It has been a very interesting week for me and some of the techies in our group (seven of us total) who migrated to Google. There were several unexpected issues on the back-end, all of which were resolved, and all of which were very informative for the larger project. Although “guinea pig” has been used to describe our group this past week, “fish out of water” has seemed more apt at times!
What I Learned
- Items marked as “High Priority” status (red-envelope) or with the “Urgent” category in GroupWise migrate with a star in Google.
- Additionally, “High Priority” and “Urgent” items may also get marked as “Important” in Google (depending on the logic that Google has used).
- Other GroupWise users still have one or more entries for me in their GW Frequent Contacts. Those entries usually have the @gw.ncsu.edu version of my email address, and that version no longer works. And that can’t be changed globally. So each user has to manually remove those Frequent Contact entries, else that address will continue to automatically populate in the various email/calendar fields. We knew that the @gw.ncsu.edu address would be “broken” but had not really thought out the implication/fix for others. I had about a dozen different people contact me and say “I can’t email you.” I met in person with a couple of folks to help them remove all entries for me in their Freq Contacts; for others I send the canned response as noted in #1 in the next section.
What I Like
- Canned Responses. I’ve used this to attache the standard text I developed to notify folks of the problem with the Frequent Contacts problem noted in #3 above. (Assuming we truly do migrate everyone at once, this will only be an issue for other early migrators.)
- Popping out an email into a separate window.
What I Don’t Like (or Haven’t Figured Out Yet)
- It took me (and others) awhile to figure out that when you choose the “Delete” button at the top, the entire conversation gets deleted. Yikes! You can instead choose “Delete this message” from the drop-down that appears beside the “Reply” button to the right. We will need to educate others on this early on.
- When you send a message to a list, Google hides what you sent out because it thinks that you know what you wrote to the list. (In this case, I’m referring to a Majordomo list — not sure if same is true for other list services like Google Groups.) Wow, this is truly a big pain! I often will post to a list, then forward my post (the copy I received) to someone else with additional information…like updating my boss on a particular project or issue. The quasi-workaround: Enabling “ackpost” on all list subscriptions. It doesn’t show the actual post, but at least I receive a verification message that the post was delivered. (Tip o’ the Hat to Chris King for this.)
- How do you forward multiple messages at once?
- You can’t add labels on new email while it is being composed. (Work around: save as Draft, add labels, and then send.)
- You can’t expand the chat window. Oh, wait, you can pop it out! I like that.
- I miss having a “Mark as Unread” button. I used this in GroupWise a lot, because “Unread” items became my “to do” list, and I ran a filter to show me all “Unread” items. However, there as so many other ways to filter and view things in Google that I am already doing things differently on that front. But lots of GroupWise users will also wish for a quick way to mark as “Unread” — at least initially.
- I hate not being able to add my signature when I want; I’m one of those who only uses it when I’m corresponding with someone the first time, and so only use it infrequently. I find myself deleting it before I even compose a new message. I suppose that I could just create a canned message instead and use it that way, and turn off the signature in settings. (OK, just now figuring out that this is what Sarah Noell was trying to explain to me earlier!)
- Despite Google’s very powerful search capabilities, I still can’t find things sometimes. I mostly attribute this to my own learning curve. It sometimes takes me several different searches to find what I want, even though I *thought* I had clearly labeled items as such.
- I need a clear explanation of the differences between “Deleted” and “Trash.” I think that deleted items don’t show up in a search, but I have seen them before (I think Google prompted me to show them??). And when are they truly deleted-gone-forever?
- Generic Accounts
- Google Groups
- Global Resources
- The fabulous Web Provisioning Tool that will let me request/manage 1-3 above (kudos to Nick Young and Garrison Locke)
- Global Address Book
Bottom Line: In my mind, I set aside all the issues/questions/concerns noted above, since that is what being an early tester is all about — comes with the territory. Instead, I pretend that all those issues have either been mitigated or I have been educated on them in advance. Once it is all said and done, I love being in the Google environment.
Kudos: I’ll end with a really big shout-out to several NC State folks who worked diligently (and very quickly!) to resolve issues that popped up, and patiently responded to my many questions: Andrew Barnes, Tim Lowman, Lee Pipkin, and Chris King. All are part of the Office for Information Technology at NC State, and are part of our Google Implementation Team. We could not get this done without them, and they (and others) have been great to work with.