Jan 142009

I was so excited and thoroughly impressed with the ease and wealth of features that I received when I switched my domain over to Google Apps to serve all of my email.

After the initial shock of: “ZOMFG Look at all the sh*t I get for freakin’ FREE!!!!” I then noticed that I could not enable that awesome Gmail Theme that I came to love oh so much. I also learned that there were no Gmail Labs as well.


Well… tonight I came across another article from the Gmail Blog about a new addition to the wealth of tasty treats the Gmail team has given us in Gmail Labs. Interestingly enough, the link to this article came up in my Gmail Web Clips. Was this an article announcing the release of Gmail Labs for Google Apps? No, it was just this one about the new Send & Archive button.

So Mr. Smarty Pants… why the post title about getting Gmail Labs in my more awesomer custom domain Google Apps Gmail interface?? Well… I’m glad you I asked. It is because the author of this specific post gave a link to take you to you normal Gmail account and load the Labs module within Gmail Settings. And this link, looked a wee bit different than how it normally shows up if you were to just click the link to it within the Gmail interface itself. So… I grabbed the Query String portion, and added it to my personal domain Google Apps Gmail URL (geez, can that get anymore verbose??). And voilà, I get the Labs module. And it stuck! After hitting that URL, Labs is always one of the links in my settings! YAY!

So, if you would like this über k3wL feature in your own Google Apps Gmail interface, just take this Query String:  



And append it to your personal Google Apps Gmail URL which looks like this:



…where you would of course replace the “{YOUR-DOMAIN}” with… oh… I don’t know… your domain maybe…? ūüėČ

So the full magic URL would look like this (using my robnrob.com domain as an example):



Give it a try and let me know if it worked or not for you as well!

Thanks to a recent comment from Duane below, it appears that you also need something enabled by *you* in your Google App settings. Here is the link that Duane posted in his comment: http://www.beatnic.co.uk/2008/12/09/to-do-switch-on-labs-features-in-google-apps/

The meat of this post is towards the bottom that states:

The good news is that you can activate these “hidden” features in
Google Apps if you know where to look. As it’s not in the most
intuitive place, I thought I’d explain where to find it.

First go to manage your Manage this domain, select Domain Settings, then scroll down the General tab to the section called New Services and Features

Here you have two checkbox options for:

  1. Turn on new features (like group chat or colored labels)
  2. Turn on new features in this domain when they are launched to
    Google consumers (before Google supports them for organizations using
    Google Apps)

Switching these on should enable Labs in your apps settings.

Thank you Nic Price! And thank you Duane for pointing this out here!



Rich Mercer also pointed out to me that if you have upgraded to the Premier edition of Google Apps, then you have an additional option relevant to Labs:

If you go to the Service Settings->Email page from the domain dashboard and there's a checkbox to "Enable Gmail Labs for my users"

So… it looks like we (Nic, Rich and I) have covered all the issues that have so far been mentioned in the comments below. If you are still not able to enable Labs in your own Google Apps domain, please comment the details here, and we'll figure it out. Thanks again to Duane Haas for leaving a link in his comment.

  • Dustincpa

    Labs, chat, and accounts tabs in gmail settings are missing from my google apps users accounts, but my apps account has them and i am the primary apps super admin. we are using the free version of apps, less than 10 users, does anyone have certain knowledge of that being the problem? i have checked all settings to enable these in the dashboard tabs: settings, services, domains, etc. currently i have just uninstalled chat, am waiting a few hours to reinstall, and see if that helps.

    of your sugestions above, the url modification is too cumbersome for someone of my tech aptitude to correctly deploy, remember, and maintain should anything ever go wrong. the domain settings i have checked and they are as correct as can be with a free google apps account.

    this post was origrinally made in 2009… any new knowledge on this issue or availability of these features to user accounts in a free google apps account? it still bothers me that my primary user has all of these, but i cannot seem to get the features out to all other users: chat, labs, accounts, and even themes.

    thanks for your help!

    • Dustincpa

      update: reinstalling chat did not fix anything. however, making a user a super admin did enable the chat, accounts, and labs feature for that user.

      so now my problem is this: how can i enable these features for all users without making them all super admins? looking at the privelages for super admin, i cannot discern anything there that would give them “chat” feature. this is just crazy. i must be missing a setting somewhere that super admins are exempt from, explaining why making my users super admins is the only way i can seem to enable chat.

      i had a google apps reseller on contract to support our apps needs, but several hundred dollars later they had not fixed any issues but spent all their time trying to sell me apps from the marketplace.

      thanks again for your help! google searches on the net for apps support forums and questions yield minimal results; where are all the apps admins discussing their issues? maybe i am finding very little because the best apps admin forums are exclusive to the paid versions of google apps, which the unpaid versions cannot acces?

