As a Top Contributor in the Google Product Forums, it is evident that there are many people out there that need assistance – seeking Google resources and help.  Sometimes we stumble upon people who might be a little less tech-savvy or just resort to a random tweet in the hope that someone in the twitter “hive mind” will come to the rescue.

 

First, check the Apps Status Dashboard

Before you spend too much time looking into an issue, please check the Google Apps Status Dashboard. It is a simple chart indicating which services may have been experiencing issues and usually some notes about the problem. Patience!

 

Free VS Paid Support Options

Many people will complain that Google doesn’t offer the traditional support that we might be used to with many other products and services. The truth is that it depends greatly on what products you use and with what type of Google Account you are accessing those services through.

Google Apps for Work

If you’re Google account ends in a custom domain like “Russ@somecompany.com” than you may have a paid Google Apps for Work account. If this is your work email address, you’re best bet is likely to reach out to your company’s IT admin before reaching out to one of the other Google support channels mentioned further down.

If you are the Administrator for your Google Apps for Work account, please visit the Google Apps for Work support page.

Some Google Products Offer Direct Support

You may also use a product like a Google Nexus Device, Google Play Music, Google Project Fi, Google Wallet, etc which are just a few examples of Google Products that have dedicated support.

 

Self-Serve Google Resources and Help

Google Help Center

Many, if not all, products have dedicated Google resources and Help Centers full of useful help articles, examples and links to more information. It is very easy to search for what you are looking for. To get started in, visit the Google Help Center and click on the product you need help with.

Official Google “Tips From Google Users” Playlist

“Tips and tutorials created by ‘Help Heroes,’ who are Google users willing to help others through videos.”

This is a new initiative aimed at provide approved Help & How-To videos related to common Google tasks and issues. It is just getting started but will grow very quickly.

Here is a direct link to the playlist.

Gmail Account Recovery (Blog)

This is one of my “go to” resources for helping users through tough situations – specifically related to Account Recovery & Security. This is a blog maintained by one of out veteran Gmail Top Contributors, Brett Carver. Brett has compiled an extensive resource that explains many of the most common account, security, and recovery issues. He has gone the extra mile to walk you through several processes including (but not limited to): Recovering & Reclaiming an Account AND Securing an Account.

Check out Brett’s Blog Here: http://gmailaccountrecovery.blogspot.com/

Gmail Miscellany (Blog)

Another fantastic blog written by another veteran Gmail Top Contributor, Wendy Durham. At Gmail Miscellany, you will find information covering some of the most common and/or confusing Gmail/Google topics that users encounter.

Sadly, Wendy Unexpectedly passed suddenly in December of 2015. As unexpected as her passing was, she surely helped thousands of Gmail / Google users with all sorts of issues. To me, she was the mother of the Gmail Top Contributor group. Wendy was always willing to help users and other Top Contributors with a “tough love” attitude.  Personally, I feel fortunate that I got to know her a bit, but sad that I didn’t get to know her even more.

Check out Wendy’s Blog Here*: http://gmail-miscellany.blogspot.com/

*Note the “Popular Posts” column on the right that lists even more posts like Gmail 101 and Wrong email! The GMail “dots issue”

Google Tips & Tricks (Blog)

Scott Greenstone, also a Top Contributor in many products, specializes in Inbox by Gmail “tips & tricks” among other things. He maintains a healthy and active blog that covers a wealth of information.

Check out Scott’s “Google Tips & Tricks” Blog Here: http://www.scottgreenstone.com/

Consider following his “Gmail, Inbox and Google Tips from a Google TC” collection on G+.

Consider following Scott on Twitter (sgreenstonenj) at: https://twitter.com/sgreenstonenj

 

Ask for Help

While you may often get support from everyday users, it is important to understand what the Google Top Contributor Program is and how to identify these “Official Volunteers” you may come across in the form of Top Contributors and Rising Stars. Please check out “Who Are Google Top Contributors” if you have a moment.

Google Product Forums

When the Google Help Center isn’t working for you and you want to ask for assistance, the official Google Product Forums are a great place to start. Unlike the Help Center, the forums contain hundreds of thousands of posts from other users, Googlers, and Top Contributors trying to help one another. It is primarily a place for users to help users. The forums are a place where you can:

  1. Search for existing posts with solutions to the problem you may be having (Highly recommended)
  2. Post a new question/topic detailing the problem you are having
  3. Learn more about the product of your choosing – including announcements and product alerts
  4. Get direct assistance from other users, Top Contributors and Googlers in some cases
  5. Help other users with their issues.

Visit the Google Product Forums and choose the product you need assistance with.

Twitter via #gHelp

Google has launched #gHelp on Twitter. Now, you can simply post a tweet with the hashtag #gHelp and your question and a super-team of volunteers and occasionally Googlers with come to the rescue. Rather than just posting a random tweet, you can no send of the #gHelp signal and make it clear that you need help.

Be sure to check out my post Need Google Help? Tweet #gHelp for more info.

Below is a live feed of #gHelp tweets and replies.