As part of my “Working with Chrome OS” series, we’re taking a look at whether Google’s OS is a viable option for attorneys.
And given that more and more of the older operating systems are coming to ends, it’s safe to say that more attorneys may be interested in giving a low-cost option such as a Chrome device.
Today, we’re going to look at how Gmail, the primary email option in Chrome OS, is better than Outlook.
(And yes, I’m typing this in a Chromebook as we speak.)
Why Gmail is Better than Outlook for Attorneys
Attorneys have been locked in an epic struggle against their email since the mid-’90s
You come into work in the morning, having armed yourself with a double-shot latte and feeling prepared for battle. Then the enemy sends the first wave – 50 messages occupy your inbox first thing in the morning. After a legendary struggle, that will be worthy of story and song; you slay the oncoming horde just in time to have lunch with other able counsel.
You come back feeling recharged to find that the enemy has attacked with a second wave of messages.
After an epic struggle, you can turn off the computer and go home for the night, knowing that the battle will begin the next morning anew. Leaving the office, you may look something like this:
Okay, maybe I’m a tad melodramatic. But wouldn’t it be nice to speed up the rate you get through your email and simplify your day?
Let’s take a look at how you can do that with Gmail. As a disclaimer, I’ve been using Google Apps, the Gmail productivity suite’s business version, since 2010, so I’m biased.
Improve Your Gmail Experience with the Right Chrome Extensions
If you want to ditch Outlook, then I suggest using Google’s Chrome browser, if nothing else, for excellent Gmail extensions.
To get the most out of Gmail here are the extensions you want to add:
- Send From Gmail – This little guy is incredible. This extension creates a button on your browser that allows you to email out any web page with one click quickly. Being on any site and being to email it to someone comes in more handy than you think, and I use this quite a bit.
- Google Calendar extension – This creates a notifier button in your browser that you can click on and view a dropdown of your calendar for the next seven days regardless of if you have your schedule open or not. You can view your calendar from any web page without actually having to leave the page.
- Google Tasks Panel – Google Tasks is a great “to do” manager, mainly because of its ties into Gmail and Google Calendar. This extension creates a button on your browser that allows you to pull up your task list regardless of what page you view. Again, this will enable you to view and manage your tasks without having to leave whatever you are looking at.
Enabling “Priority Inbox” — Gmail’s Killer Feature
Gmail introduced its “priority inbox” feature in 2010, and since then, I’ve never turned it off; it’s fantastic.
The concept is simple – by comparing the emails, you read and respond to against the ones you simply delete, Gmail can tell which messages are more critical.
These more critical messages are then grouped at the top of your inbox to get through them sooner.
This helps resolve your priorities much earlier in the day and having all your less essential messages grouped at the bottom lets you weed through them much faster through bulk deletions.
Here’s Google’s video on the benefits of priority inbox (you cost yourself efficiency by not using it).
To put it simply:
Priority inbox = Efficient, Simple Email Management
Using Google Tasks to Keep You On Task
Attorneys regularly buy project management or “to do” software. And quite often, all these programs do are go unutilized.
You know why?
It’s because most to-do-list software programs are cumbersome and wind up being a time-consuming, rather than time-saving, affair.
Google Tasks takes a minimal approach and integrates so nicely into your email and calendar that the experience is seamless. Here’s another quick to explain it:
Sometimes less is more, and Google Tasks’ minimalist approach certainly proves this.
There’s No Reason for Attorneys to Keep Using Outlook
Outlook can be expensive to purchase and brings many of the problems inherent to local software.
On the other hand, switching to a paid Gmail account means that for just $5.00 per month, you will always have the latest version of an excellent email client, and you won’t have the technical problems that many attorneys battle with Outlook.
If you’re worried about the fact that you currently have information in Outlook, then using Gmail’s Outlook migration tool will solve that problem.
I would undoubtedly say that Chrome OS, which relies primarily on Gmail, is a go for attorneys wanting to get rid of Windows or Mac OSX but are concerned about losing their local email client.
For any attorney who wants to get rid of Windows or Mac OS but has concerns about losing their email client— Chrome OS gets a huge thumbs up from me.
But what are your views on using Gmail as your firm’s email program? Feel free to chime in below.
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