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Quick trick for pimping Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs

We’ve just moved our email, calendar and documents over to Google Apps (thanks Keir!) and it’s amazing. The migration of our email wasn’t too bad (besides the fact I deleted my entire ‘To Respond’ folder by mistake – oops).

However, Google Apps isn’t news to any of you. What is exciting is the way we’ve rolled out ‘Single Site Browsers’ (SSB) to make using them much easier.

We’re using Fluid to turn Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar into stand-alone apps which sit in the Dock. If you’re on a PC, you can use Prism to do the same (although it seems a bit slower than Fluid).

Why is that cool? Two reasons:

1. It looks gorgeous
2. It makes using them much easier

Why is it easier?

Mainly because people are used to their email and their calendar being stand-alone apps. Going to a browser tab and typing in a URL just doesn’t flow naturally (also it’s too easy to mistakenly close the tab). Clicking on an icon in your Dock or Start Menu is natural. Also, you can add these SSBs to your Start folder so they load every time your machine starts.

How?

It’s super easy. Just download Fluid or Prism and tell it what URL you want to turn into a SSB. The problem is it’ll choose the site’s favicon for the app icon, which usually looks crap. Instead, download these icons first and then tell Fluid to use them for your app. Beautiful.

If you have any other tips for integrating Google Apps into your desktop, please share in the comments below.

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