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  1. #1
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    Going Google (apps), Part 1: Move your mail




    TOP STORY

    Going Google (apps), Part 1: Move your mail


    By Woody Leonhard

    Are you getting tired of struggling with Microsoft's increasingly complex, sometimes arcane, and always expensive versions of Office?

    This article, the first in a series, will show you how easy it is to move from bloated and pricey desktop programs to fast, free though somewhat less capable Google apps.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/going-google-apps-part-1-move-your-mail/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Hi Woody. Well, like you I've been thinking of moving away from Outlook for donkey's years, but could never take the plunge. You've spurred me to think about it again. But, a couple of questions...

    1. I own a domain name, which enables me to use a different email address from what the ISP allocated me. For example, say my address with them is dave@isp.net.nz, but the address I give out for friends and clients is dave@abc.co.nz. Any mail sent to dave@abc.co.nz finds its way to my ISP and they store it in my dave@isp.net.nz inbox. When Outlook picks up my mail from the ISP, it appears in my Outlook inbox as being addressed to dave@abc.co.nz. And, of course, it all gets reversed on the way out. I can't work out how I would do that using gMail. Is it possible?

    2. In Outlook, all my mail (inwards and outwards) appears in a "search folder" I've defined called "Active mail". I just don't understand the usual approach of storing inwards and outwards emails in separate folders; nuts if you ask me. So, I spend the day looking at "Active mail", reading in coming mail, sending mail, moving no-longer-active mail to folders, etc. All of this is done in the one (search) folder. Is that possible in gMail? The only way I could think of doing it was perhaps to automatically "star" all inwards and outwards mail, or mark it as important, or something similar, but I don't know how to automate that.

    I guess where I'm reaching (yet again), is that maybe Outlook really is the only fully-functional email client? Please disabuse me of this idea!!!

    Thanks for your great articles.

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    Just because you do not want to have the mail stored on your computer and use Outlook or Thunderbird etc to read it does not mean that you have to use Gmail. If one is owns a domain you can purchase low cost hosting plans for under $10 a month that includes email hosting. Most providers allow one to use a webmail interface or use IMAP to access your email on devices lilke iPads, Nexus7 using the built in email app or even the device's web browser and the hosting company's webmail interface.

    Remember that Gmail does not use physical file folders. Gmail uses labels to "file" or tag email. A message can be tagged with multiple labels meaning that the one message can show up in multiple virtual folders. However deleting that message from one virtual folder means it will also be deleted from all other virtual folders. That is because Gmail only saves the message once, unlike in Outlook or other computer based email apps where one can create separate copies of a message in different folders.

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    I finally gave up on MS Office after 2007 version because of the cost. I've been using Softmaker Office 2010 (now 2012) because it has a word processor, PowerPoint clone and Excel clone that is also available in Android and works nicely on my PC, notebook, tablet and smartphone. It cost me just $49.95 which is a huge savings over MS Office and it's compatible with WordPerfect, too. I also dumped my Outlook altogether and switched to Gmail over a year ago.
    Last edited by macropod; 2013-12-05 at 08:48. Reason: Elminated oversized, in-your-face font

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    Gmail or Google Apps

    Woody, you initially talk about Google Apps but in the instructions you talk about Gmail. Are you referring to Google Apps throughout since, as far as I am aware, only Google Apps will fully synchronise email, calendar and contacts across all your devices?

  7. #6
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    I am not happy with google's intrusive and coercive demands for my phone number. I'd appreciate your exploring other, non-cloud-based options sometime.

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    Very nice and detailed article. I made the switch to Gmail upon retirement and have never had one second thought. I have my own domain (similar in nature to your situation) and the only issue I have had is on occassion I have had someone to send an email to me and expect an immediate response. Without my intervention through forcing a POP there could be a longer than desired delay before Gmail does its POP. That doesn't change the fact that you produced an outstanding article. I look forward to the next installment because I have not made the change from Excel.
    Lynn Foster

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    Even though I have been with gmail since it started I am getting more and more reluctant to rely on it. Google's attitude these days is light years distant from their early ethos. Services are closed presumably because they are not easily monetised. New "features" such as the ghastly compose window are foisted on users, wasn't their comment that it would encourage people to write short chat type messages?. Thing suddenly don't work quite the way you expect, for instance I opened a pdf in Docs this morning and got the message "You have reached the limit for non-Google Docs format documents" with no other explanation.

    By all means use Google's interface for your email but for goodness sake make sure you have local copies of everything before they decide you can only access things through G+.

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    Glad to see you like Google, I have used there email for many years for different things, Google is not bad, but they are not a god like you seem to write them up as, I have known customers whom have done the same thing you have done and needed to move back for many reasons not to mention (legal, ease of use, accountant issues etc) so good luck.
    Oh by the way I always have this issue with people you write that you have used office since 97 office and it crashes and yes 2010,2013 also BUT why did you need to keep spending money on each NEW VERSION? I never would recommend doing this to a business, for the most part the changes have NO VALUE for a business!!

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    In Outlook, you click on the description of a colum (From, date, Topic, etc) and it sorts out the e-mail based on that column. Is that possible in Gmail or do you always have to use the Search tool? I am on Gmail but that missing feature frustrates me. Help!!!

