Celebrating My Birthday with Google Apps

In light of our 'Friday Funday' posts, I've decided to tell you about a few 'can't live without' features in Google Apps I enjoy using.  Today is also my birthday ... so this is my present to you!

'Send & Archive' Lab in Gmail

Since Gmail offers 25gb of data storage, I don't have to delete any messages if I don't want to.  Now, I'm human, I still delete items ... but the number of deleted items has severely decreased since I began using Google Apps.

Archiving mail is an extremely effective way to manage your inbox.  Messages that have been read but do not need a label should be archived.  You never know when you may need them at a later date/time.  

With the 'Send & Archive' lab in Gmail, I can hit 'Send & Archive' when sending out my message and the thread will no longer be in my inbox, it will reside in 'All Mail' only (if I didn't label it).  This way, the message is not cluttering my inbox and when the person replies back, it will appear at the top of my inbox as a new message.

Optional Attendees in Google Calendar

When I'm creating certain calendar events, there may be some people that I want to attend but it's not necessary that they do.  This happens a lot with me because a direct project team member and I may be meeting to discuss a certain portion of a project.  My supervisor may need to hear/want to hear what we're discussing during our meeting but it's not necessary that he/she attends.  

I can make my supervisor an 'optional attendee' to this meeting by clicking on the 'shaded icon' next to his/her name when adding them to the meeting invite.  This way, this person will get the calendar invite but they will be notified as 'optional attendee' and know that it is not mandatory they attend this meeting.

Sharing Collections and their Contents in Google Docs

As a member of the Change Management team, we send communications to users about to adopt Google Apps.  These documents are full of information like 'how to' / 'where to' / and what to expect.  Most of the time, I need to inform my fellow project team members and the point of contact at the company about these documents so they get a once over and approval so they can be sent to the end users.

Sometimes, there can be upwards of 15+ documents/communications that need to be sent out.  With Google Collections in Google Docs, I can share a single collection with the appropriate parties (that contain the specific documents) and select a certain viewing/editing rights.  These viewing/editing rights will reflect each document in the collection.  

This step saves me a lot of time because if this wasn't a feature, I would have to go in to each individual document and share it with the appropriate parties ... talk about time consuming!

These are just a few of the features that I use on a day to day basis.  I know there are MANY other features in the Google Apps platform that are useful ... let us know what you can't live without in the comments section below.  Also, give this post a +1 if you enjoyed it and want to share with others.

Happy Birthday to anyone else out there that is celebrating a birthday today!!!