Google – Alternate email link

When you created your Google account you supplied an alternate email account. This account can be used for account recovery and various other tasks. One vary important task an alternative email address serves is a method for others to share items with you. Google alerts you to various things based on your email account, and sometimes you want different items delivered to different locations based on who’s sharing.

To illustrate my point I’ll explain my own convoluted way of using Google Docs. Google Docs is Google’s online word processing software, and I use it for almost everything including this post. I use it for reviewing my children’s homework assignments, requests from clients, and documents from my staff at work. While I could have alerts for all these documents sent to a single account, I prefer to have alerts from my children sent to my MSN account, alerts from clients to Gmail, and work related documents sent to my work email address. To accomplish this, I set up my MSN and Ohio Society email accounts as alternative email accounts linked to my Google account.

While I’m signed into Google, I click my name and select Account Settings.

Then I find the Email addresses and usernames section.


Now I just click edit and enter the email address I’d like to link to my account.

Adding these additional accounts allows me to sign into my google account using any of these addresses as my username. It also allows users to share content with me using any of these email addresses. So co-workers share documents with my @ohio-cpa.com account and I’m alerted via my work account and I can access the documents from my work inbox. Clients on the other hand communicate with me via my @gmail.com account and I access those documents from that inbox. It allows people to share with me the way they’re used to communicating with me, while allowing me to separate parts of my life as I see fit. The best part? My documents are still located in one centralized location.

Granted this might not make sense now, but the ability to link email addresses is great and often overlooked. It gives you the ability to begin using and collaborating without the need to re-educate others on how to communicate with you.

Have problems linking accounts, or other uses for linked accounts? Let us know by commenting below.

Google – Create Account

While most people just assume that everybody has a Google Account, that may not be true for all. So, just in case, we’re going to go back to the basics and ask those who haven’t created an account to visit https://accounts.google.com/signup to get started.

If your primary interaction with Google has always been search, you might be surprised by the massive volume of features and applications this single account will have access to. Just by completing this one step you’ve created accounts for Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and several other services. What’s even more impressive is this account can be linked to several other sites for authentication.

It is for this reason that I strongly recommend you consider making this password rather strong. The power of your Google account quickly grows as it’s used. For ideas on how to create a strong password see my post on creating strong passwords.

Once you’ve created your account, sign in at www.google.com.

Google – Make It Happen

Perhaps you’ve seen the Google “Make it Happen” commercial? If not, let me give you a quick glimpse so we’re all on the same page.

Google has a whole series of these inspiring ads under the umbrella of “The Web Is What You Make Of It.” What I find most interesting is that they aren’t hyping anything. Everything they say is true, everything they show is real, and all of the “magic” is today’s product. What they can’t do in a 30 second clip is help people learn how to use all of this great technology, and that’s great news for us here at TechieBytes.

One of the hardest parts of having a blog is finding stuff to write about that people will actually want to read about. (Well, the first part is actually easy. It’s the second part that is a bit harder.) So now we have the ability to start a series of content that will help our readers begin doing all the cool stuff they see in the Google commercials.

Now I understand everyone will have different skills, some of the content might be below your level, and other content might be over your head. Either way, feel free to participate by asking questions or helping others in the comment boxes located on every page. Also understand that I’m not going to recreate the wheel for every post. I will be reusing quality content when appropriate, and I welcome guest bloggers if they are experts in a specific Google product.

All posts that are part of this series will be tagged with Google as a keyword, and will be linked back to this initial post to make items easier to find.

Do you have a specific feature you would like to see covered? Drop me a note below and let’s get started.

Dealing with a lost mobile device

Smartphones and tablets are powerful tools allowing us instant connectivity to nearly all of our personal and professional data. In the right hands they make for a great business tool, but what happens when they disappear? We’ve seen the stories of people tracking down lost devices. We may even revel in the idea of being an Internet PI but in reality, if our device is lost or stolen our first priority is to protect the data.

Step one is to have a screen lock turned on. To help you complete this step, our post on creating strong mobile device passwords will help. This will slow down any would be snoopers who may have found, or stolen your phone.

Next have the ability to locate and wipe your phone. For this to be successful, it’s critical that you go about setting this up before your phone is lost (if you’re on Android, see below). Once you’ve lost control of the device it’s too late, and unlike cell phones of yesteryear, calling your cellular provider does nothing to protect you. Depending on your device, the set-up and use of the locate and wipe features differ.

Windows Phone:

Setup – During your phone setup you were asked for a Windows Live ID to create a Windows Phone account. When you did this, it automatically registered your phone and enabled locate and wipe capabilities. If you want to check or modify these settings on your phone, visit settings – system – find my phone.

Use – Visit www.windowsphone.com and login with your Windows Live ID and select the My Phone option. Your device will be listed in the left column with a location map and options for erasing the data.

iOS Devices:

Unfortunately Apple keeps moving this feature within the OS, in versions prior to iOS 5 the feature was located under MobileMe. It’s now part of iCloud.

Setup – During your iPhone setup you will be asked to enter or create your Apple ID. You will then be asked if you would like to use iCloud. If you choose to use iCloud, you will be prompted with several options. The very last one on the list will be Find My iPhone. Turn this on and the location and wipe services will be enabled. If you would like to edit or enable this after the set-up process select Settings – iCloud, to access the same set of services.

Use – Visit www.icloud.com and login with your Apple ID and select the Find My iPhone icon. Select your device to see it on the map, and then select the information icon to see the option for remote wipe. You can also download a free Find My iPhone app in the App Store if you carry multiple mobile devices and wish to find one from the other.

Android:

While the Android system has the ability to remotely find and lock/wipe your phone for you, unless you’re on a Google Apps account (in which case your administrator will have this ability via Google’s website), you’ll have to do a little bit of work with third-party apps.

Setup – There are several options, but here are some of the most popular:

  • Lookout Security & Antivirus: Just download the app and follow its on-screen directions to create an account and set up security settings. Lookout provides free antivirus, app anti-malware scans, contact backup and restores, and remote device location (including the ability to activate an alarm on the phone) via www.myLookout.com. For an additional fee ($29.99/year or $2.99/month), you’ll get browser and text message phishing/malware protection, remote lock and wipe, app privacy advisor, and photo and call history backup and restore.
  • Where’s My Droid: Download and setup is simple here as well: Just download, run, and follow the directions. With Where’s My Droid, you get device location, remote ring/vibrate, passcode protection, notifications of changes to SIM card/phone number, and a few similar features, and they can be activated via its website, www.WheresMyDroid.com, or stealth (hidden) text message. For an additional $3.99, you gain the ability to remotely lock the device, wipe the phone and the SD card, activate it via a landline, and customize the “lost” ringtone.
  • Plan B: Made by the creators of Lookout, Plan B is a free one trick pony that leverages Google’s feature to install apps via the Market website. Setup is simple: log into market.android.com with your Google account, click the button to make Plan B install to your phone remotely, and when the app launches, it will email you the phone’s GPS location.

Use – As every app is different, follow the directions on setup. Most apps function similarly, though, asking you to create an account when you install it, and providing you a website to manage your device after it’s lost.

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