search for attachments later when they need them.

There is a lot of noise in your inbox, which can result in lost attachments, missed opportunities and other headaches. To be on top of your game, you need to properly manage all of your documents and be able to access them on the spot. So why is it we keep using our inbox as a content management system?

Are we too lazy to save attachments as they come in? Maybe. It’s more probable that we’re too busy to be spending too much time worrying about saving stuff where it’s supposed to go, when we think we can just look for it later when we need it.

Sure, there are a number of ways you can “manage” your content in your inbox(es): Creating and managing multiple folders, setting up custom search filters, or  being incredibly diligent in saving each and every attachment as you see it. No matter how you slice it though, each is very manual and time consuming.

Isn’t technology supposed to make your life easier? When it comes to your inbox, or inboxes, don’t you wish your stuff could just go where you want it to?

Exactly.

We know how frustrating it can be to keep track of all of your attachments across multiple inboxes. We also know how annoying (and unnecessary) it is when someone says “we have a solution for that – but you have to completely change the way you work in order to use it”. This is why SmartCloud automatically tags and saves your important attachments precisely where you want them to go … without changing the way you work.

How are YOU managing your email attachments today? Leave us a comment, let us know what tactics or services you’re using to keep your inbox clean, and attachments organized.

And of course, you can Go Here to learn more about SmartCloud

5 ways the cloud can be better for SMB companies

Gartner, Forrester and just about every other reputable analyst, technologist or CIO tend to agree. The Cloud is good for SMB companies.

The openera philosophy is simple. Believe in the open exchange of ideas and work with good people who are willing to work hard. Focus on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses with good partners. Succeed together.

Here are 5 ways The Cloud can help SMB Companies immediately:

  1. Manage Content (Documents, records, forms, media…)
  2. customer, partners contact management (CRM)
  3. Office essentials (Email, Calendar, Tasks…)
  4. Project Management (development, marketing, human resources…)
  5. Communication (VoiP, web presentations, im, chat & social.) 

We run our company on a combination of Google Apps (email, calendar, tasks & collaborative documents) Salesforce.com (CRM & Marketing Automation) Dropbox & Box.net for content management & back-up and Skype + DimDim for VoiP, Screen Sharing, and web presentations. For a few thousand dollars a year, we can run our entire organization better than well funded multi-national companies could 10 years ago. As a small business owner, that makes me smile.