I added another organization to Google Apps yesterday. This one was a small non-profit whose capabilities immediately increased from the free webmail that came with their server package to the collaborative suite Google offers free.
By changing a few records in the configuration (don’t try this by yourself if you don’t know what the phrase MX record means), the organization immediately was able to share contacts, calendaring, forwarding, start pages and my absolutely new favorite thing: priority inbox. Everyone wrote about priority inbox last week, but I wanted to take a more cautious approach. Silly me.
Priority inbox is hands down the best innovation for Gmail since… well, I think ever. My personal time savings on my main email account is around an hour after one week after using priority inbox. I reached that number by allocating 20 seconds to each email. That includes the opening, scanning and deleting or filing for later of email that is not mission-critical. I’ve had just about 200 emails in the last week and there are still 86 nestled in the “not important” category. They aren’t important. They’re nice to know. They’re kind of interesting. They won’t change my business, my life or help my family. They’re the information overload that help pass the time while you’re waiting in a dentist office, having your car’s oil changed or waiting for a train. This mail doesn’t need to interrupt your day, and priority inbox assures that it won’t.
If this trend holds, an hour a week is an amazing pickup for a usability change. Your takeaway as a small business leader is that Gmail has evolved to the point where it demands your attention as a free email solution for many small businesses. Setup is relatively easy, especially if you’ve kept up with your old email and are willing to start with a fresh email box. You can use your company name, use the Gmail interface and use an internal Google search to find an old email so you don’t have to categorize or file your mail in folders.