What is Google Apps?

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Google Apps is a set of office productivity tools provided by Google for the enterprise market. It all started with the launch of google's version of free email, the GMAIL. The pure email platform has slowly evolved as google continued to add more features to it. Chat was embedded with the launch of Google Talk. Audio as well as Video chat was later supported. Google Docs provided the ability to upload, share and organise documents. Calendaring was supported. 

With Google Apps, google has grouped all these services together gmail, calendar, video, talk, sites and docs as a single package with single sign on for enterprise customers. There are two versions of it. The standard version is free and comes with all the features with smaller storage space and no support. The Premier edition is charged at USD 50 / per user per year and comes with 25GB space per user and 24/7 support.

When Google Apps was launched it was initially a direct business model targeting SMEs. However google soon found that supporting SMEs directly is a big challenge and impossible. Therefore Google started the Google Apps Reseller model where, across the globe resellers can sign up with google and resell google apps in their region. In return google apps resellers get to retain customers, provide consultancy, migration and support for their end customers and earn recurring revenue.

This is definitely a threat to the Microsoft Hosted Exchange model. Microsoft is now working on its Microsoft Online services model to counter this threat. Google Apps take up rate has been quite high, especially with so many google apps resellers mushrooming around the globe. However the ones that will really succeed are those with technical competency to handhold SMEs during their migration from their existing, POP accounts and other email servers.

What are the components of Google Apps?

Email

  • Get control of spam – Advanced filters keep spam from your inbox so you can focus on messages that matter.
  • Keep all your important email – 25 GB of storage per user lets you keep just about anything you think may be important down the road.
  • Unified communications – Email, instant message, and make high-quality voice and video communication without launching a separate application.
    Voice and video chat from your inbox 
    IM from your inbox
  • Find old messages instantly – Google search technology is built in, so you can find emails and instant message conversations quickly.
  • Prevent data leaks - Create custom inbound and outbound policies to keep sensitive information safe with Email Security.

Calendar

  • Get people together easily – Just pick a time (based on when people are free) and enter meeting details. Google Calendar will send invitations and keep track of RSVPs.
  • Share project calendars – Share whole calendars company-wide or with specific people. Coworkers can have editing rights and see shared events alongside their own schedules.
  • Show event information in context – Embed an internal calendar in Google Sites or publicly on your website, no programming required.

Google Video

  • Share rich video information – Video sharing makes important communications like internal trainings and corporate announcements more personal, engaging and effective.
  • Keep videos secure and private – Employees can securely share videos with select coworkers or everyone at the company without making confidential information public.
  • No large files or complex infrastructure – Google securely hosts and streams your videos, so employees don't need to share videos over email, or burden IT for a video solution.
  • Everyone at your company can contribute – Employees can share videos instantly. Viewing and annotating doesn't require any special software, just a standard browser.

Google Sites

  • Keep company information secure – Set consistent sharing permissions across all company sites.
  • Make useful information accessible – Create an intranet or let project teams build sites to capture and share departmental knowledge.
  • Share files simply – File versioning is done automatically, so it's easy for people to make updates and get the latest version. Supported formats include .doc, .xls, .csv, .ppt, .txt, .pdf and more.
  • Unify content from many sources – Display Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, YouTube videos, Picasa slideshows and gadgets without any programming skills.
  • Find information instantly – Google search technology is built-in, so employees can find useful company information as easily as searching the Internet.
  • Let employees contribute – No coding or system expertise is required to update pages or create new internal sites, so anyone can add to shared knowledge.

Google Docs

  • Protect your company's documents – Administrators have fine-grained controls to manage how broadly employees can share corporate documents.
  • Work together without the hassles of attachments – Coworkers can share the same online copy of each doc, spreadsheet or presentation. All revisions are saved and recoverable.
  • Present and publish through the web – Presentations can be delivered to remote audiences, and documents and spreadsheets can be published internally for employees to view.
  • Interoperate with traditional file formats – Import and collaboratively edit or publish from .doc, .xls, .csv, .ppt, .txt, .html, .pdf and other formats. You can export as well.

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