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Issue #529: September 10–16, 2017

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Q: How can we configure Windows 10 Email, Calendar, and Contacts to use our family’s Google accounts? We would like to receive notifications in the Action Center when new Emails arrive and for calendar event reminders.

– Josh L.
Niceville, Florida

A:  I think you’ll find it’s far easier than you’re expecting, Josh.  I have my accounts configured this exact way. Even though I primarily use the web interface for both Google Calendar and Gmail, I’ve found it’s awfully convenient to receive pop-up notifications for events and important e-mails.  I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see additional notifications appear in the Live Tiles under “Life at a glance”.

To get started, click the Windows Start Menu, then select the gear icon (Settings).  In the dialog that comes up, select “Accounts”.  The dialog will change to “Your info”.  Along the left-hand edge is a list of choices, one of which is “Email & app accounts”.  Click that.  Here is where you perform all the maintenance of the various Microsoft accounts that are linked to this device, and also where you add various external accounts, such as Gmail.

Of course, Windows knows how to connect to various Microsoft services, so you’ll see Microsoft-owned products like Outlook, Live.com, Hotmail, Microsoft Exchange, and Office 365 there.  However you’ll also see 3rd-party providers Google, Yahoo!, and iCloud, and a catch-all “Other account” for any other provider that supports standard access methods such as Post Office Protocol (POP) or Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

The set-up methods for each of these varies slightly, but it’s mostly a matter of carefully reading the dialog boxes and accurately providing the information they ask for.  In your case, start by clicking “Google”.  You’ll be taken to a “Connecting to a service” page for Google.  If you’re connecting multiple accounts, you’ll need to do them one at a time.  Come back to this point for the next one after you’ve finished the first.  Enter your Gmail address where it says “Email or phone” and click “NEXT”.  The dialog should greet you by the name you have set-up in the account.  Enter your password, and click “NEXT” again.  You must now authorize Windows to access the account.  Be sure to read what it is you’re agreeing to, and remember that you’ll still be able to access the service the way you always have.  All you’re doing is adding Windows as an extra method of accessing the account.  When you’re ready, click “ALLOW” to continue.  You’ll find yourself back at the “Email & app accounts” dialog, and your account should now be listed as one that Windows knows about.

There is a lot more going on here than simply getting notifications in Windows’ Action Center.  Once your accounts are enabled, you’ll find that they automatically appear in “Trusted Windows Store apps” like Mail and Calendar.  You can further refine how they perform from within these Apps, but I really don’t have enough room here to cover all that.  I do, however, want to mention that any folders that you have set up in Gmail will automagically appear here.  In fact, you’ll find that various platforms where you use your mail or calendar work together seamlessly.  If you receive a new e-mail, it will appear in the Inbox on the Gmail web interface, as well as your smartphone, and your Windows PC.  If you delete it, it will show as deleted on all devices.  The same will happen if you move it to a folder.  If you create a new calendar event on your phone, it will show up on your PC, and vice-versa.  This is the beauty of Cloud Computing, and I find it to be an incredibly useful and flexible way to do my electronic business.  It allows me access to the electronic frontier regardless of where I am.  If I do deletions or replies via my phone, I don’t have to CC myself, do any clean-up, or copy stuff around to keep the desktop PC in sync when I get back to the office – it just works!

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