Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Tools we love: Google for Non-Profits 

In addition to some of the work we do for clients like site redesigns, upgrades, migrations to Non-Profit Soapbox or Joomla and custom applications, we also like finding cool tools for our clients and partners to use in whatever way works best for them. We’ve written about website, databases, applications, webinars, conferences and more in the past. Today’s cool tool is a combination of many resources – Google. Oh, just Google? you might be thinking. Well, duh, we use Google Docs and Gmail and Google Calendar.

But hold on, don’t click away yet. You might use some of Google’s basic features, but have you really looked into what they do for non-profits? Read on a little more and you’ll see some of the great resources at your fingertips – all through Google.

Read more »

 

Salesforce offers new service for small businesses, non-profits included.

We’ve got another cool tool to share with you this week: Salesforce, probably the most popular CRM in the galaxy, has recently announced a new product – the Contact Manager Edition of its CRM.

This is a lighter-weight version of their CRM application that leaves out many of the frills… but comes at a much lower price at $9 a month per user. This is great news for non-profits who have been itching to use it but feared the steep cost.

It may be missing some of the bells and whistles, but it’s still a pretty impressive way to manage your contacts. It will still integrate with your email – from Gmail to Outlook to Yahoo – and will track your emails and present them in preconfigured reports.

But what is really cool – especially for many PICnet clients – is that the Contact Manager Edition integrates with Google Apps automatically.  Docs, Calendar, Gmail, and more are intigrated into the new system, so there are no extra database integration steps needed when using these two systems together.

Step over to www.safesforce.com for more info. We hope this will be something useful for you!

 

MyQuire- A Handy Collaboration Solution for Nonprofits

MoveOn.org set precedence towards virtually mobilizing left-leaning activists around the nation. Friendster to MySpace to Facebook created the social networking phenomenon that allows users to find people that share similar interests, friends and institutions with a multimedia, personalized flair. There is something that finally combines the two: MyQuire.

Working virtually is a reality for many these days. PICnet, for instance, at any given time, has employees in four different locations. My volunteer work for the Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts (AFTA), for whom we serve hundreds of young professionals, is completely virtual save two meetings per year. And now I’m finding myself in San Francisco, helping a friend in Oregon organize a fundraising event in our Southern California hometown for her younger sister who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Being able to coordinate communications, documents and tasks in a central location is key to any project whose members are remote.

The tools that we use at PICnet, while adequate for project management on a small enterprise scale, would not hold water in the non-techy environment of AFTA or among my friends where networking is at the root of collaboration. (I actually heard of MyQuire through the annals of AFTA as I have been pushing them to become more transparent and innovative with their Council and constituent organizing.) I decided to give MyQuire a test run with my fundraising event to see how easy it would be to replicate for AFTA’s purposes.

Before I begin my review, I should state that MyQuire is in Beta right now, so I am hoping that some of these issues will be fixed by the formal launch in late Fall.

Overall MyQuire’s interface is great. The design is clean and intuitive and you can’t beat the price. It’s free for a user with five projects or less, and it only costs $9.99 per month if you need to coordinate more projects. The founder of the company is a person with a vision to remedy a need by nonprofits, and they are even awarding grants to their nonprofit users. The application cannot be wrapped under the guise of a nonprofits’ website look and feel, but I hear they have plans to do this in the future. And that is wonderful because in the long run, does an organization want to look like it’s coordinating through MyQuire, or through its own technical prowess?

Communications

Stokes: I created our project, “Lauren’s Fundraiser,” added Jason and Lisa, my co-coordinators, and we track all our communications through the website. We each have created our own profiles much like the current popular social networking sites, so you can see our interests, our other projects, any photos we upload, and who we know.

We are even given a specific email with the project name: laurensfundraiser@projects.myquire.com, that acts as a group email list. Another great feature is that I am able to chat live with my co-coordinators if they are online. If you are feeling like dropping a w00t! or some kudos, post a comment to my wall

Bummers: What I’d really like to show you- RIGHT NOW- is a link that goes directly to my project. Much like how you can see MySpace pages from the Web. I’d like to have a one pager that has a picture, the event details and who is coordinating the event so I could pass it around to all my friends. Even better, a way to RSVP for the event! How cool would that be?

MyQuire: Think guerilla marketing! Your domain would be in all the links.

