Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Your Address, Their Apps: Using GoogleApps for your email, chat, docs and more

Many of us may already use Gmail, the simple yet powerful web-based email application.   Many of us have also set up our own domains for our organizations, teams or families.  I never realized how easy it is to put the two together with GoogleApps.

GoogleApps is a Google product that lets you or your organization essentially use and re-brand Google products.  That is, you can use Google's GMail or Docs & Spreadsheets application with your own domain name (www.mydomain.com).

A couple of weeks ago Scott Hanselman wrote "the definitive guide" using GoogleApps in a way I could finally understand.  Though GoogleApps has been around for a while, I just didn't get it.  Now I do and it is sweet.

A while back I finally broke down and registered my own name as a domain.  There's a little background to this, but I wanted one semi-easy-to-remember place to find information about us and our work in Kosovo.  I created a site with SiteKreator, a fantastic and easy to use site creation tool, and that was that.  But I never thought about coupling it up with email because Sitekreator created sites are hosted at SiteKreator.  It wasn't obvious to me how to use someone else's mail servers for my own nefarious ends.

Twenty minutes after reading Scott's post, I had set up Jeff@ mydomain.com as a new email address.  Now I can go to www.mail.mydomainl.com and read my mail on the web, and can go to www.docs.mydomain.com for all my online documents (while GoogleApps provides more services, those are the only two I've set up).  Both of these are run by Google and allow my website to remain unchanged.

What's best about this is that it is all FREE.  My website is hosted for free, my email (Gmail) is free, my documents are hosted for free.  All I've invested was the nine bucks it took to register my domain name. What's second best is that should I ever want to move away from using Gmail as the "back end" mail server, I can change mail servers without ever changing my email address again.

 If you read Scott's article, it look a little intimidating.  It's not as hard as it seems.  Give it a try!


via LifeHacker

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Jonathan said...

A few months back I took a couple weeks and set up my brother's company with a website and GoogleApps, complete with corporate branding and all the whizbang. Yeah. They hated it. Nobody used any of the applications; not even Gmail. I think I'm the only one who ever saw the nifty logo replacement. </rant>

Jeff said...

Jonathan, what a bummer! I can see not getting into a bunch of it, but what's not to love about Gmail?

On the other hand, I know quite a few people in my organization that probably wouldn't use it either. :)

Hang in there Jonathan...someone has to do the dirty work of figuring all that stuff out :)

Dan Dumaraos said...

We are a healthcare company with 30-50 employees and all working on different and disjointed applications for emails, calendars, DMS and instant messaging. I stumbled on GoogleApps and really saw the potential and promise it would bring to our business. I can now finally bring all these into a single sign-on apps withour maintaining additional servers. The next cahllenge will be for users to really use the other apps besides the mail.

Nice blog. Thanks

Jeff said...

Daniel, thanks for the comment. I'm having some of the save challenges. Getting folks to use Gmail hasn't been too hard. The spam filtering says it all. The other applications are a little tougher. it would be easier if GDocs, for example, allowed us to share documents across a domain (or across a white-list) rather than by invite only. I want to be able to put up a doc in a folder that anyone in the domain can access at anytime. The sharing functionality impedes adoption, in my opinion.

Good luck!