Setting the proper Google Account

The other day I gave a list of what you should do with a new phone.

One of the first things I said was set up your Gmail account.  Whether it's a new account (i.e. you've never had one before) or it's ensuring which account you're going to use (if you have multiple).

It's important, much of what the Android platform revolves around is based on that Google account.   It's a planet, planet Google, and Android is your vehicle to get you around it... or is Google your passport to the different countries?  I'm losing this analogy.
The reason I write this is that my dad bought the Galaxy Note 2 the other day, without really talking to me about it, just came home with it.  He never had a Gmail account before, so the 'helpful' rep there set him up with a DAMOORE1341STREET@GMAIL.COM (note, not the real account, but it was similar).  It made my skin crawl.

The big reason to have a good account set up with it is so that you remember that account as you go across the other services... Chrome for syncing bookmarks, Contacts for syncing people, Gmail for syncing email, Calendar for syncing appointments etc...

Why is syncing so important?

Your usage of the phone shouldn't end at just the phone!  When I put my phone down at the computer I'm not picking it up again until the end of the day, or if the phone rings.  Everything else I do is now at the computer.  So I want to see the same schedule, same people on my computer as I did on my phone.  And ensuring I have them set up on both is a pain to do everything 2x... what if I had a laptop too... a work computer?  Oi, that's a lot of work, and I'm lazy.

Using the proper account syncs those bits to the Google's web services.  So if I am on my computer and I add somebody to my Google Contacts, I can pick up my phone and while I'm out now have them in my phone too.  It's just simple.

So it's important to ensure that when you add items in your phone that you ensure you add it to the Google Service (or the other attached service you may use, like Exchange).  Otherwise that contact/appointment only stays on the phone.  I would hear no less than at least 1x a week on Facebook "oh my, broke my blackberry, people send me your numbers again".  Something you'd never have to worry about with an Android.

So, when you add a Google account, pick a good one.  One you'll continually use.  Then check in the Accounts settings what services you're syncing with Google:

  • Menu / Settings / Accounts (this may be different for different versions like ICS or JB)
  • Click your account and it'll show associated services
  • tick the options you want to sync
you'll see it's syncing my calendar, my chrome bookmarks, my contacts, my drive info, gmail, etc...

So when you go to add a new calendar item, just under the title, there should be a part where it asks 'which calendar'.  Pick the Google one (or your Exchange, etc...), just not "phone" or "my calendar" as those are ones that are on that phone, and that phone only.

Same goes for adding a contact!  (see below the calendar selection is highlighted in yellow, and the contact is the contact category is just below the blue)

Oh, almost forgot... what if you don't have a Gmail account?  Set one up... it's free.  What about your other email account?  Did you know that Gmail can bring in POP accounts from your ISP if you've been using it.

If you have Hotmail, or Yahoo, there are apps to bring those accounts in as well and sync the contacts/email/etc...