Fully Integrating Google Apps for your Domain

Having two email accounts can be a pain. I’ve been using my GMail account for a long time, but I like the niceness of my ottodestruct.com domain better. It’s cleaner, overall. A bit more professional as well.

I also use Firefox with the Google Toolbar. One of the nice things about it is the little GMail icon that checks your GMail every 10 minutes or so, and shows if you have new messages. It also lets you search your email right from the toolbar. Very handy.

However, I also use Google Apps for your Domain for my email. This basically makes all my ottodestruct.com email go through Google and their GMail interface. The Google Toolbar doesn’t work too well with that.

So I got bored and fixed all that. How to do it can be found after the jump…

First, you need to create a Google Account using your Google Apps email address. If, like me, you have both a GMail account and a Google Apps account, then they’re probably not linked together and you’re using your GMail account as your main “Google Account”. So go here and make a new account using your Google Apps email instead: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount . Use the same password as your Google Apps Email account.

Next, using the Google Toolbar, click settings and sign out, then sign in with your new Google Account and your Google Apps Email address.

Now, remove or uncheck the old GMail button in the Google Toolbar Options->Buttons tab.

Finally, add the custom button I made by clicking this link: http://toolbar.google.com/buttons/add?url=http://ottodestruct.com/gmfyd.xml

This custom button is virtually identical to the GMail button, except that it has an extra option that will let you type in your domain name. I use “ottodestruct.com”, for example.

And that’s it. The button will check your Google Apps account instead of your GMail account. Nice, huh?

To further integrate things, I’ve set my Google Apps account to pull my email from my GMail account as well. Setup your GMail account to allow POP access, and to delete messages as they get pulled by POP. Then set your Google Apps Domain email to check an extra account: your GMail account. You may also want to have it put those messages under a separate label (I used “old email”). At the same time, you want to add your GMail address as an alternate address. What happens is that your Google Apps account will check your GMail account once an hour and pull over any new messages, putting all your email into one place, nicely labeled. You’ll also be able to send messages from there using your old GMail address, if necessary. Integrates everything into one nice little package.

While you’re doing integration, you might want to change your Google Talk client to use your Google Apps account as well. And if you haven’t done so, you’ll want to edit your DNS settings to include the TXT records needed to allow Google Apps to connect via Jabber for the Google Talk functionality. This lets your domain talk to other domains (including GMail) and allows all your Google Talk stuff to continue to work on the Google Apps Domain.

It’s a lot of setup, but the end result is one place for everything, with all the Google Apps functionality working smoothly. If only Google could automate this sort of integration, then everything would be a lot nicer. The functionality is all there, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together.

Google Apps rocks, I highly recommend it.

Additional: Although I have not yet worked out how to make the SendTo button in the Google Toolbar work properly, Elijah linked to a post that gives instructions on making normal “mailto:” type links work correctly with the Toolbar and Google Apps. Here’s the basic instructions:
1. Download and install the Google Toolbar for Firefox
2. Google Tool Bar->Settings->Options->Send With GMail (checked)->OK
3. In the address bar, go to “about:config”
4. Find the key “google.toolbar.mailto.providers.Gmail”
5. Change the “/mail/” portion to “/hosted/example.com/” (replace example.com with your domain name).

Now any normal mailto: links on web pages will redirect you to your Google Apps email.

0 thoughts on “Fully Integrating Google Apps for your Domain”

  1. Thanks for the Gmail toolbar button hack! I had been looking for something like this for a few days, since migrating my email over to GAFYD. Thanks man!

  2. This is a great addition. But can you do the same thing for the “Send to” button in the Google toolbar? I can’t seem to get it to send to my Google Apps/Domain Gmail acct. Any suggestions?

  3. That doesn’t work for the SendTo button, but it does make mailto: links open up in the hosted domains. I’ll post those instructions in the main post.

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