Customize Google Apps Links For Your Domain

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Google resolved the Chrome installation issue (inability to make a system-wide installation) with

Google Pack

Google Pack

Google Pack. Administrators are now able to deploy Chrome to all user accounts. Also included in the package are other free Google products like Google Talk, Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Earth, etc. Firefox, Skype, and Adobe Reader are some of the third-party apps bundled. Three applications from Google Apps are also included – GMail, Docs, and Calendar.

After I installed Google Pack and the needed apps, I found out that the Google Apps shortcuts don’t work with Google Apps accounts. GMail opens “mail.google.com“, Google Calendar opens “calendar.google.com” and Docs opens “docs.google.com“. If you have a Google Apps account for your domain, this setup would be useless since the links don’t redirect to your account. However, Google has a workaround for this issue. We just customize the apps shortcuts using Chrome and point them to your Google Apps domain. Right click on the shortcut and select Properties. Replace the Target field with the Chrome path and your Google Apps URL. Here’s what I did on our Apps shortcut:

GMail“C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=”http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com”

Docs“C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=”http://docs.google.com/a/yourdomain.com”

Calendar“C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –app=”http://www.google.com/calendar/hosted/yourdomain.com”

Don’t forget to include the quotes.

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Drag & Drop To Attach

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GMail has added the drag and drop way to attach files to email messages. If you have  your folder containing the files to be attached open, select the files and drag them to the Compose page’s Subject area. Below is a screenshot of the process.

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop

This definitely saves time as oppose to the old fashion way of browsing through your folders to locate the files to be attached. But according to their blog, only Google Chrome and Firefox 3.6 supports this feature as of now. Other browsers will be supported in the future.

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Searching with Firefox

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One of Google Chrome’s feature is to use its address bar as a Google search bar. If you type a search phrase and hit

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

Enter, you will be given Google search results. Mozilla Firefox also offers this feature with some tweaks on the browser.

Initially, when you type a search phrase/keyword on the Firefox address bar it would give you an I’m Feeling Lucky Google search result. This means that you’re directed to a website which comes from the top or the number one result of a Google search. But we don’t want that. We just want a regular search result. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open up Firefox.
2. On the address bar, type “about:config” (without the quotes). If you’re presented with a page that says that doing something there might void your warranty, just click the I’ll be careful, I promise button.
3. Type keyword.URL into the Filter textbox.
4. If you’re able to find the keyword.URL string, right-click it and select Modify.
5. Replace the string value with “http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=” (without the quotes) and click OK. Restart Firefox to make sure the change will take place.

Try doing a search on the Firefox address bar. You should be given a Google search results page. By the way, this only works when you’re not behind a proxy server.

What if you use Yahoo! for search? Or Wikipedia? You may also replace the string’s value with Yahoo or Wikipedia’s own search links. But, what if we want to have all those searches done using the address bar? Not just for Google, or Yahoo, or Wikipedia. This is where Smart Keywords search comes in.

Smart Keywords make searching certain websites from the address bar easier. You just type a keyword assigned to a website followed by a search phrase/keyword and you’ll be given a result from the website. You don’t even have to open the website. Just type it in the address bar. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the website that you use for search.
2. Right click its search field and select “Add a Keyword for this Search…“.
3. Give it a name and then a keyword. Make sure your keyword is easy to remember.
4. Click Add.

Open a new Firefox browser. On the address bar, type in the keyword you created and then a search phrase and press enter. And, that’s it! You may use this feature on any searches you use like Wikipedia, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, YouTube, etc. Just follow the same steps.

And this is one of the many reasons why I use Firefox. 🙂

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