G Suite is Here

Well…. almost. 

These instructions are still being reviewed and tested.  Please hold off doing any of this quite yet.  Thanks!

As you may have heard, our District has been granted a free G-Suite account. (Thanks again go to our friends at the Leather Alliance for making this happen.) 

Our G-Suite includes a full gmail services (with up to 500 [???] email accounts for your.name@sflcd.org), a secure site for our documents (Google Drive), a collaboration tool called Google Hangouts Chat (aka @Chat), and eventually video conferencing (Google Meet), a calendar, and other benefits and apps.      

We urge you to get started with our new GSuite as soon as possible.  Yes, having yet another separate email account to check can be a nuisance, but we will do our best to make it easy and painless for you.  

Note that folks will still be able to see meeting announcements and view linked documents on this Web site, but we will be phasing out our use of Slack, so only GSuite users will be able to join our online discussions and insert comments or suggest edits to documents.  

So, how to proceed?  First, send an email to _______@sflcd.org, requesting a GSuite account and telling us the name you would like to use.  By default, email addresses will be set up as firstname.lastname@sflcd.org, but if you have a preferred handle (something that you are actually known by), we are happy to set you up as preferredname@sflcd.org instead.  

We will reply to your email request with an email from “The G Suite Team” with a “reset password” link — click on the link to set your password and you’re in!  

You will want to set up the new account on your computer and/or your phone.  You may get best results browsing to “mail.google.com” using Chrome on your Windows computer, [or ____________________________________________________________ on Apple], but any email program should allow you to add a “gmail” type of account, and all you should need is your sflcd.org address and your new password. 

Adding us on your phone can sometimes be trickier.  We recommend that you add the new account as an account on the phone — not just as another account within your email app.  (This may make it easier for you to add the Google Chat and other apps as needed.)  Just add it as a “Google” type of account.  You should not be required to make any security changes to your phone or create a “workspace” for it. 

[Insert any special tips for Apple users here.]

Next, if you don’t already have Google Drive working on both your computer and smartphone, we would strongly encourage installing it.  If you already have it, you will need to launch it and then click on the icon in the upper right and change to (or add) the new GSuite account.  We will be sharing new documents with you through your sflcd.org identity, so look for these files in the “Shared with me” folder, and if you don’t see them, double-check that you are logged into the GSuite account.

Finally (for now) we encourage you to install the “Google Hangouts Chat” (aka @Chat) app (available for Android or iOS) on your mobile device.  
On your computer, use Chrome and browse to https://chat.google.com, then sign in with your G Suite account. 

When installing the app, be careful:  you want the “Hangouts Chat” app — the one with the “@” icon, authored by “Google LLC”.  There is also something called “Google Hangouts” (with a quote-mark icon). that is for personal chatting, not for use with GSuite.  And there are tons of other similarly-named apps.

You should find @Chat very much like Slack (if you have used that), but better integrated with the other Google apps.  Taking time to view a Youtube video like this one, or an intro like this one could be very helpful.  

Within @chat, be sure to join the “rooms” for all the Committees you are serving on; of course you can also create your own special purpose rooms, or do one-on-one or group chat with anyone within the sflcd.org community.  Be aware, though, that you can’t use this app to search for or chat with folks who does not have an sflcd.org account, or who is not using the Chat app.  

For all these apps on your phone, you should check your Notifications settings to make sure they are set the way you want.  This is particularly important so that, for example, you see when new mail arrives on this secondary email account, or when you get a reply to your @chat message.  Of course, you don’t want to get drowned in notifications either, be prepared to fine-tune them if that starts to happen.  

That should get you started.  In the future, we hope to test and set up “bots” to help us schedule meetings or conduct polls, or maybe even use Google Hangouts Meet for remote access to our meetings. 

Please do let us know if you have problems using any of this stuff.  We aren’t exactly the Tech Squad, but we would happy to help.  You can reach us at _________@sflcd.org, or david.hyman@sflcd.org.