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Gmail gets more advanced, should professionals use it exclusively?

Gmail was once used by professionals as an alternative email, a personal account, but as Gmail becomes more advanced, many pros are switching over to Gmail exclusively.

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Should professionals switch to Gmail? Maybe.

Gmail is a great tool for both companies and individuals, for both professional and personal use. Many professionals and companies use Google email service exclusively and many swear by it because it’s free, user-friendly, and has many great features for professionals. Even so, there is a stigma attached to businesses using Gmail instead of something specifically and solely built for professionals. And sometimes this can make professionals wary to make the switch. Those who refuse to give Gmail a chance for their professional needs are really missing out, and here’s why.

FeaturesOne of Gmail’s most recent features allows you to search for specific attachments based on the text in the document. You can search within PowerPoint, Word, and PDF attachments. Pretty much nothing is off limits now when it comes to an internal Gmail search. Other features include 2-step verification to better protect your information and emails and it allows you to video chat right from your inbox—not to mention all the compatible extensions, add-ons, and tools you can use to simplify and streamline your day.

Ease of Use – Gmail is easy to use and to understand. For the most part, it is user-friendly and business-friendly. If you or anyone in your company has a question about a feature, tool, or a function, there is an extensive, yet straightforward, help center that you can search through or you can even contact them directly.

Accessible – Unlike some business-specific email options, Gmail is highly accessible. Instead of having to remember the specific URL and company code and password to access your work email—assuming that you have access to it off of your work computer or work cell phone—using Gmail means you and your employees can log in from anywhere and from any device.

Free – It may not matter as much to larger companies that they have to pay for their email service. But for smaller businesses, every penny counts and every unnecessary expense has to be cut. Need some good news? Gmail is free. What better way to cut back on expenses than by making the switch to Gmail?

It’s true that when Gmail was first introduced, it wasn’t that impressive. But times have changed and Google has made some significant strides for its professional use. It has advanced so far, in fact, that some companies refuse to use anything else. You may not be converted to the Gmail clan yet, but with recent advancements and the promise of more to come, Gmail may be a viable option to fill and support your business needs.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. MattWilkins

    October 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Only thing I miss is read receipt but I just use Docusign if it’s an important document

    • AGBeat

      October 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

      @MattWilkins Hey Matt, I use Right Inbox has a Gmail extension that tracks and offers a read receipt (I totally use it): https://agbeat.com/tech-news/right-inbox-gmail-extension-tracks-when-emails-are-opened/

    • Roland Estrada

      October 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      @MattWilkins I think read receipts are an archaic Windows legacy that should rightly be “sent out to the country to live with grandma”. Frankly, if I want you to know I’ve read your email, I’ll let you know.

  2. raelt

    October 12, 2012 at 10:12 am

    @Marki_Lemons Good morning Puddin. I have not forgotten you. Trying to figure out my next week

    • TaiishaStewart

      October 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

      @raelt GM I’ve been checkin my twitter all morning waitin on u to awake from your beauty sleepit’s Friday I told my sis u hold nothin bk

      • raelt

        October 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

        @TaiishaStewart LOL. Awe Puddin xoxo

        • TaiishaStewart

          October 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

          @raelt have a blessed day!

    • Marki_Lemons

      October 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

      @raelt NP just let me know. I’m running to Indianapolis to teach a technology class on Thursday. Excited about what we can create for @WPMBC

  3. SamIngersoll

    October 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    There are many many more reasons to use “gmail” for business particularly if you understand the war that is going on between Google and Facebook to get you to use all of their systems for everything you do.
     
    Most ImportantlyIf you have any interest in SEO, using a Google Apps business account to establish and verify your Brand and personal Profile through Google+ and all it’s tools including Google Plus Local Business page – merged with Google Places page — is really a must-do.In AdditionThe apps offered are also much more sophisticated. For example, I can add someones contact info from an email directly into my MailChimp drip with one click from a tab at the bottom of the email. YesWare is a great one that can be adapted for real estate. Boomerang is nice too.. Rapportive….I could go on and on 🙂

  4. LawyersTitleOC

    October 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    @CENTURY21 @AGBeat If Gmail came out with a linked CRM program I think outlook would have a big run for its money

    • RealtorRoland

      October 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      @LawyersTitleOC If you’re on a Mac, Daylite has email linking. Outlook yuck!! Try Postbox.

