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Using Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar: the Cornell “cloud”

Guest Blogger: Brian Hixon-Simeral ’16, a PA for NSO 2015

Using Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar

This topic may seem pretty easy for some of you, but for everyone out there that hasn’t had the means,opportunity, or need to use Gmail, Google Drive, and the Google Calendar, here’s a brief blog post to help you out. Cornell College assigns everybody an email account through Gmail, you may or may not already have yours. This should be the primary email that you use throughout your career at Cornell as it makes it extremely easy for people to email you. Even if you never give people your email it is likely that they will be able to figure it out since Gmail has a very handy feature that guesses the email address you want. You will also receive newsletters, updates about the campus, and all emails from your professors through this email account. Gmail is a fantastic email service as it has more storage than you will ever use and it comes equipped with Google Drive.

Google Drive is a service that allows you to create word documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations without downloading any additional software. These files will be saved to your Google account, your school email, and can be accessed from anywhere you have internet connection, as long as you are signed into your account. You can type up your paper in your room and go to the library computers to print, you don’t need to lug around your laptop or worry about bringing a flashdrive with you.

Another great feature of Google Drive is that you can “share” all of these documents with anyone you would like, assuming you have their email. The people that you share the document with can view, make comments on, and edit this document in tandem with you, which means that during the cold winter you won’t have to go meet with your group to get your project done. Just share the document with your group members and have your collaboration online.

Another one of the best things about having your school email synced with a Google account is the Google Calendar. Google Calendar is basically an electronic planner, “basically”. Google Calendar has a lot of features that can make your time at Cornell much easier. Entering your deadlines or appointments is extremely easy, even if you were never the type to write in a planner. It can also be used to send invites to people if you want to plan a study group or any other kind of event. If you have a smart phone then you can easily sync your phone’s calendar with your Google Calendar which gives you extremely quick access to your schedule. The reason that I advise using Google Calendar over any other type of planner is because there is always a backup of your Google Calendar. If your phone updates and removes your calendar app then you haven’t lost all of your appointments as long as you were using Google Calendar, whereas with other apps all of your data would have been lost.

If you ever have any questions about using any of the software provided by the school, or feel that this explanation didn’t really help then you can always ask for help from the Academic Technology Studio, located in the library. -Brian ___________________________________________________________________________
Cornell’s IT Department is another great resource for tech life on Campus for assistance or advising with any problems with your technology! Read more about their guide to transitioning to Google Apps.

Learning how to utilize Google Apps helps to transition to life at Cornell and HUGE parts of life on this campus–reliability, time management and communication. I can attest to using Google Drive constantly–it’s a great way to back up your files to be accessed anywhere on campus–no need to worry about your laptop losing charge right before your presentation if it’s saved to Drive! It’s also a great place to backup pictures, work on projects with class groups, and share documents with friends. Google Calendar is a great tool for managing your time between work study, class, homework, clubs, and of course, getting in an hour to catch up on Game of Thrones with friends. We might be a small campus, but communication is key! Being familiar and comfortable with Gmail makes the first email to a professor (which there will be a blog post about soon!) a lot less scary. Getting to know how to use these Google Apps is a great way to prepare for life at Cornell. -Laura