      • I am going to assume that you have suborganizations defined on your domain since without any suborganizations, all users have the same service on/off settings.

        So to verify all of your users have these apps enabled (or not), go to the ‘Organization & users’ tab. Do you see a pane on the left side with a tree control that has your domain name at the root (top) and a plus sign (+) to the left of it? If so, then you do indeed have at least one suborganization defined.

        Suborganizations are the only way I’m aware of that you can have users with different apps enabled/disabled. By default when a suborganization is created, it just inherits all of the settings from its parent org/suborg.

        Now, go to a user that you wish to enable more apps for. You should have to have the suborganization that they belong to selected. Once you have the user displayed in the pane on the right, with their suborganization selected on the left, click on the ‘Services’ sub-tab above the list of users in the right pane and to the right of the currently selected ‘Users’ sub-tab. This will load the list of services/apps and whether or not they are enabled or disabled. It also tells you (to the right of the on/off button) whether it is inherited or overridden. If you see here that the services you have been trying to enable for your users are actually turned on, then you have reached a state that I do not know how you got in nor how you can get out of. But if you see they are in fact turned off here, then BINGO! You can now turn them on and save it.

        Please report back with what you find following this process.

        — robbie

        • Dustincpa

          Robbie, thank you!

          “Do you see a pane on the left side with a tree control that has your domain name at the root (top) and a plus sign (+) to the left of it? If so, then you do indeed have at least one¬†
          suborganization defined.
          A: I do not have suborganizations.  There is no plus sign next to my domain, just the domain itself.

          Yes, I too checked the enable/disable services several times, certain I was missing one since there is a list of 20+. ¬†All services are “On” and since no suborganizations, it must apply to all users as you mentioned.

          To further trouble shoot this earlier today, I attempted logging in under my users name/pwd on a different computer, and Chat shows up along with Labs, Accounts, and Themes. ¬†But every time I logged in to multiple user accounts within the same domain on my machine, using multiple tabs (1 tab for my super admin, two other tabs for my users), the users’ accounts would not show chat, labs, accounts, or themes.

          On the other computer, I was able to login to multiple accounts (my super admin, plus user-level accounts) using a separate tab for each, and chat, labs, accounts, and themes were all present on each gmail settings page at the same time.  This helped me narrow down that the issue was related just to my primary computer.

          The first thing I noticed about my primary computer is that my chrome browser, which I use exclusively, has a google talk/chat extension installed and enabled.  For kicks, I disabled it, closed down chrome browser and reopened all three apps user accounts in chrome browser.  Chat, accounts, labs, and themes gmail settings tabs were present in all three apps domains user accounts.  Problem solved.

          Conclusion: The google talk (chat) chrome browser extension enabled will:
          * Limit talk/chat features to strictly the 1 apps account which is selected as primary for chrome.
          * All other apps user accounts opened in the same browser will no longer see tabs in gmail settings for accounts, labs, chat, or themes.  Interesting that the extension affects more than just the chat tab.

          –Conflict Isolated to Google Apps, not Regular Gmail–
          However, since regular Gmail (not Google Apps) and Google Apps accounts are separate systems,  having the google talk/chat chrome browser extension enabled with a Google Apps user will not prevent a regular Gmail account, in a separate tab, from simultaneously having chat/talk enabled, nor will it prevent settings tabs from appearing for: chat, labs, accounts, themes.  Almost daily, for several months, I successfully switch between a regular Gmail account in 1 chrome browser tab, to a Google Apps Gmail account (my super admin) in another chrome browser tab, and have never experienced this problem.  [Why would I do this, you ask? My regular Gmail account has my ported phone number to google voice, which is what I use for making business calls from my computer via GMail chat/talk, but my google apps account has a different google voice number that I use for making calls via Google Apps chat/talk.]

          • ¬†So it sounds to me that this/these issue(s) is/are resolved for you now? I’ve never used that Chrome extension before but that makes sense. Nice work with how you isolated the symptoms by switching computers.

  • no luck

  • Dean

    Worked for me with 2 parts to it … (1) followed the enable labs as outlined by Rich in Update #2 — I had already done that, reloaded, signed out etc … but no luck on its own! Then (2) I appended the URL with the string you mentioned, and it worked fine — now all okay.