Synergyse: Google Apps Training for Small Business Users

Synergyse Google Apps training for businessGoogle Apps for Business is quickly becoming a viable alternative to standard email and IT solutions, especially for small businesses looking to move more of their workflow to the cloud. But for many people it can be tough to transition to a new way of working, especially if they’re deeply familiar with older programs like Microsoft Word and Outlook. New startup Synergese aims to take the pain out of transitioning (and lighten the IT burden) by providing real-time Google Apps training right inside the browser window. Synergese’s CTO Majid Manzarpour worked at Google training users in Apps, and two other founders are also ex-Googlers, so they’re approaching the businesses with expertise and experience in training.

As of now, Synergyse is offering training in Gmail, Google Calendar and Drive, the three building blocks of scheduling and document sharing within the Google ecosystem. Unlike a more traditional video tutorial, lessons take place inside the browser, allowing you to learn by interacting with program you’re looking to learn. It’s a more intuitive and interactive approach that allows quicker learning, but lessons are scheduled at your own pace, so there’s no rush.

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Turn by Turn Navigation and Real Time Traffic comes to iPhone with New Maps App!

Apple Maps for iOS6

While Google Maps has provided GPS-esque turn-by-turn navigation on Android for free for quite some time, iPhone users have been left in the dark. But with iOS 6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, Google is being kicked out of the Maps app, and Apple is taking over with their own technology that provides many of the features iPhone users have been clamoring for, including navigation.

But that’s not all! Real-time traffic analysis and crowd-sourced traffic data comes into play as well. This means that not only can you get ultra-reliable traffic data built into your navigation, but the app can automatically calculate faster routes based on actual and up-to-the-minute traffic conditions and ask you if you’d like to take a different route. It even automatically calculates how much time you’d save!

The final feature of the upgraded maps shows you 3D views of major cities in stunning detail. While this doesn’t have a business purpose I can think of, I can’t wait to play around with these new maps :)

Apple Maps for iOS6 3D Screenshot


Livescribe Echo Smartpen is the coolest business tool

For the last week I’ve been using a Livescibe Echo smartpen, and I flat-out love it.  When Livescribe gave me their 8gb version to demo, I have to admit I was dubious at first; I spend a lot of time banging away on a keyboard, and I was pretty sure that the pen and the pad were going the way of the dodo.  Man, was I wrong.

First, the basics: the Echo smartpen digitally captures your handwritten and audio notes, the combination of which is a ‘pencast’.  Basically, when you tap the “record” area of the specially printed paper, everything that you write (and the sounds associated with it) are recorded.  You can transfer files from the pen and share your recorded notes with others, and you can also tap any section of your notes and hear what was recorded when you were writing the note.  Livescribe makes it incredibly easy to share your pencasts with others as it automatically hooks up to your email, Google Docs, Evernote, Facebook, Mobile (iPhone and iPad) and/or MyLivescribe (an online storage space for pencasts). Read More and GoogleApps – Complete Online Content Management

On the online content sharing/collaboration side, was one of the first cloud services that everyday consumers could use. Its services still make online collaboration a viable option for small business owners looking to move to the cloud. On the “everything else” side, there isn’t a bigger name than Google and its popular GoogleApps services that gives users access to online document editing, calendar and email organization, and more.

Add them together and you get the ability to move your entire business/IT structure to the cloud. Now with GoogleApps document editing integration into functionality, now you can stay in one application from start-to-finish content creation, collaboration, and management. You can upload and share files amongst colleagues and clients, edit documents with version control, and synchronize documents across most of your devices. No need to switch between for collaboration and sharing, Google Docs for document editing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for time management. It can all be done in the platform. also gives users mobile access so you can access, share and collaborate on files anywhere. Share folders in a tap, exchange feedback or save files for offline access. apps are available for iPhone, iPad, Android and via the mobile site.

