A couple of weeks ago I wrote Evolving FirstBite to Google Apps. That post explained that in light of changing circumstances I’d decided to move my FirstBite website and email to Google Apps, picking up Google Docs and Google Calendar along the way.
I started small, by just moving the email. Google provide full instructions, and since it’s a for-pay service, you can also access proper support.
First I checked I had all my FirstBite email, tidied up my email accounts on the server, deleted rubbish and confirmed my backups. Next I went to my account at my domain registrar and changed the MX record according to Google’s instructions. Then I held my breath and sent a test email.
I’d expected a delay of perhaps hours, but the changeover was instant. On checking my FirstBite email through the Gmail account, there was my test message.
For the last two weeks I’ve been sending and receiving emails through Gmail, but as far as the world is concerned they are just ‘normal’ FirstBite emails.
I’ve done some configuring, some rearranging, and some thinking about email processes, as I have other email accounts that aren’t part of the move. One change was to set FirstBite as my default address for pretty much everything: reports from my blogs, mailing list subscriptions, admin alerts for things I’m in charge of. That leaves me with a second email address on a different domain to which I can forward messages if I wish.
I started by reading and deleting or archiving emails within Gmail, and then collecting what remained by POP into my email client for storing as a local copy. This didn’t work: unless I emptied Gmail’s Trash the messages would still be downloaded to my Mac. This just doubled the handling.
When you read online with Gmail the wonderful ‘conversations’ feature lets you know if there are any messages belonging to that conversation in the Trash. If you haven’t yet deleted the Trash you could still go back and refer to them. I didn’t want to delete the Trash all the time.
And since I was reading email from at least two different machines I needed to make good use of the webmail interface, but still I thought there would be some messages, such as software serial numbers, for example, that I also wanted to store locally.
I’m quite surprised too, to find that I actually quite enjoy handling email through the Gmail web interface. Now that I no longer work for CommunityNet Aotearoa I seldom need features that were once essential to me, such as stationery and redirecting messages, and I love not downloading attachments unless I really really need to. When someone sends me a spreadsheet, Word file, presentation, photo or PDF I either open it straight into Google Docs or view it as HTML. Plus, as a paying customer I get not 2 but 10 gigabytes of email storage!
Now I open Mulberry, my email client, about twice a week to collect email from another address. If have a message I want to store locally I forward it from my FirstBite Gmail account to that other account.
As far as email goes, I’m a total fan of this new Google Apps Gmail arrangement.