Review: Google Apps For Your Domain; Competes With Microsoft Office For Small Business

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, August 28, 2006

Google Apps for your domainGoogle Apps for Your Domain provides communication and collaboration tools for your organization, customizable with your branding, color scheme and content through their control panel. You don’t need any hardware or software to install or maintain. In short you get GMail, IM, Google Calendar & web page design and hosting tools for free for your company and with your branding.

Within the control panel, you’ll create the list of user accounts for your domain. If you’re transitioning to Google Apps for Your Domain from another email system, you’ll want to make sure that every existing mail user has a matching account within your control panel user list. It has a bulk account update tool. You can create user aliases and mailing lists.

You’ll then choose the services that you want for your domain - Gmail, instant messaging, Google Calendar and web page design and hosting tools.

To fully activate your services that you’ve selected, you’ll need to make a few changes to your domain’s DNS records. Use ZoneEdit if you need free and easy DNS service.

Initially, the Google Apps will be free, but later this year Google plans to begin selling a version that includes additional features as well as technical support.

You can signup your company here. Surprisingly they do not ask too many intrusive questions on signup.

The downsides at this time are:
1. You can only signup a single domain per account.
2. You are limited by the number of email accounts you specify at startup. I chose 50 and I am limited to create 50 accounts only.

As a small business owner I welcome Google Apps initiative. This will be a boon for companies who do not have sufficient resources to configure and manage on their own. Their initial offering is too attractive to pass. I have signed up for one of my domain. I think they should also provide free DNS service to round up their offering.

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