This week Google has launched a new advertising campaign using billboards in four cities, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Chicago, each day the billboards will display a different message promoting Google Apps. I have been using many of Google’s products for the past few years, I also have helped many others setup and use Gmail as an alternative for traditional email hosting with great success.
Here is my five reasons to use Google Apps.
1. Google Apps, Free For 100 Users
If you are a small business and looking for ways to cut costs, Google Apps allows for up to 100 users on their free ad supported version. The biggest difference is the 25GB vs 7GB of email storage, as well as being able to force SSL on the premium account but not the standard account. You also get access to Google Docs, but with a shared account of 10GB, on the premium account you get 10GB plus 500MB of shared space per user.
2. Hosted E-Mail, Powered by Gmail.
Here at techimoto our email is powered by Gmail using Google Apps, we easily transfered our email DNS records and within a few hours we where reaping all the benefits of Gmail. One of the key features that drew us to use Gmail was the great spam filtering and the fact that you don’t need to delete anything, being able to go back and search for a receipt or other important message from many years back. Another requirement we had when evaluating our email setup was the ease of access, Gmail allows us to use IMAP and have our iPhones, Laptops, and Gmail.com in sync saving us time sorting and re-marking messages as read.
- Spam Filtering, after much research and testing it was concluded that the spam filtering built into Gmail was far better then other options available to us without a large budget.
- IMAP + Web-Mail, having all our systems and mobile devices using IMAP we are able to keep both our laptops and mobile phones in sync, in addition to that the Gmail web interface is also updated from IMAP changes.
3. Google Calendars
To keep track of my busy life I decided to use Google Calendar, I have my iPhone connected to their service using the exchange protocol allowing the phone to get updates when I modify my calendar. The best part of the exchange link is the fact that the phone will set off an alarm when I have an upcoming event. When I am at my laptop I will just simply login to my Google Apps domain and access my calendar via the web. I wanted I could configure iCal to download updates from the web.
4. Easy, Fast User Management
With Google Apps it could not get any easier to add and manage existing users, from the main Apps page you can add a new user with just 2 clicks and just 3 form fields. This is much faster then having to go login to my web hosting web admin panel and go at least 6 layers down, and then when you do get to the page you have at least 20 diferent options to chose from and if one is not just right the page wont work.
You can also make groups and group together Sales, Support, Web Dev and make it easy for emails to get to the right people and keep the clutter out of others.
5. Google Talk
Google Talk is a very simple and yet powerful chat system, alike MSN, Yahoo, it has a downloadable client (Windows Only, Mac users see iChat) and works the same as most other chats, but one very nice thing about it is the simplicity and ease of use. If you are on a public computer you can log into your Gmail and access the chat system from your email page, his allows you to be able to use it wether or not you have the client installed on your computer.
As for the Microsoft Office vs Google Docs debate, I still prefer a local editor and in my case that is iWork 08. But I do on occasion use the Google Docs when I reading an email that has an attachment and would like to save the time from downloading the file.
Now that I have been using Google Apps for the past few years I do feel that it has allowed me to worry more about the website and it’s content and spend more time writing my own scripts. In fact i rarely ever think “Is our email server working, did we get black listed, did someone relay spam or hijack a domain” all things that i used to think about on a daily basis. I do think that Google is heading the right direction with their service and do hope to see more great products come from them in the future.
Do you think that your business would use Google Apps? If not why?