In my previous article, Setting up Google Apps for Your Domain, I introduced you to one of Google’s flagship services, Google Apps. Google Apps bundles a number of Google’s well-known collaborative services (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Chat) into one easily manageable package. You learned how to create your first Google Apps domain, verify your domain, and activate your email. Now that all the necessary services are activated, I will show you how to administer your Google Apps domain.
Before I can show you how to manage your Google Apps domain, you need to login to the control panel first. You can login to it two different ways:
1. Go to https://www.gmail.com and login with the username you created. Make sure you include your domain when entering your username (firstname.lastname@example.org). Once you have successfully logged in, click the Manage this domain link on the top-right section of the screen.
You will only be required to enter your username (not your entire email address) because Google captures this information from the control panel URL.
Once logged in to the control panel, you will be first directed to the Dashboard. Here is a quick reakdown of all the available elements on the dashboard:
Quick links to access your Google Apps services for Gmail, Calendar, support, and to sign out.
This is the control panel’s main menu. You will be able to administer all of the enabled Google services as well as various user and security settings.
This is a simple chart that displays your domains current log on activity.
This provides quick and easy access to the Google Apps Marketplace where you can install third-party applications which integrate with your Google Apps account.
This section provides quick access to all of your enabled Google services. Status messages will appear next to the application names during certain administrative tasks.
Now you will explore the rest of the control panel starting with Organization and Users.
Organization & Users
While Google Apps can be used with a single, stand-alone user, it is primarily designed to manage users and groups of users. To begin managing users, click the Organization & users link on the main menu.
From here, you can manage three levels of user access and functionality.
Organizations (Business, Government, and Education editions only).
Organizations: Google Apps allows you to designate users into specific groups. From here, you can control which services the user will be able to access (Gmail, Calendar, Chat, YouTube, etc.). This grouping does not necessarily have to mimic your current organization’s structure. You could create groups for receptionists, accountants, sales, etc., or you could simply create groups for power users, email-only, documents-only, etc. There is no right or wrong way to setup the organizational structure of your users.
Users: If you want to add more people to your Google Apps account, you will create them as users. These users will use the same domain name for their email addresses. You can also control which services individual users will have access to without having to create an organization. Keep in mind when using the free version of Google Apps, you will be limited to 50 users. If you want more users, you will need to upgrade to the Business edition of Google Apps.
Services: Google Apps bundles its core set of collaborative applications (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Chat, etc.) with the entire array of Google services (Picasa, YouTube, Blogger, AdSense, Maps, etc.). You can enable or disable specific services for your domain, and these selections will affect all users in your domain. In other words, disabling Google Calendar will disable it from every user in your domain, even if you specifically allowed it for specific users.
TIP: Even though you have the ability to control the services your users have access to, it does not prevent them from using the service with their personal Google Account.
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