What is the Google Apps Control Panel?
If you’re the domain administrator for your organization’s Google Apps account, you’re likely very familiar with the Google Apps control panel. The control panel allows administrators to manage all Google Apps services from one central location, including user accounts and email lists. The control panel also gives you the ability to monitor email activity statistics, customize the look and feel of your Google Apps domain and reset user account passwords.
FlashPanel and Google Apps Control Panel Actions
Although the Google Apps control panel gives domain administrators certain management capabilities, its user interface can be difficult to understand and complicated to use. FlashPanel, provided by BetterCloud and launching in beta Spring 2012, not only presents existing Google Apps domain management capabilities in an easy-to-use dashboard, but the third-party application also provides added management functions not available in the Google Apps control panel. Such features include the ability to delegate and audit email inboxes, bulk remove group memberships, manage shared contacts and create HTML signatures (coming soon).
How to Install and Use FlashPanel
Once you’ve registered your domain with Google Apps, installing FlashPanel is simple. If you’re the domain administrator, you can access the Google Apps Marketplace directly from your Gmail inbox. Simply click the ‘More’ button at the top of your inbox and then select ‘Find more services’ from the drop-down menu options. You will be taken to the Google Apps Marketplace where you can then search for “FlashPanel” just as you would search in any other Google product.
Once you’ve reached the FlashPanel Marketplace listing, feel free to browse additional product features and reviews. To the right-hand side, you will notice an “Add it Now” button. FlashPanel is based on a freemium model, with all basic features included at no cost and additional charges for added functionality. Once you’ve installed the application, you will be taken through a series of steps to configure FlashPanel. Shortly after, FlashPanel will be automatically populated with your domain’s data and you can begin managing users, groups and org. units.
See our article ‘An Introduction to the Google Apps Marketplace’ more information on using and navigating the Marketplace.