Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 8

Telling everyone about our new email address

It’s been about 2 weeks and everything is working well. We’ve told a few people about our new email addresses but now I need to get organised and tell everyone, but how?

Option 1 – Email everyone in my address book

Google keeps 2 address books by default.

First is the contacts you choose to save into your contacts. You can create those manually, save them from an email, create them when you add a new phone number into your phone. You can see from my contacts here I have 218 contacts though not all of them have email addresses (one of those contacts is a shortcut to dial voicemail). Truth be told there’s a couple of contacts I can spot straight away that don’t really need to be in my contacts book any more as we haven’t been in touch with each other for many years.

Further down the options is another section called “Other Contacts”. These are the contacts Google assumes from emails you’ve sent and received. They’re used with auto complete suggestions. I have 4,796 contacts there. A quick scan shows many are out of date or no longer needed but also shows a large number of fairly regular contacts that have never found their way to being saved specifically into contacts (friends from various clubs, where I don’t have or need a phone number for them and I email them simply from the autocompleted address).

If I was to try and email all 5,000 or so old contacts to advise of my new email address it would

  • take a long time (by hand, only about 90 addresses fit into the gmail BCC space)
  • take a long time (to write a small script to send emails one at a time)
  • exceed the send mail quota (2000 emails per day max )
  • generate a lot of bounces (old invalid addresses)
  • waste peoples time ( don’t really care to know I have a new email address).

So, I need a better option!

Option 2 – Use the out of office auto responder to tell people our email address has changed

When you go on holiday and wont reply to emails you can use the “Out Of Office” auto reply to let people know. The out of office message will only be sent once every 4 days.

I’m going to use this system to send a friendly message to let the sender know their email was automatically forwarded (so they don’t need to resend) and that we have a new email address.

There are options to only send out of office messages to your contacts but I’m going to let every sender get the message. I think the only downside will be that spammers will also know our new email address, but it will only be a week or so before they scrape it from our web site and start sending to both addresses anyway.

I’ve done this for our shared email address but for my own email address I’m going to wait a while before doing this. Partly that’s because I have a lot of newsletter subscriptions and some might see the constant out-of-office messages as a reason to stop sending emails. If you do this too, remember to keep checking the old email account from time to time as spam isn’t forwarded and if the mail box becomes full you won’t be getting the forwarded emails.

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 7

Email for the servers and scanners

As well as user accounts we have emails being sent from servers and scanners. Google have a help page that says how to do this through SMTP relay. However, I also want to be able to see what has been sent. Up until now we’ve set the scanner to use the shared email account which means if someone replies to a scanned email we see the reply – useful for when we send orders to suppliers. (yes, we still scan paper. I’ve yet to work out an all electronic process that works as well. Maybe when I replace our MS Access database).

I’m not sure if the SMTP relay service will keep the sent email in the shared mailbox but I’ve time to experiment so I’ll try SMTP relay first, and if that fails I’ll have to setup the scanner to used the shared email with an app password.

Solved – activate Comprehensive mail storage “When you have the SMTP Relay service enabled, user mailboxes will keep a copy of the message in the sent folder  (for example, when sending mail from a scanner) if comprehensive mail storage is enabled. This might cause accounts to exceed storage limits if your account’s edition has storage limits”

SMTP relay needs a static IP Address, which we have. When we change ISPs (maybe once every 5 years) I’ll have to remember to update the IP address here.

This took me about 1 hour to get the scanner working. It was a typical error of one setting being wrong – I forgot to change the “sender address” from to on the scanner.

After that, another hour setting and testing the various servers that send emails.

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 6

Making my new email address my default email address

Things are starting to work. I have my new email address on my phone. Now I want to start using it as my main email address and tell everyone else in the office how to make that happen too. I need to:

  • Import all my old email
  • Import my old calendar with all future appointments
  • set my new email to collect email that arrives in my old account.
  • Import files saved in Google Drive

I’m looking to move domains in the least disruptive way I can think of. That means I’m not going to tell anyone and I’ll just start using the new address. I’ll have emails sent to the old address collected by the new address. Over time people will notice and start using the new address and I won’t miss any emails.

I’ll gradually start changing login email addresses to use the new email address too but I’m not losing access to the old email address so I’ve no time limit to do that in.

If my suppliers change email domain and their accounts department starts using it I always phone them to confirm they’re not being impersonated, just as I do when they change bank accounts (never trust a letter or email changing bank account details! Always phone and check with real people it’s genuine).

This page on migrating data into workspace looks useful for giving tools and instructions for migrating data. I mention it as I’ll pick one of these but you might find the others more useful.

Forwarding new emails to the old mailbox to the new mailbox

So far, these instructions are pretty straight forward

I’m going to set up forwarding now. There are two approaches to this;

Method 1 would be to have my new email address collect the email from my old email address.

Method 2 would be to forward all email that arrives in the old mailbox to the new mailbox.

I thought about the pros and cons of each and I’m going with google suggestion of forwarding all my emails. Forwarding can be hit and miss as many spam filters treat forwarded email as potential spam. Forwarding also has a problem in that it happens AFTER the google spam filters have run. I often see real email in my spam box so I’ll have to keep a check on the old account for a while. Collecting email is also becoming less straight forward as 2FA is not possible for POP/IMAP (the protocols used to collect email from another mailbox) so some services dont allow it or you have to set special app passwords.

One more thing though – in the longer term I will have the option of changing my old email to be an alias domain of the new email so I won’t need the forwarding for too long… i hope.

Summary instructions:

Old mail box > settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP > Add forwarding address
Confirmation email in new mail box to confirm before it can be used
Return to old mail box > settings >forwarding and POP/IMAP, select new email address. I choose to immediately archive the original mail, so I only see old mail in the old account and new mail in the new account.

OK, now for calendar events.

Calendar > Settings >Import and Export > Export

This should export ALL the calendars I’ve access too and the Zip file contains each calendar as a file. All I need to do is select just my Calendar as the other calendars I’ll resubscribe too (other people at Roots)

Unfortunately the export isn’t working and I get a 404 error. I’ll have to come back to this.

So, change of plan. Each user can go to Google Takeout, select calendars, just their calendar and export that to re-import it. At first I had an error message to say it failed but then I saw all my appointments past and present appear in my calendar.

Contacts import (easiest part so far)

Export from old account: Contacts (from the 9 dot menu at top right) > Ctrl + A (select all contacts) > More Actions (the 3 vertical dots) > Export > Export as: google CSV

Import to new account: Contacts (from the 9 dot menu at top right) > Import Contacts (it’s empty so that option is on the front page) > select the file.

Getting the old email into the new accounts

There are to methods for this too.

Method 1: Use the data migration service

Method 2: Allow users to import their old mailbox

Part of me things users doing their own is simple enough (there are only a few of us) but I also think if I get the migration service working for me then it will be easier for me to trigger it for everyone else giving them less to do. So, Data migration service it is!

You definitely want to be reading the full instructions for this. I’m summarising here for my own benefit later.

My notes: Nothing to add, it was all as I expected but I need each user to generate an app password for me to access their account.

Google Drive files

Now for the transfer of these. We don’t use drive files much but I’ve a few notes in spreadsheets that I want to keep so I’ll transfer.

It seems the simplest way to do this is Google Takeout selecting just Drive files. The others can do the same if they’ve files to keep. I don’t think it will copy links to files that are shared with us but we’re still able to see them in our original accounts and I’m sure can get access to them from the new account if needed.

Almost forgot!

We have an intranet which is a google site. It’s where we keep procedures and things, so I’ll need to migrate that too.