What is Google Apps as opposed to Regular Gmail?

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Jan 31, 2012

 What is Google Apps as opposed to Regular Gmail?
I get the deer and the head­light” look every time I ask some­one if they are using Google Apps for their busi­ness. They typ­i­cal­ly respond with, I think so. I have a gmail account. Is that what you mean?” My answer is, No. Google Apps is a busi­ness prod­uct and is so much more than Gmail.” I’ll attempt to explain what Google Apps is and if you need it. Google Apps & How Did it Get Started  Google has prod­ucts both for per­son­al and busi­ness uses, and while the prod­ucts look almost iden­ti­cal, they are dif­fer­ent. Google cre­at­ed Google Apps (G Apps) for Busi­ness a num­ber of years ago yet did not mar­ket it to busi­ness­es heav­i­ly until the past 2 years. Google is famous for beta test­ing their prod­ucts, so they were slow­ly test­ing and intro­duc­ing G Apps to com­pa­nies all over the world and at the same time, cre­at­ing mar­ket­share. I saw G Apps real­ly take off after the com­pa­ny opened up Google Mar­ket­place, which allows oth­er busi­ness­es to devel­op their prod­ucts to link up nice­ly with the Google Apps’ plat­form. For exam­ple, when I login to my G Apps in the morn­ing, I can click a drop­down menu labeled MORE” with my oth­er busi­ness tools, linked to my G Apps Account (i.e. My account­ing soft­ware, CRM, Email Newslet­ter, Sched­ule Tool etc). This makes work­ing in the Cloud a piece of cake (no more soft­ware to open and close on my desk­top: all done with­in my brows­er). The third par­ty pro­grams that link up to my Google Apps account some­times pro­vide fur­ther inte­gra­tion with my Google prod­ucts. For exam­ple, Pipeline Deals CRM has a Gmail plu­g­in that allows users to link up notes, add deals, new con­tacts, task and much more, right from with­in their email. You can also sched­ule appoint­ments from with­in Pipeline, which will auto­mat­i­cal­ly sync to the Google Cal­en­dar. What Does Google Apps Do? First, Google Apps con­sist of all the Google prod­ucts under a busi­ness domain. These would include things like: Gmail, Cal­en­dar, Search, YouTube, Google+, News and so on. In short, Google allows you to have a per­son­al and busi­ness account. Just like Microsoft wants you to use all MS prod­ucts, Google wants you to use only Google prod­ucts! An exam­ple of the dif­fer­ence between per­son­al and busi­ness, instead of hav­ing your email be johndoe@​gmail.​com you’d use your busi­ness email johndoe@​yourcompanyname.​com. You’d use the pop­u­lar Gmail appli­ca­tion, Con­tacts, Google Docs and Cal­en­dar for your email, sched­ule, con­tacts and creating/​collaborating on doc­u­ments. The only major dif­fer­ence you will notice is that your com­pa­ny name can replace the Gmail/​Google Logo, access to the Mar­ket­place and you can man­age your entire com­pa­nies’ domain set­tings: add new users/​emails, change pass­words, give or restrict com­pa­ny access to cer­tain doc­u­ments and much more. Mobile Capa­bil­i­ties Google Apps for busi­ness works incred­i­bly well on Android and Apple smart­phones. I’ve tried it on both devices. My favorite is how it inte­grates with the iPhone. Most peo­ple don’t know this, but you can use the Microsoft Exchange Icon (use Google set­tings instead) to have an Exchange-like 2way sync with your Google Cal­en­dar, Email & Con­tacts. It works per­fect­ly! I wrote a step by step guide to set Google up on an iPad, and the same set­tings apply for the iPhone. You can also turn on Google Sync to see oth­er Cal­en­dars on your phones. The Pric­ing Struc­ture of Google Apps Free Ver­sion: The price to use Google Apps can’t be beat­en. It is free for up to 50 users of a com­pa­ny to get start­ed. The free ver­sion gives you 1GB of Google Doc­u­ment stor­age and 7GB of email space. To give you an exam­ple of how much 7GB is for email. I’ve been using it for about 3 years and have not reached my 7GB space. I do have to emp­ty my email trash to keep it below 7GB a cou­ple times a year and that is about it. I also pur­chased more stor­age space for doc­u­ments. For $5 a year, I got 20GB. I’ve only used around 2GB, so for $5 a year it is great. Oh, and the free ver­sion also has Google Adwords dis­played. I some­how got around that too. I installed a free plu­g­in to my brows­er that hides all the ads. Paid Ver­sion The paid ver­sion is around $5 a month per user. You get about 3 times the stor­age on your email (20+GB) and more files stor­age. All Google Adwords will be hid­den too. The only oth­er main dif­fer­ence with the paid ver­sion is the abil­i­ty to con­tin­ue to use Microsoft Out­look instead of the Gmail plat­form. Google cre­ates a two way sync for emails, cal­en­dars and con­tacts. I know of a few com­pa­nies that do not like Gmail’s look and feel and want to remain on Out­look. I have not heard too many com­plains regard­ing the sync­ing, but it is not fool proof. My sug­ges­tion is see if you can get used to Google and make the switch. I was on MS Out­look for 10 years or so and switched. It takes awhile, but I think you’ll find Gmail will work just fine. You can cus­tomize many many fea­tures in Google Apps. Should You Be Using Google Apps for Your Business If you are a small busi­ness that tends to be mobile often, I’d def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend switch­ing to Google Apps. You will not have to run expen­sive Exchange Servers in most cas­es, which will cut down on IT help. There will be a learn­ing curve and some time to learn­ing and switch­ing to a new plat­form. So do not make this switch if you don’t have the time to com­mit to learn­ing a new prod­uct. Also, if you ask your IT peo­ple, most will tell you not to switch. They don’t like many cloud prod­ucts because it is putting them out of a job. Believe me, IT peo­ple don’t like me! Most of them com­plain that cloud pro­grams lack secu­ri­ty and that Google can’t be trust­ed. Yet, most of the IT guys are in love with Microsoft. Can Microsoft be trust­ed? Microsoft knows Google is a threat and has cre­at­ed a sim­i­lar prod­uct: Office 365. As I told one client recent­ly who asked me about Office 365, stay with Microsoft if you have the IT folks local to you to set you up and get you trained. If you don’t have any­one you can trust or set you up, move to Google. Google Apps for Busi­ness helps busi­ness be more pro­duc­tive and mobile. You can pick up any com­put­er from around the world, login to your account and run most of your busi­ness in sec­onds! ______________ Side Notes about Google Docs and IT Pro­fes­sion­als: By the way, if you have not tried Google Docs as an alter­na­tive to Microsoft Word and Excel, give it a try. If you are doing stan­dard spread­sheets and doc­u­ment cre­ations, it works great. Oh and one final thing regard­ing IT pro­fes­sion­als. First, I respect what they do, and I am not real­ly an IT guy. They can run cir­cles around me. I’m more of a user inter­face (UI) guy. I know what works best for my clients. IT folks should real­ly spend time learn­ing more about what prod­ucts work the best for their clients, not just how to fix or set­up a com­put­er sys­tem. I get asked all the time who can set­up their Google Apps, cus­tomize sig­na­tures, find a good app for tak­ing notes, install plu­g­ins, set­up a smart­phone and many many more user expe­ri­ence setups. If IT pro­fes­sion­als spend time doing those types of things, they will always have a job!

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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