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In the Cloud with Google Apps

posted Jun 22, 2012, 1:45 PM by Goog@ HelpAsNeeded   [ updated Jun 23, 2012, 8:18 PM ]
Google generated 96% of its 2011 revenue from advertising, and the remainder from enterprise and other activities. While small as a percentage of Google's total revenues, this $1.5 B in revenue from enterprise and other activities is not insignificant. Google Apps, which is Google's flagship enterprise product, includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Sites, and other features. Google Apps operate largely "in the cloud," as "hosted, web-based applications that people can use on any device with a browser and an internet connection." Google Apps are part of Google's arsenal in its competition against Microsoft, and Google is actively promoting conversion from Microsoft's Office products, including Word and Outlook, through helpful instructions such as a document called "Life After Microsoft Outlook."

Here's an overview of the operation of the primary apps in Google Apps:

Gmail: Google Apps users enjoy the same hosted email platform operating Gmail, but with their own custom domain (e.g., HelpAsNeeded.com). Google is encouraging users to keep emails rather than to delete them, advertising 25 GB of storage for every Google Apps Business email client.

Google Drive (nee Docs): Google Drive is being rolled out as a replacement to Google Docs, and users are being encouraged to save everything, and access everything from wherever you are on whatever device you are using. Google Drive offers Google's own document creation applications for importing Microsoft files and creating documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, and drawings. Google's Chrome Web Store, similar to Apple's App Store, offers a wide range of applications from third party developers. Google has also recently introduced Google Drive for PC, that allows users to synchronize files from their computer to the cloud.

Google Calendar: Calendar standards have a long way to go before calendars from different providers--read "Google" and "Microsoft"--integrate seamlessly. Between different Google users, however, Google Calendar offers rich capabilities, including the ability to share and overlay one calendar over another.

Google Sites: Google Sites offers powerful yet an easy-to-create web site creation capability for internal and external use. Individual enterprise users may be given permission to create their own sites if the administrator so desires. Google also offers more robust capabilities, including Google Commerce Search (GCS) for retail sites for an additional service fee.

Google Contacts: Google Contacts enables individuals to share contact information with others in the same domain (information may not be shared outside the domain).

Google Apps, like many of Google's services and capabilities, has been steadily evolving and has sufficiently evolved such that it can now claim to be used by over four million businesses, including well known organizations such as the non-profit emergency response organization the American Red Cross, international food retailing group Ahold, consulting firm Capgemini, the City of Los Angeles, and the Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab.

Help As Needed can help you evaluate and implement, as appropriate, Google Apps for your business.
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