A regular subscription of one user is free, but to take advantage of the new Google Apps integration and add up to three users on one account, it will cost you $15 per month. Both services on their own are ideal for any small business owner looking to use their time and resources more efficiently. Together, well, don’t take my word for it, visit and sign up for a free trial and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Google Sites Adds Automatic Mobile Rendering


Using the uber-powerful Google Apps service, small business owners can manage email, contacts, calendars, documents, and add-on additional business management tools/apps/services that can essentially handle ALL of your business needs. One service that may be under-valued is the ability to create a full-blown website for your business in a matter of minutes (maybe just a tad longer) using Google Sites. Maybe the addition of automatic mobile rendering of Google Sites may entice more small biz owners to create a Google site and also knock-out your site’s ability to be visually appealing on mobile devices in one fell swoop.

As fast as it takes users to create a Google site, it is as equally as fast to make your site mobile. A new option in the general settings named “Automatically adjust site for mobile phones” adjusts your site on the fly whenever it’s viewed by Apple  (OS 3.0+) and Android (OS 2.2+) devices.


Activate the above option, and several portions of your site (header, site width, sidebars, etc.) will be formatted to look all nice on iPhones and Androids. Additional modifications you can make include hiding or enabling “View Site as Desktop” option, “Sign-in” or “Print Page” link. You can view your changes and tweak them on the go as well by visiting from any iOS or Android device.

Now with the new Google Sites mobile rendering feature, there is NO EXCUSE for your business, no matter how small, to NOT have 1) A website 2) a mobile-friendly website.

WriteThat.Name App Helps You Keep Your Contact List in Check

You can almost bet that when people change their email address, phone number, or other pertinent contact information, they may not send out a mass email to EVERYONE in their contact list instructing them to update the changes, but you better believe they update their outgoing email signature. An email signature (if done correctly) should tell the recipient of the message everything they need to know to get in contact with you to respond to your message, in addition to leaving your mark/brand on every piece of information that leaves your possession.

On the other hand, your contact list may not reflect the most recent contact information about the people you correspond with and if left unchecked for too long, can leave you scratching your head when it comes to retrieving that important phone number, email, or web address LONG after the emails have stopped and been purged from your inbox. That’s where this cool little web app called WriteThat.Name comes in and checks your contact list’s information against the information found in a correspondent’s email signature.

It works like this – Every time you receive an email from a person, WriteThat.Name checks their email signature for contact information can compares it against the information you have in your contact list (That is, if you bothered to add them to your contact list in the first place). Once you sign up, login and connect your email account, you’re ready to allow the service to check your email messages. WriteThat.Name currently only works with Gmail or Google Apps contact lists.

The service is pretty simple and the only major setting you have to adjust is whether or not to allow WriteThat.Name automatically change your contact list as soon as it finds a conflict, or to notify you if there is a change. If you choose to turn off the Auto-update, you will have to manually make the changes yourself. I say if your contact list is already out of whack, why not let WriteThat.Name have a crack at it?

The service is free for the first month, after that you have the choice of getting billed $3 monthly, or opting for a discount and getting billing out of way yearly for $20. Drop us a line in the comments section if you would pay for a service like this, or if you’re as anal-retentive like me, and keep your contact’s list lean and mean?

Google Apps Scheduled to Drop Older Browser Support

If you’re a small business, you should definitely look into Google Apps for your one-stop-shop of online services to support your business. Most of the services are free, and you can access your apps from any device connected to the web.

But take note, if you’ve decided to go with Google Apps for your business, be aware that the cloud service will be dropping support for older web browsers. Those specifically mentioned include Firefox 3.5, IE7 and Safari 3. Google’s Vice President of Engineering, Venkat Panchapakesan stated:

Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience…In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites…

Google Apps is looking towards the future in favor quicker browsers that fully support HTML5. What’s the cutoff date you ask? You have until August 1st to upgrade your web browser or “Eventually these apps may stop working entirely.” The good news for you is that web browsers are free, so it’s just a matter of if your laptop can handle a browser upgrade. The latest browsers really improve your experience on the web, so what are you waiting for? Grab the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Google’s Chrome today!

Google Apps Adds More Services To Expand Its Reach

Starting today, Google Apps administrators can enable the complete array of Google services, including Google Voice, Reader, Maps and more. Before, Google Apps users were could only use Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and GTalk/chat. Now that Google has added these additional services, you can sign in to services using your Google Apps account, and not have to use your basic Google account (yes, they’re different).

