Windows 8 is creating quite a stir, and although the Modern interface may take some getting used to, the new features and customization tools are attracting positive attention. However, Windows users are reluctant to give up their tried and true Google services, like Chrome and Drive – and now, they don’t have to – here’s how to add Google products to Windows 8 in a relatively easy and efficient way.
Once you understand how to navigate the new Window 8 Modern User Interface by accessing common services, such as Google Search, Chrome and Gmail through the Windows 8 Start screen, you’ll be ready to roll.
GET THE GOOGLE SEARCH APP
First, go to the Microsoft app store and do a search for the official Modern Google app. Similar to the Google Search app for iOS, it is a full-screen Modern-style app that includes voice search, history and works well with either a mouse or a touch screen interface. And the best part of all is that you can access other Google services, such as Gmail, YouTube, Calendar and more by simple tapping on the Applications button on the main screen.
SETUP GMAIL IN THE WINDOWS 8 MAIL APP
Although setting up Gmail for the Windows 8 Mail App and Windows RT Mail App is a bit involved, following a few simple steps will do the trick:
First, open the Windows 8 Mail App and use the charms bar on the right to select “Settings.”
• Find “Accounts” and select it.
• Choose Google and then add your Gmail email address and password.
• Warning: Do not choose the “Include your Google contacts and calendars” option, because it will create problems with synchronizing. Windows 8 uses ActiveSync protocol, which Google no longer supports in Gmail effective July 2013 for new accounts and devices. You want Windows 8 to utilize the IMAP protocol.
GRANT WINDOWS 8 ACCESS TO GOOGLE CONTACTS
Most people have a long list of Google contacts, but with the new Google restrictions, accessing your Google contacts isn’t as streamlined as it used to be. Here’s a helpful workaround that will give you full access from your Microsoft account:
• Go to your Microsoft account page.
• Sign in using the same Microsoft account you used to set up Windows 8.
• Click on “Permissions,” and then choose “Add accounts.”
• Select Google from the list and connect the two accounts.
• When you have granted access, give it a few minutes before you check the Mail and People apps again.
MAKE CHROME YOUR DEFAULT BROWSER IN WINDOWS 8
You can use Chrome as a full-screen Modern app on Windows 8 machines by setting it as your default browser. However, it is not currently available for Windows RT. To launch Chrome as a Modern app follow these steps:
• Open Chrome on your desktop and click on the Settings menu.
• Select “Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode.”
• Once you have launched Chrome in Windows 8 mode, it will start like this by default each time you want to use it.
PIN GOOGLE APPS SHORTCUTS
Right now, there are no other Modern Google apps available, but you have the option to pin Google app shortcuts to your Start screen for better functionality. You can pin shortcuts to websites such as Google Drive or Google Maps to the start screen for one click access. You can do this with just about any Google service by doing the following:
• Using Google Chrome, navigate to the Google App page you would like to Pin to your Start Screen
• From the Settings drop-down menu, select Tools and choose Create application shortcuts.
• From your desktop, right click on your new shortcut and select, “Pin to Start.”
• You now have the option to delete the shortcut from your desktop. Repeat the steps with all your most-used Google services to access them on your Start screen, which will open a standalone window for the app.
Although Windows 8 and Google don’t always play nice, with these simple steps, you will be able to enjoy using Google services on your Windows 8 OS with very little effort. And hopefully sometime in the future, Windows and Google will find a way to get along in the PC, tablet and desktop playground.