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    I have made half of this switch. I use Gmail as my mail server, but Outlook as my email reader on my PC. When I do a search, it's on gmail. So far, I have not had to pay any attention to the size of my gmail file after more than 4 years on gmail. All my email sent to two of my own domains are forwarded to my gmail account. My allocated storage on Google's servers seems to just get bigger faster than my accumulated email history. Once in awhile, I will trim my Outlook pst file, but since moving to Outlook 2007, the pst file size is no longer a problem.

    One thing I cannot get past is the native gmail reader in a browser. It sucks! The gmail reader for Android is great, but there does not seem to be an equivalent reader for the PC browser - is there?

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    Thank you for your encouraging article. I already found out the improvements that the use of Gmail brings. Now that we are in that cloud I would love to read your instructions on how to keep email content classified and private to sender and receiver simply and effective.

    doka

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    Just too many problems with "the cloud"......

    Despite all the convenience that an online cloud based service like Google and all the others provide in terms of
    -access to your documents from any device, from any location
    -(hopefully) protection of the data from a single point of failure (ie. a local hard-drive failure with your only copy)

    They just have too many problems....

    1) All "your data" is now essential theirs. They own it and can do whatever they want with it.
    Have you read Google's terms of service? here's a snippet:

    When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

    see:
    https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/
    http://www.cultofmac.com/162901/goog...th-your-files/
    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Cloud-Compu...rive-503152/1/

    2) "Your data" can be shared too easily.
    Due to all the new laws in the name of anti-terror, anti-child-porn, etc. in the USA, your data can be shared with almost any level of law-enforcement and the government. I suspect it only a matter of time before some small business gets in trouble for financial or tax info stored "in the cloud".

    3) You could be locked out of "your own" data.
    If your account comes up as a "false positive" in any of the company's anti-piracy, anti-child porn, etc. automatic scanning then your account can be automatically locked until you can get a hold of someone to work it out. Maybe only a small chance, but Murphy says it'll happen at the worst time at a customer site when you need to show that presentation.

    4) One cloud-based provider scans "your" stuff to compare against what they already had from other users. If you uploaded the same document as another user, they do NOT store it again in your account, instead they provided both uploaders with a "link" to the same data. It's a great system to save them disk space and therefore money. However, organizing all those links and keeping the permissions correct is difficult and I bet not perfect. How long until mangled links give "your" data to some other user?

    5) How many times do you want to pay for upload/download of "your data".
    Even if you stay under the "free" limit of drive capacity offered by a cloud based provider, you still pay for access to that data.
    Every time you tweak a document or listen to your favourite song stored in the cloud it counts towards your service providers monthly data allowance.

    6) I hate ads!
    Some may consider me a little overboard here. I mute commercials on TV. I watch more DVD's and PBS just so I don't need to. I can no longer listen to "commercial" radio stations, the "price" (of constantly repeated ads) is just too high. I stream my own music from my NAS. Whichever cloud based service you may use understand one thing: The providers number one priority is to scan "your documents" in order to provide targeted advertising. Security of "your data" is way down the list.

    A work-around for some of the above would be to securely encrypt all your uploaded documents. However this extra step with a strong password negates much of the perceived convenience of these systems. It's a problem with the humans...who has the discipline to do the encrypt/decrypt every time.

    I can never see myself buying into this cloud fad.
    I would rather keep buying hard-drives and backing it up myself.....that way I do have control.

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  16. #14
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    Woody, I think you were right to begin your series on leaving MS Office with a discussion of email. But I think you've glossed over the negatives associated with Gmail and ignored many benefits of Outlook. And you brushed off Exchange without considering Exchange-based cloud alternatives (such as Microsoft Exchange Online (MEO), part of Office365), against which the Gmail service is more properly compared.

    I, too, have used Outlook since '97. I consider it a fine organizational tool that has evolved well with the times. Yes, it has features I don't need but that's because it serves an extremely wide market, from individuals to enterprises. PST files may have their problems but they also provide access to mail when offline (Outlook was created in the dial-up world) and provide an archive should you ever decide to change services. Corruption can be repaired by Microsoft's ScanPST utility.

    When used with Exchange, Outlook is even more formidable. I agree that running your own Exchange server requires overhead and cost. But hosted Exchange services have been around for a long time, sparing one the complexity of operation while offering all the Exchange benefits. MEO is just one such service but as it turns out a relatively economical one. That Exchange is important cannot be denied; witness the presence of Exchange ActiveSync on virtually every smart phone.

    Nonetheless, I tried the switch to Gmail just a few months before the free Google Apps service was discontinued. That experiment lasted a week. Part of the reason, of course, was that I continued to use Outlook and experienced the clash between the two different organizational styles. Outlook won, and that is when I signed up for MEO. Mail, contacts, and calendar have been running smoothly ever since. MEO has proven its mettle to me by working well with all three of the major smart phone platforms, Windows, Android, and iOS.

    By the way, those PST files you don't like are the very reason I was able to migrate relatively easily from my original POP account to GMAIL and then to MEO. If you move to Gmail and use it as a Web-based service only, then decide you want to change to something else (MEO or the next great thing), how will you migrate your mail? And how will you archive it locally?

    I'm sure that Google Apps can work for a small business, as you suggest. I have some clients who are using it effectively for email. I just don't think the mail service stacks up to the competition and I don't think your article today offers enough information for folks to make a balanced choice.

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    Honestly after investing a lot of personal effort in Google Video and even more so in Reader and having those rugs yanked out from under my feet, I'm disinclined to crawl back into bed with Google and grow dependent on their other offerings. Despite being a long-term fan, I've rapidly soured on the company due to their cavalier practices.

    Do no evil, indeed.

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