With just over a week before the T-Mobile G1 drops, there are a few things you might want to do to make your Android experience just a little bit sweeter. These things relate directly to your Google Account, which your G1 will connect with. When you first turn on your phone, you will be asked to enter your Google email address and password. The phone will then connect to your Gmail Account, your Google Contacts, your Google Calendar, and Google Talk.
(If you are one of the seven people without a Google Account, you can get one by signing up for Gmail. The same username and password is used for all of Google’s services.)
Update your Gmail Contacts
Your phone’s address book with sync with your Google Contacts. Your Google Contacts can be found within the Address Book of Gmail. Click “Contacts” on the left side, right above the chat window. Many of your frequent email contacts will already be listed, but you can add anyone you would like. Enter their phone numbers, addresses, and any other information you would like.
In Google Contacts, you can create groups, and assign a contact to one or more groups. You can configure your G1 to only sync some of your contact groups, so think a minute about which groups might be useful. Work, Family, and Friends groups may be in order, but remember that contacts can be in more then one group. My wife will be creating a Babysitting group that contains contacts already in Family, Friends, and others that might be willing to babysit the kids. Finding a babysitter just got a little easier: She pulls up the Babysitting group on the G1, and calls down the list until she finds a willing sitter.
Prep your Gmail Account
Gmail allows messages to be ‘Labeled’ for easier management. Labels function like tags, and filters can be set up to automatically apply labels to new mail. Your G1 can be configured to only sync mail with specific labels, allowing you to only get notified of the ‘urgent’ email and skipping all the rest. Consider the mail you get regularly, and consider setting up some filters to auto-label new email. Doing so can reduce the unwanted email alerts on your phone.
While there is a regular POP/IMAP mail client on the G1, your Gmail messages are ‘pushed’ to your phone, allowing you to be notified much more quickly. Gmail can be configured to pull mail from other accounts, or you can configure your other accounts to be forwareded to Gmail if you want faster access to your new messages.
Get familiar with Google Calendar
The G1 calendar will also sync with Google Calendar. This very capable web application has the awesome ability to have multiple calendars and sharing of calendars with others. My wife and I each have our own, and we also have a shared calendar for Family events. We both have edit rights, and can update it whenever we change our plans.
The G1 will not only work with your personal calendar, but shared calendars as well. You will be able to make the same changes as you do online, but from anywhere.
If you do not currently use Google Calendar, I recommend giving it a try. Enter repeating events for all the regular events in your life, and then add others as they come up. Entering extra information, such as the address of an appointment, will allow getting easy driving directions right from your phone’s calendar.
Get familiar with Google Talk
Google Talk is Google’s Jabber based chat program. It plays nice with Gmail, and it’s Jabberness allows you to be signed in from multiple computers at once. This nice feature will allow you to get your IMs on your desktop computer, then quickly switch to your phone and back without getting kicked off the system at your computer.
The G1 does contain chat clients for Yahoo, MSN, and other chat networks, but other networks will kick you off your computer if you log in from somewhere else. The G1’s address book will also identify which of your address book contacts is currently online, allowing a quick chat instead of a phone call.
While not as popular as other IM systems, Google Talk is fast, clean, cross platform, and nice to use. Give it a try, and you might consider a switch after your G1 arrives.
Keep an eye on AndroidGuys.com
In these next few days, there will likely be quite a few announcements concerning the Android Marketplace, Android Apps, and more product reviews. Keep your eyes here, and we’ll keep you updated! If you were one of the lucky ones to get an order in during the first 4 days of preorder, keep an eye on your doorstep as well.