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Think big tech and I bet Google comes to mind. They control our mailboxes, calendars, document storage, cloud storage, routes, and more. Most of their products are free to use, which means you are the product they are selling.
We put up with Google tracking because these services are free and incredibly easy to use. Hey, if you’re in the Google ecosystem, you might as well get the most out of it. Here are five ways to do it.
1. The solution to your overflowing inbox
One of the best privacy features built right into Gmail is spam protection. I’m not talking about the junk folder. This tip is even better.
You can create a new email address called an alias without any special settings. All you have to do is add a plus sign and a word after your username to your email address, for example: “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A convenient use is to bind recurring subscription services to a single alias, for example: “email@example.com.” You can use this technique for email newsletters, correspondence with friends, information about neighborhood associations, or anything else you can think of.
Pro tip: It’s also a great way to find out if a company is selling or giving away your email address. If you notice a message that you didn’t subscribe to, see which of your email addresses it went to.
Go on: To make aliases really useful, you need to filter them in the designated places in your inbox. Tap or click here and scroll to #2 for instructions.
2. Share your emails without revealing your password
No need share your email password with anyone. Point. But you can share mailbox with someone In certain situations it works very well.
Let’s say you run a small business and want multiple people to have access to your support email. Or maybe someone in your family is sick or simply getting older and needs help managing their email. They can share their mailbox with you.
To add a delegate:
Open Gmail on your computer and click Settings > See all settings > Accounts and imports or Account > Add another account.
Enter your delegate’s email address and click The next step > To grant access, please send an email.
When you give someone access to your Gmail account, they can sort emails using filters, archive emails, and use shortcuts to organize emails. They can also send, read and delete email messages.
Pro tip: Another good use of mailbox sharing is if you have a home email address that you send all your bills to. Share this with your husband. Click or click for a reason everyone should have their own email address.
Go on: Checking multiple different email accounts can be difficult. Click or click here to learn how to forward all your mail to one place.
3. This Google shortcut saves so much time
Creating a new invitation in Google Calendar takes time. You have to open your calendar and click a few buttons. There is a much easier way: “cal. new.” Seriously, try typing that into yours browser URL string without quotation marks. Just make sure you’re signed in to your Google account.
A new invite will magically appear in your calendar, ready to be filled.
It also works with many other Google services. You can open a Google Doc by typing “doc. new” or a Google Keep reminder by typing “note. new.”
You can use any of the following shortcuts for each application:
Google Docs: document.new, docs.new, doc.new
Google Sheets: spreadsheet.new, sheets.new, sheet.new
Google Slides: presentation.new, slides.new, slide.new
Google Forms: forms.new, form.new
Google Keep: keep.new, notes.new, note.new
Google Calendar: meeting.new, cal.new
Google Meeting: meet.new
Pro tip: One of the easiest ways to organize your Google Drive folders is to color code them, which is surprisingly easy. Open Google Drive and right-click the folder you want to change. Click Change Color and select the color you want to use. Ready.
Go on: Hotkeys will save a lot of time. Tap or click for seven of my favorites, including Ctrl + shift + V.
4. See everywhere you’ve been with Google Maps
Google Maps makes it easy to get around, but you might not like the harsh reality of seeing every place you’ve marked on the map. Here’s how to check your location history:
After signing in to your Google Account on your computer, open maps.google.com.
Click on hamburger menu in the upper left corner.
When the full side menu is open, tap Your timeline. A full map of where you have been will open.
Data about the places you have visited can also be called up by opening the side menu by clicking on Your placesand then pressing Visited.
Pro tip: You can prevent certain trips from being recorded in your search history by turning on incognito mode. Google Maps will not save your search history or update your location history to include this location. Tap or click here to follow the simple steps to enable it.
Go on: You can turn off location history entirely if you don’t like it. Click or click here to do so. It will only take a minute.
5. Work offline (but you have to set it up beforehand)
There’s nothing better than getting to work on the road and realizing you don’t have internet. The good news is that you can read, reply to, and search your Gmail inbox even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
note: There won’t actually be any emails sent until you reconnect, and you won’t receive new emails until you reconnect to the Internet. Think of it as putting all your answers in a queue.
Open Gmailthen click Settings screw. Choose See all settings.
Click the tab labeled In offline modeand check the box to enable offline mail.
Pro tip: You can schedule emails to be sent exactly when you want. Tap or click here and scroll to #8 to learn how to make a schedule. It’s easy. I use this all the time.
Go on: You can also work in Google Drive offline. Get the steps here. Make sure you set this up earlier you need it.
Continue your technical knowledge
My popular podcast is called “Kim Team today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech callers just like you from around the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, follow the link below to watch a recent episode.
PODCAST SELECTION: GPS survival advice, sign digital documents, update Google Photos
In this episode, Google updates Photos with a redesigned Memories and a new collage editor, use your photos to make a virtual outfit at Walmart, the new Keurig smart brewer makes a staggering amount of coffee, and how to get your real signature on digital documents. Also, a rescue helicopter nearly dropped a stranded man by mistaking it call disaster.
Find my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Just search for my last name “Komando”.
What questions do you have about the digital lifestyle? Call Kim’s National Radio and click or click here to find it on your local radio station.
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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Command Show, the nation’s largest weekend talk show. Kim takes calls and offers advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data breaches.
For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.