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Google Apps First Impressions

As you may have read, I migrated my mail over to the new Google Apps for your domain during the week. A totally painless procedure all in all but I thought I'd just mention a little more about what you get for your $50 subscription per user.

The main benefits of the mail upgrade are two-fold. Firstly it means mail is sent and delivered directly from and to my "proper" email address without having to set up any forwarding or masking of email addresses. And secondly my mailbox has now increased in size to 10gb. I haven't got anywhere near that volume of mail but it's nice to know that the capacity is there if needed.

In addition to the mail, you get the other Google Apps which can be accessed by anyone with a Gmail account... the word processor and spreadsheet tools. I've tried to use these in the past and they're not really much use to me, but I guess some companies may benefit from the document sharing capabilities provided by the tools. The app which is useful is the Calendar, this is now my main calendar interface and when used in conjunction with Spanning Sync to share the Google Calendar with iCal and my mobile phone it provides an excellent service.

Google Apps also provides a simple website editing tool, so now if you go to my company site, you'l find it has migrated across as well. For the internal company users (well me in this case) you also have the ability to set up the "start" page, which can be thought of as an intranet style portal which integrates mail, calendar and other content decided by the domain administrator(s).

And all of this can be easily accessed just by setting up some subdomains with your domain hosting company. So, for example you can set up mail.mydomain.com or calendar.mydomain.com. All very well thought out.

The only downside which I've encountered so far is that the old mobile Gmail client which runs on pretty much any J2ME enabled phone doesn't work with the Gmail for your domain account. This seems round the wrong way to me, the people paying a premium should get the premium service but I'm assured that this is being worked on as I type. I hope so, as the client on my mobile phone was really useful.

Overall though, if you run a small business, or even a medium sized business with standard communication needs then you'd be crazy not to have a look at the Google Apps site.