Thursday, February 12, 2009

What can Google Apps for your Domain do for me?

I recently decided to set up Google Apps for my domain,

"Whether your business is moving everything to the cloud, just wants an affordable email solution or struggles to give employees access to critical information, Google Apps will help you stretch resources and work smarter."

This allows me to do a few things, for free:
  1. Email. Use Gmail--including the web interface--for all my company's communications. That means that mail coming from actually gets written, sent, checked and managed through Gmail, just like I'm already familiar with. (What, you aren't already a Gmail user? Go sign up and try it out today.) Why is this nice? Because I love being able to use all the features that gmail offers, like labels, filters, searches, keyboard shortcuts, etc. Once you get used to the web interface and what it has to offer, you'll wonder why you ever used that beastly beast called Outlook.
  2. Document sharing. We're always working on different documents, whether they're recipes, notes about past and upcoming shows, or copy for upcoming newsletters. And spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets. Wouldn't it be great if our staff could collaborate on documents without being in the same room? Now we can. In fact, there's no "locking" of a document like there is in a normal office setting. While you're editing your spreadsheet, someone else can come in and make edits while you make yours. Google makes seeing who's where in your document a breeze.
  3. Calendars. Oli's Products goes to several trade shows per year, and it's helpful for our customers to see where we've been and where we'll be next. With Google Apps, creating that calendar is very simple. Embedding it into our website is even simpler--just copy and paste some code.
  4. Corporate IM. When you're logged into your domain's Gmail account, you have a chat list right in the left side of the web browser containing all of your domain's users and online status. You can, of course, add and remove people at will.
  5. Sites. If you need a basic web page for something--planning club meetings or activities, for example--you can create basic web pages to suit your task using an easy WYSIWYG editor. No coding required... just drag and drop. Click and edit. Simple.
Perhaps the best thing (for administrators) is the admin panel. It boasts a simple to use interface that lets you command and control just about everything you could think of, from sharing options to resetting peoples passwords.

So, if you're a small company looking to get it all together, give Google Apps a try. It's free, so there's nothing to lose.