  5. CarlinoRealty

    October 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    @CENTURY21 @agbeat

  6. hugorealtor

    October 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    @CENTURY21 @agbeat It hasn’t already. I use it exclusively and port my CENTURY 21 email for branding.

  7. Roland Estrada

    October 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I think unless you have some serious corporate needs, Gmail is just fine for real estate agents. Most people don’t give a rats behind what your .com address is. They just want to be able to get ahold of you. As matter fact with some of the names agents pick for their websites, they are probably better off. 
     
    If you throw in their superior spam protection it’s a no-brainer. I get almost no spam to my inbox and that is huge, huge deal for me.

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Tech News

This Zoom alternative offers a branded video meeting experience

(TECH NEWS) AirConnect is a conferencing portal that allows for company customization and automated onboarding so you can focus on other priorities.

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The concepts of company culture and branding are now more important than they’ve ever been. When we were first hearing these terms, they felt like buzzwords and ways to attract new talent and business without any actual execution.

Now that we have an understanding of what they are and how to use them, they are so much more practical and necessary – from big businesses to a one-person Etsy shop.

It’s been a little different in the last few months trying to figure out how to make company culture exude in the virtual world. For places that are hiring, it is also tricky to show how they differ from the rest over a video conference call.

The creators of AirConnect have taken this into account and have unleashed the virtual conference concept with an element of customization. As they say, “nothing beats a personal touch”.

Through use of this video conferencing tool, you can meet virtually with customers and clients in a brand video meeting portal. Customization options include headers, logo placement, and colors.

Additionally, the tool allows for customers to access their data via a customer portal, which allows for some automation when onboarding clients, assisting customers, or meeting with partners. AirConnect urges users to “say goodbye to Zoom links”.

“Let’s face it, nobody likes the where’s-the-link, what’s-the-password, can-you-hear-me-yet: and that includes your customers. Say hello to a single place where they can meet with you, as well as seeing all their account information, resources and anything else you like. Ah, that’s better, isn’t it?” explains the website.

The fully featured customer portal allows users to go beyond the simple zone of a place to talk. The ability to connect to sheets is where customers can access the aforementioned data.

The video call feature in the branded portal offers as many video touchpoints as the user would like; whether it’s used for on-boarding or standard consultations. The fact that customers can access their own data anytime allows users to put their time towards the high-value touchpoints.

On-boarding processes can also be automated by capturing customers’ information and documents in a single portal, making activation simple.

This certainly differentiates from Zoom or Skype as it has the customization option. What do you think – is it useful or flashy for the sake of flash?

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Tech News

Google Messages adds features to catch up to iMessage

(TECH NEWS) Google Messages just added a bunch of features (including a web version) to make the chat service feel a lot more like iMessage. Better late than never!

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From the way people talk about iMessage, you’d think Apple has the market cornered on instant messaging–and, if you have an Android, you’re pretty much out of luck. With some new additions to Google Chat in the last week, this may no longer be the case.

According to CNET, Google added a slew of features to the RCS Messaging–typically referred to as Google Chat–app, all of which should now be available directly within your Android’s Messages app (technological limitations for older devices notwithstanding). Among these features are reactions to messages and the ability to text from your computer.

CNET notes that you’ll have to use the Google Messages app–not your phone’s built-in chat app if it’s different–in order to access these features, though they also point out that Samsung is in the process of adding the RCS Messaging suite to their proprietary messaging app as well.

You do have to jump through a couple of hoops to ensure that you’re able to use these features in Google Messages, starting with making sure you’ve updated your phone to the latest operating system version. That’s just good life advice anyway, so double-check your phone’s settings for updates before you proceed.

Obviously, you’ll also need Google Messages installed on your phone as well. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store, and it should be compatible with most devices.

Once your phone is updated and Google Messages is installed, you can set Messages as your default texting app from within settings. This process will differ slightly depending on the Android model you have, but the easiest way to do this is by opening Google Messages after installing it, and then following the on-screen prompts to set it as your default texting app.

