One of the hardest things about teaching people how to use Google Apps is that they have to learn a whole new vocabulary. Honestly, why did Google have to rename everything? I seriously doubt it was a case of copyright infringement. Was it to make their product just a little cooler? It would be like marketing a new car by renaming all the parts. “Open this Compartment Enclosure Device, and seat yourself on this wonderful leather Position Enhancer. Put your hands on the Direction-Enabler….” well, you get my drift. Whatever. Enough ranting. Google doesn’t care. You must learn because you must use Google. So, without further ado, here’s my handy translation guide: Gmail Terms Labels – You give your email “labels” to organize it. Think folders. Not sure how to label an email? No problem. Give it several different labels. Now you can look for it in “Upcoming Meetings”, “Current Projects” and “Things to Think About Later.” Surely one of those things will trigger your memory. This is actually a really cool feature. Labs – I know what you’re thinking. You’re wrong. These are special little tweaks you can give to your email to make your life easier. Or more interesting Or, just because you’re bored and avoiding that report you have to write until the very last possible minute. But I digress. You can add stars, add a calendar to the web page you view your email on….what? You’re using an email client to view your Gmail? Why? Google Drive Terms Google Drive – Looking for your stuff? This is where it is… if you uploaded it there. The good news is that if your hard drive dies, it isn’t going to take all of your hard work with it. See my post, Google Drive for iPhone to find out how you too can be connected to work 24/7. My Drive – where the stuff YOU created is. Not to be confused with Shared with Me* ** – where stuff other people created and “shared” with you is located. Don’t get these two confused or you will never find that PowerPoint that you worked on until 3:00 in the morning. Shared – you give permission to others to access and/or edit your stuff, or in other words – now they have a Shared with Me*…from you. Don’t overthink this. Of course, given how often Google changes things, this all may be outdated in a couple of months. Good luck, traveler; good luck.
*Updated 10/7/2014: This used to be called “Collections Shared with Me” – now it’s just “Shared with Me.” Still the same thing.
**Updated 01/29/2015: Now “Shared with Me” is called “Incoming.” Seriously. I feel the urge to duck and cover every time I read that.