Customizing Google Apps
Video: Customizing Google AppsIn this video, we're going to go ahead and customize the Google App experience. To get started, I've already logged into my Admin panel. I've used a user with admin access, I've logged into Google. You can click on More in the upper navigation, and choose Admin from the dropdown menu. From the Admin screen, let's go ahead and click on Company Profile. The first thing we'd like to do is to go ahead and replace the Google logo, with our own logo. To do this, let's click on Personalization. It's the third item down on the profile menu. On the box that opens, you can see that by default it's going to use the Google logo. This includes using it for Gmail, as well as using it for Google Calendars.
- Next steps
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Google Apps has been embraced by millions of schools and campuses, but is your classroom getting the most from it? Join educator Aaron Quigley as he shows K–12 teachers how to use Google Apps for Education to streamline communication, save time, and increase content mastery. Administrators can learn how to set up Apps for Education, verify your domain name, and add users, while teachers learn how to sort personal from school email, set up email signatures, add events to calendars, and create lesson plans with Google Drive. Administrators and teachers alike can learn how to set up custom Google sites for collaboration with parents and students, and extend Google Apps with apps like YouTube and Google Scholar.
- What is Google Apps for Education?
- Creating a Google account
- Verifying the domain name
- Configuring Gmail
- Archiving school communication
- Adding office hours to calendars
- Centralizing school documents
- Collaborating with Google Docs
- Creating a Google site
- Adding educational apps
Customizing Google Apps
In this video, we're going to go ahead and customize the Google App experience. To get started, I've already logged into my Admin panel. I've used a user with admin access, I've logged into Google. You can click on More in the upper navigation, and choose Admin from the dropdown menu. From the Admin screen, let's go ahead and click on Company Profile. The first thing we'd like to do is to go ahead and replace the Google logo, with our own logo. To do this, let's click on Personalization. It's the third item down on the profile menu. On the box that opens, you can see that by default it's going to use the Google logo. This includes using it for Gmail, as well as using it for Google Calendars.
We'd like to go ahead and have a custom logo. The first thing I'm going to do is to go ahead and select the Custom logo box. Now you'll notice that there's currently no custom logo there. That's because we need to upload a logo. Now when you upload a Google logo, there's some very specific parameters that you need to meet. The first thing, is it needs to be an image that's exactly 143 pixels wide, by 59 pixels tall. In addition to that, it needs to be a PNG or a GIF format. PNGs and GIFs will allow a transparent background. That way, if you have a a logo in the upper left hand corner, the grey in this bar, directly behind the Google logo, will show through your logo as well, and look very professional.
Once you have a file created, you can go ahead and click the Choose File. If you're a premium subscriber, I've included a file for you to test this out with inside of the Exercise Files. In Ch 1, you'll find a file called logo-OrangeValleySchool. This logo is automatically formatted to 143 by 59 pixels. To help you format your own logo, I've also included a PSD, or an Adobe Photoshop template that's a pre-formatted template size of 143 by 59. Let's go ahead and select the PNG logo, and click Open. Back on the Google page, I'm going to go ahead and click, Upload.
I should now see my logo appearing directly below the custom logo words on the Google page. If I like the way that it's appearing, I'm going to go ahead and click, Save Changes. Google is indicating that those savings have taken effect. To test it out, let's go ahead and click on Calendar to see if our new logo's showing up. There, on the left hand side, I can see the Orange Valley High School logo's showing up. It's transparent, meaning that that grey in the background bar is showing through, and it looks very professional. Let's go ahead and close out of this, and head back to our admin console. The next step is we're going to go ahead and add some custom URLs. Now, you can only use custom URLs if you have a domain name and that domain name has been verified with Google.
To access these, lets click on Custom URLs from the profile settings page. In order to make these changes, you'll need to add some additional DNS entries at the domain registrar. The first thing you'd want to do, is to add the actual subdomain, which is the word that'll appear in the box. There'll be a period, followed by your actual domain. We want to make sure all of these are pointing to Google. Google does provide instructions for the most common domain registrars, and you can follow those instructions to make sure your domain is properly pointing to the right place. Now by default Google always uses their own domain, for things such as email, calendar, docs, even Google sites.
Here we're going to customize it to use a sub-domain of the Orange Valley School domain. Google as automatically filled in these boxes for us with what they would recommend for us to use. If we accept it, we can simply click on the box right below it, where it'll say mail.orangevalleyschool.com. What this is going to change is if in the future if someone wants to access their mail, all they have to do is go to a web browser, type in the word mail, type a period, orangevalleyschool.com. And it'll automatically redirect them to the Google server where they can log into the email that's associated with their Google Apps for Education account.
We can setup the same thing for Calendar. The same thing for Docs. I'll turn Sites and Video custom URLs on as well. When I click Continue I need to make sure I've already made this change in our DNS setting, otherwise this won't work. I can also choose to change these. For example, with Docs, this really takes you to the Google Drive. So I'm going to go ahead and change this to drive.orangevalleyschool.com. I'm going to go and click the Continue button at the bottom of the page. On this next page, Google is helping us figure out how to make those DNS, or domain name server changes. The change we're making is something called a CNAME, or canonical name.
This is literally saying, that for these particular parts of our domain, such as Mail, Calendar, Drive, Sites and Video, we now need to point them to this web address, which is ghs.googlehosted.com. For most domain registrars, when you log into your registrar management, you want to look for domain management or advanced settings. You're also looking for things such as DNS and the ability to add a CNAME. If you'd like some help completing the steps, you can always click here, and Google will give you some step-by-step instructions for the most common domain registrars. I've already completed these steps, so I'm going to click, I've completed these steps.
So at this point, we've added a custom logo and we've also added custom URLs. I'm going to go ahead and test this by opening up a new tab. I'm just going to type in mail.orangevalleyschool.com, and I should see that Google automatically redirects mail.orangevalleyschool.com to the Google server for my Google Apps for Education for Orange Valley School. It looks like the redirect is working perfectly and my logo's appearing just as it should.
There are currently no FAQs about Google Apps for Educators.