So its been quite some time since my last post. I actually passed the certification a few weeks ago but have had to catch up on some other stuff (excuses, excuses.. I know). Well here are some things I found from taking the certification.
There are 6 exams, you only have 60 days to pass your last exam after starting your first. Your certification is only good for one year. I know suxs! The tests are fairly difficult some more then others. Just about every question on the test is on the Google study site! Its probably your most valuable resource. You can find all the modules here –> http://edutraining.googleapps.com/Training-Home/module-1
So now that I’m certified now what? Well I will most likely put together some training materials and our company will begin to offer training along with our Google Apps migration and support offerings.
Google now has a certification process for Google Apps Education. The idea is to get people certified so they can train Education users on how to use the product since the EDU’s of the world have been adopting at a high rate. There are 6 modules to pass; including Mail, Calendar and Docs. It cost $15 dollars a test for you math impaired thats $90 for all 6 exams. A passing score is 80% and you must pass all exams within 60 days of starting the first one. I will be taking the exams (starting with the first one tonight) and will be posting back on this Blog about the experience.
The day has finally come! Google just recently announced that Google Docs now supports editing of docs on mobile devices, like Android, Iphone and Ipad! This is good news for me because I couldnt make a business case to buy an Ipad before but now that I can actually edit my work documents on one I think I know what Daddy wants for Christmas this year!
Mobile devices are have exploded in growth in the last few years but their is still that gap between what we are expected to accomplish at work and what a mobile device like an Ipad can deliver. If your company is using Google Docs then you can now happily tell your users that Yes, they can use that mobile device for more work related purposes then just checking email.
Here is a video demonstrating the new feature –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAr5VoYdVBo
How much do we love the power of Google Apps? Well to use expressions my parents did and that I never could understand, its the bees knees, the cats pajamas, the air beneath our wings (ok I think that last one is from some 80′s song) However being a cloud solution there are some drawbacks when compared to an on premise solution. One typical one is that on premise software is often more customizable.
Its true we are somewhat limited in what we can customize, but Google Apps does offer your users the ability to change the look of their Gmail. The place to show your users where they can adjust the look and feel of their Apps is the Themes.
Click on Settings-Themes; then choose one of the Templates. This theme will immediately apply to the mailbox. Google is adding more and more of these Themes giving your users the chance to give it the look they prefer while still being uniform underneath. Let your users know about Themes and let them start expressing! By the way my favorite is the new Android Theme.
As a Google Apps Admin you know the wonders of this technology and your probably aware that most companies, if they are not already, will be using some type of web based, cloud collaboration solution soon. But what if you cannot convince your bosses that they should be an early adopter? As a Google Apps reseller I find that one of the most effective ways of calming peoples fears when it comes to the change to Google Apps is letting them know about the other companies and organizations that have already become early adopters. While there are many large and untold amount of small companies the biggest conversion seems to be with educational organizations. Google recently announced they have now have over 10 million users of Google Apps for Education alone! The reason why this is important because not only will we all have to learn how to use these tools in our business lives in the next few years but college graduates who are new to the workforce will come in knowing Google Apps or similar cloud collaboration solutions. All the better that companies get ahead of the game and switch over now before this new wave of younger workers come in expecting the same tools they learned in college!
Below is a list of some of the educational institutions that have recently made the switch or are making the switch to Google Apps for Education.
NYU, New York Public Schools K-12, Brown University, Northwestern, Arizona State, USC, Vanderbilt, Boise State, George Washington, Utah State, San Jose City College, University of San Diego, University of Vermont and many, many more.
Google is adding new features to their Apps every day and some of them deserve a little more attention then others. Although Google Docs is a revolutionary idea, lets face it, its only been around a few years while Microsoft Word is one generation removed from stone tablets. With that big of a head start Microsoft is going to include features that Google needs some time to catch up on.
With another step in the right direction, Google has just recently announced the ability to drag/drop images directly into your Google Doc. Before you were limited to manually adding it from your computer, adding it by url or doing a Google Image search. The new capability allows you to take the image directly from your desktop and drag it into your Google Doc. I have tested this successfully with the latest versions of Chrome, FireFox and Safari but not IE.
With Microsoft’s recent announcement of their release of Office 365 a direct competitor to Google Apps we can expect a lot more frequent and useful updates to Google Apps.
Great news for the Google Apps Admin and our users!
The Great Escape
So one of the great things about Google Apps is the flexibility it gives today’s mobile workforce to be productive in places other then the office. You can work from a train, a plane, or even on the beach if it has an Internet connection (just watch out for that sand!)
However there are times when even the most loyal worker needs to take a true vacation and get away from it all. This post is dedicated to these people as today we are going to take a look at the vacation responder options in Google Apps.
To access these options go to Settings, then scroll to the bottom where it says Vacation Responder.
Pretty straight forward as you can see, simply check it on, then put in the dates you will be gone, along with the message you would like people to see. An interesting new option they added was the ability to “only send a response to people in my contacts” and “only send a response to people in my companyname” Leaving both boxes unchecked will result in the default behavior of everyone getting your vacation message.
Well even the Google Apps Admin needs a vacation every once in awhile so set your vacation responder in Google, grab your Mai Tai and hit the beach!