If you’ve ignored these prompts in the past and you don’t want to redownload the app, you can search your Android’s settings for “chat” or “text” to narrow down the possibilities for where the default texting app setting is hiding.

There is one last step you’ll need to accomplish before you can actually use Google Messages’ chat features, and that’s enabling the features themselves. Google Messages will usually prompt you to upgrade to these features once you start a conversation (this typically takes the form of a message asking if you want to see when your friends are typing), but you can also navigate to Google Message settings, elect to “turn Chat on”, and follow the ensuing prompts.

From here, you’re free to use Messages, much like you would iMessage; you can react to messages by long-pressing them, check and respond to messages from Google Messages on your computer, organize and view message history, and so on. If you’re someone who feels like you missed out on the iMessage craze–or you’ve recently switched from an iPhone to an Android–Google Messages should feel right at home on your phone.

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“Mine” helps you find your digital footprint and DELETE it

(TECH NEWS) Most people value their online security, but don’t know to manage their data without abandoning the apps and websites that they love. Mine is trying to change that.

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I’m pretty concerned with keeping my personal data safe these days: I recently got a VPN and I try to use a privacy browser for everything I do on the internet. But it’s impossible to completely avoid sharing my personal information, especially if I want to watch, buy, say, or do anything at all online.

So when I first heard about Mine, a new machine-learning tool which claims to be “the future of data ownership”, it really piqued my interest. 

Using your email history, Mine identifies companies that are most likely to be storing your information based on the headers of the messages in your inbox. Its AI then independently locates the privacy policies for these companies to determine what kinds of information they’re storing, rather than looking through the actual contents of your emails.

Mine seems very mindful of the fact that they must be trustworthy in order to be successful. It’s free right now while they’re still new; Mine only got started in January. But they have plans to introduce a subscription service in the future.

To quote their FAQ: “Tech companies that are not interested in your money are interested in your data, your online behavior, or other personal assets they can monetize. In other words, if an app is free, they’re probably getting their money from somewhere else 🙂 Our goal is the opposite – we want to make data ownership accessible for all without monetizing our users’ data.”

Of course, when I saw the smiley face, I figured I’d give it a shot. Hey, if they help me get my information out of the hands of a less smiley entity, everything evens out, right?

After sifting through my emails, Mine spat out a list of the places that were allegedly storing my information. I was pretty shocked to see around 100 different companies pop up. Some of them were there for obvious reasons. Google, for example, was self-explanatory… but there were also names that I could swear I’ve never heard of.

I ended up submitting over 50 data deletion requests. The tool made it really easy to see who had my information, and streamlined the process of sending requests to these companies. With two taps, it was bombs away.

My inbox was suddenly buried in automated messages, mostly about how “support” would get back to me “as soon as possible.” I spent the next few days virtually waist deep in what was, for all intents and purposes, spam mail.

The select few that promptly, and properly, addressed my request produced mixed results: only three companies immediately confirmed that they had erased the data they were storing about me. The rest were going to make me do a bit more legwork, with each having their own rabbit holes for me to jump through before they would delete a dang thing. I won’t lie, this frustrated me, but the reasons for these extra steps are not necessarily sinister.

When I spoke to Gal Ringel, co-founder and CEO of Mine, he shared that often, companies do this because they need to be provided with more information than an email address in order to fully complete the request. He says that Mine will soon be incorporating “enriched” data erasure requests that should cut back on the need to inconvenience users with these outside processes.

In the meantime, he and his team have been working with businesses to develop policies that facilitate the process of data erasure. The majority of businesses, he says, consider it a good investment in building trust with the public. It’s also a prudent move to prevent identity theft, should others gain access to their records.

So, what’s my verdict on Mine? It really simplified the process of asking companies to delete my personal information. It is an important step on a long journey towards redefining the relationships that we have with our data, since the majority of people simply don’t have an accessible way to exercise control over it.

Mine is still in development, and I really look forward to seeing what it becomes in the future. (Hopefully, something that involves fewer emails!)

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