Red Duck Studios

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Google AdWords Interface Beta Announced

Today Google announced on the Adwords blog that they will be accepting new people into the beta to test the new AdWords Interface. If you work in AdWords a lot like i do you know this updated interface is a long time coming. I manage a few large accounts with thousands of keywords and struggle with the current AdWords interface on a daily basis. Its just to slow and unintuitive.

The new interface however is packed full of helpful AJAX features to reduce page loads and increase productivity. In line editing is enabled for almost every element on every page. Graphs have been added to track the performance of your campaigns from inside AdWords. No more switching to Analytics to see how your campaigns have been doing, its all built in to AdWords now.

You can sign up for the beta and check out some interesting video's at the New Adwords Interface site. It's unclear at this time if managers using the My Client Center (MCC) will be able to take part in the beta. I signed up using both a managed and un-managed account to find out. Once I have been accepted I will do a better review of the new features in the beta.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gmail Labs: 10 Features You Can't Live Without

Late last year when Gmail Labs was enabled for hosted domains the great email debate ended for me. The features available with Labs transform Gmail from an already amazing email client into a highly productive and free alternative to Outlook. Here are my 10 favorite Gmail Labs features in no particular order. To enable these features in your gmail look for the labs link in the top right corner.

  1. Offline - Allows you to access your mail when offline. Great for those times when your flying or on the road. Requires Google Gears.
  2. Tasks - Adds an easy to use but highly productive to-do list to Gmail. My favorite part of this is that you can create tasks from an email message. When viewing a message go to "More actions -> Add to Tasks". This will add a task with a "related email" link that will take you back to the message. I use this as I'm reading my mail each morning to flag messages I need to come back and respond to later in the day.
  3. Superstars - Add additional star icons to gmail.
  4. Signature Tweaks - Moves your signature to before the quoted text when you reply to a message.
  5. Canned Responses - Create templates for common emails you sent out.
  6. Default 'Reply to all' - Another favorite of mine. Replaces the default "reply" button with "reply to all". Never forget to reply all again!
  7. Forgotten Attachment Detector - We have all done it. Typed up a long email and hit send without attaching the files. This feature will alert you of this when you hit send as long as you mention something related to attachment's in the body of the message.
  8. Send & Archive - This is a great time saver for those that respond to a lot of mail. Sends your mail and then archives the conversation with 1 click.
  9. Undo Send - Stop a message from sending. This feature will give you a 5 second window to cancel that embarrassing email you regretted as soon as you hit send.
  10. Vacation Time! - Set a start and end time for your vacation responder.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Import/Export your filters in Gmail

This is a great new feature just announced on the Gmail blog. It is good news for me seeing as I have been using Gmail exclusively for email for as long as I can remember and my list of filters is pretty long. I had always wondered what i would do if I lost my filters and had to look at all my mail in my Inbox. Good to know i have a backup now should that ever happen.

There is more we can do with this feature though other then create a backup. If your organization uses mailing lists for incoming mail you can now create sets of filters for each list and share them among your users. Now everyone can have the same filters and labels setup across your business. This should make training new users much easier for those wise enough to be using Gmail in their office. Of course this assumes your lucky enough to already be using Gmail and in your office and not Outlook like most people.

Once you have enabled Import / Export in your Gmail labs settings page navigate to Settings then Filters. Next use the check boxes to select the filters related to the mailing list then click export at the bottom of the page. Now save the file and send it to the other people that are on the list (or just send it to the list!). They can now import your filters into their Gmail account and will have the same setup as you.

It may seem like a small feature, but its importance from an IT management perspective is great. This is leverage for all those out there trying to convince the higher ups to switch to Gmail/Google Docs over Office. It will allow you to lower your setup times for new users and make training them much easier. How could they argue with that?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Old Book, New Rules, Still Relevant.

Keven Kelly has been releasing his now classic book New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World in blog form for the past month or so now to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of its initial publishing. For anyone who has not had the chance to read it you should check it out. Its very interesting to see how the things he talked about in the book 10 years ago came true in a big way.

He's still on chapter 1 and makes 2 posts a week so grab the feed and you can get caught up.