Documents

Stokes: They have enabled a system much like Google Docs or any wiki that provides for online collaboration. I can create a meeting agenda, and Lisa and Jason can add whatever items they need to without re-uploading a new document. I have uploaded Word docs to share, however I haven’t tried any Excel, Power Point or Visio files. I’d be interested to know if those fly.

There is also an area called “My Hard Drive” that looks promising with a Window Explorer feel. It breaks down all your items- photos, projects, files, etc- into directories.

Bummers: Lisa is Mac user and Safari doesn’t support much of the mentioned functionalities. I also had trouble navigating back to the “Files” directory once I opened a document. There is no close or cancel button, and the back arrow on my Firefox browser landed me back to my profile. Lastly, I only see the html document I created in MyQuire in the Hard Drive section. Where are the Word docs?

Tasks

Stokes: I assign tasks with due dates to Jason and Lisa and mark milestones on the project calendar. I can subscribe to my project’s calendar via Outlook, iCal, or Mozilla Sunbird and superimpose it on my Google calendar to help organize my hectic lifestyle.

Bummers: I can’t track time spent on a task nor have a Gantt chart view of the project. Resource allocation and tracking would be a nice addition. Finally, the link to subscribe to the calendar didn’t work. :(

All in all, MyQuire has been a good resource to coordinate my fundraising event remotely. I think that after their launch, MyQuire should have the solid foundation which will make it recommendable to AFTA.

 

Handling Multiple GMail Accounts

Last week I made the leap to Google Apps and I’m loving every minute of it. Having all my email in GMail is saving me so much time. Problem I ran into was monitoring over 6 emails through GMail. You could sign-in to each email and check, but who wants to do that. Or you could have multiple tabs open, but thats gets so cluttered. Solution? GMail Manager. Its a Firefox Add-on just like GMail Notifier but allows for multiple GMail accounts. Definitely in my top 5 Firefox Add-ons.

 

Paying a visit to Google with the Joomla team

GoogleSometimes your schedule changes, and you’ve got to rearrange a meeting. Then sometimes you get invited to have lunch and go to Joomla presentations by core team members to a Google developer audience and your day completely changes.

Tomorrow I’ll be attending a few sessions at the Googleplex, led by Joomla team members including Louis Landry, Wilco Jansen, Hannes Papenberg and Laurens Vandeput. Their Google guide for the trip, Leslie Hawthorn, is a wonderful mix of open source developer mom and supporter of everything that leads to happy developers. She’s even talked about the great open source speakers series that they’re having a Google these days, including our Joomla devs.

Throughout tomorrow I’ll do my best to post updates to the blog, including some video and photos of the talks. I’ll also make sure to provide fully detailed reports on the Google cafeteria food, which I promise to eat until fully stuffed.

(Photos and video after the page flip…)

Read more »

 

Must be doing something right.

Joomla must be doing something right if Google is impressed. Wilco posted a little blurb about Google going to Joomla!Days. He quotes the Google rep on how impressed he was of how Joomla was run and then invited them to speak at the Googleplex on December 21. If you didn’t believe Joomla was the best CMS before, I don’t know how you can’t believe it now.

 

Joomla! is the trendy thing to do

I was recently checking out the cool Google Trends. I did a simple search to see the difference in the usage of the 4 major players in the CMS world (Joomla!, Mambo, Plone, and Drupal). If you look at the trend graph here you can see the split between Mambo and Joomla!. Drupal and Plone are nowhere close.

Google Trends for Joomla

Now this doesn’t say that Joomla! is better than any of the others, its just showing that more people search Google for Joomla!. It’s the popular one. But the trend with open source projects is that the more people like the project, the better it is.

 

Build Your Own Search Engine through Google.

Google Co Op LogoGoogle has now added the ability for its users to create their own search engine. Your ready made search engine will only pull search results from sites that you choose. Possible use could be for multisite search from your network of sites or searching of your favorite sites.

“This isn’t new – Rollyo, Eurekster and Yahoo already have similar products. But Google is also offering, as an option, to bundle the service with Google Adsense ads and share revenue with websites that embed the custom search engine into their site. Only Eurekster currently shares revenue with users. Yahoo’s product, which got a lot of press at launch, has barely been mentioned in the nearly three months since then.” ~