This also means that if you belong to an team, organization, or company that uses Google Apps, admins can customize and even brand how team members/employees see and use Google Apps. Admins for example can control what group uses what services. Drivers can be restricted to Google Maps for directions, writers and bloggers can be given access to Blogger & Reader. Everybody in the office can now have their own Google Voice number, et cetera.

I just posted yesterday how Google is making documents editable on the go. Now this story about Google making more services available for even more users. from Android smartphones to Google TV, to Google Fiber – you name it, Google has it. Looks like Google is positioning itself to be Skynet a one-stop shop for all your personal, entertainment, and business, needs.

Google Apps for Total Cloud Business Management

Think Google Apps is just free cloud storage for your documents and a free domain email account? Think again. The Google Apps Marketplace has an entire suite of web services, apps, and tools to get your business off of your laptop and into the cloud for greater accessibility, flexibility, and mobility. The icing on the cake is no matter what app/service you choose, all are accessible through your Google Apps domain. So you and/or everyone on your team can access to your tools, no matter where they are.

From accounting & finance, to document & project management, to backup & archiving services…you name it, the Google Apps Marketplace has a solution. Similar to Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, Google Apps Marketplace has the web app/service for your business. You can search the marketplace by product, or take a look at “Tops”, “Featured” and “Popular and Notable” apps to see what everybody else is adding to their Google Apps domain.

Google does actually develop a large number of the apps available in the marketplace, but also enlists the help of 3rd-Party developers to make the marketplace more robust. Developers pay a $100 one-time fee to list their applications in the market place, and Google takes a 20 percent cut of all applications sold through the store.

Which brings me to costs for customers – A Google Apps basic account is free (provided you already have a www.[insertyourbusinessnamehere].com domain). A premier edition will run your $50 bucks a year that adds a ton of extra features. The rest is picking and choosing what apps/services work best for your business. There are of course some very nice free apps, but if you’re ready to play some serious [cloud-computing] ball, I have seen solid apps in the marketplace for as 20 bucks (one-time fee), and 5 bucks a month for recurring payment plans.

If you and your business is ready to get organized and get “techie” by moving into the cloud, look to a familiar brand in Google to help your business take advantage of a myriad of business tools that can ensure your ability to stay on top of your operations no matter where you are; I suggest you get a Google Apps account and take a look at what your business can do with the apps, services, and tools in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Google Announces Voice Actions app for Android Phones

How about this for mobile productivity – The ability to send voice commands to your Android mobile device to handle most, if not all, of your everyday mobile device tasks.

Think your mobile tasks you execute by flipping through menus and widgets, typing text, etc. Previous voice commands have been lackluster in their ability to transfer your voice prompts into actual output that your device recognizes. But leave it to Google to attempt to create an app that conquers the voice command void.

With the new (and free) Voice Actions for Android app Google announced yesterday, users can now execute a myriad of tasks via voice commands similar to Google Search and Map voice command function. I currently use the voice search function for my Google maps app on my BlackBerry and it works pretty well. So I can only imagine the quality and functionality Google has planned for other mobile device functions. Below is a list of the type of functions (and how you execute them) you can do with the new Voice Actions app:

– send text to [contact] [message]
– listen to [artist/song/album]
– call [business]
– call [contact]
– send email to [contact] [message]
– go to [website]
– note to self [note]
– navigate to [location/business name]
– directions to [location/business name]
– map of [location]

How it works is simple – Say “Listen to Stevie Wonder” (one guess as to who my fav. artist is) and the phone will pull up all your music apps to select and start playing Stevie. As you can see, the voice prompt isn’t all that complicated to learn, so it’s up to the app to recognize your voice prompt and translate that into a device function, which like I stated, works pretty well already with the Google search and maps voice command feature.

Sounds pretty cool right? Only one catch, the Voice Actions app only works with Android 2.2 (Froyo), which is only available on the original Motorola Droid, Droid 2 (that went on Sale yesterday), and the HTC Evo…oh and the Nexus One as well.

So if you plan on getting an Android phone, and like the ability to execute tasks via voice prompt, make sure to get a phone with “Froyo” on it (or wait for the download that is sure to come on some of the other Android phones at a later date) and download Voice Actions for Android.