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Google apps

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Google apps

Google Apps
Developer(s) Google Inc.
Operating system Any (Web-based application)
Type Web productivity tools
License Proprietary
Website

Google Apps is a service from Google providing independently customizable versions of several Google products under a custom domain name. It features several Web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Gmail, Google Groups, Google Calendar, Talk, Drive, Play, Docs, News, Wallet and Sites. It was the vision of Rajen Sheth, a Google employee who later developed Chromebooks.[1]

Google Apps for business is free for 30 days, US$5 per user account a month thereafter, or $50 per year. Google Apps for Education is free and offers the same amount of storage as Google Apps for Business accounts.[2]

In addition to shared apps (calendar, docs, etc.), there is Google Apps Marketplace, an App "store" for Google Apps users. It contains various apps, both free and for a fee, which can be installed to customize the Google Apps experience for the user.[3]

History

  • February 2006 - Google created Gmail For Your Domain with an invitation-only beta, which allowed Gmail to be used with a custom domain name. It featured 2 GB of e-mail storage, and many of the standard Gmail features.
  • August 2006 - Google expanded on this service and developed Google Apps For Your Domain, incorporating more recent Google services, including Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Page Creator. Later, Google added a "Start Page" to all accounts, which is based on their iGoogle service.
  • October 2006 - Google allowed educational institutions to sign up for the service, which was retitled Google Apps For Education. A large implementation of Google Apps is at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, where 38,000 users have Gmail and in-browser IM capabilities.[4]
  • February 22, 2007 - Google launched a Premier Edition for enterprise, as well as making registration public for all Google Apps services. At the same time, all products were unified, and the online control panel was redesigned.
  • June 2007 - Email migration from IMAP email services was added to Google Apps.[5]
  • October 3, 2007 - Google announced that "security, compliance, policy management, and message recovery services" from recently acquired Postini will be integrated into Google Apps Premier Edition.[6][7]
  • October 12, 2007 - Google announced that e-mail storage for domains using Google Apps would be increasing. Premier Edition accounts now have 25 GB of space each (previously 10 GB). Standard and Education Edition accounts will mirror the Gmail counter (previously 2 GB, over 7 GB as of August 2008).[2]
  • February 28, 2008 - Google announced that Google Sites will be available to domains hosted by Google Apps. Google Sites allows collaborative editing of web sites and permits users to upload images and videos to their site.[8]
  • September 2008 - Google Page Creator and file uploader was removed as an available service for new Google Apps applicants.
  • December 1, 2008 - Google removed the Start Page option for new Google Apps accounts. They are apparently trying to transition new users to using sites instead.
  • January 14, 2009 - Google removed the ability to add additional users to Standard Edition domains and limited new standard edition domains to 50 users (a reduction from the previous 100).
  • January 29, 2009 - Google added Google Apps to the Google Labs suite. This allows users to add gadgets to their inbox such as 'Offline', 'Tasks', and 'Vacation Time!'.[9]
  • April 1, 2009 - Google added theme support to the mail interface.[10][11]
  • June 9, 2009 - Google introduced Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, enabling companies running Microsoft Exchange Server to migrate their email boxes from Exchange to Google Apps.[12][13]
  • July 7, 2009 - Google upgraded all of the services under Google Apps from 'Beta' status.[14]
  • September 15, 2009 - Google announced that it will provide GovCloud, which will host Google Apps in a separate data environment with enhanced encryption for meeting state and government security standards.[15]
  • March 9, 2010 - Google opened the Google Apps Marketplace, a venue for third-party, cloud-based applications to supplement Google's own online applications.[16]
  • May 24, 2010 - Google announced that Google Wave will be available to domains hosted by Google Apps in next generation (only US English). Google Wave was a live, shared space on the web where people could discuss and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.[17]
  • August 3, 2010 - Google Senior Vice President Urs Hölzle announced that Google will cease development of Google Wave.[18]
  • Mid–end of 2010 - Google started rejecting registration of dot tk domains for Google Apps (Google Apps Standard Edition at that time), but it did not affect Google Apps for Business (Google Apps Premiere Edition at the time) and Google Apps for Education (Google Apps Education Edition at the time). All Google Apps accounts using dot tk domains registered before March 2010 became disabled. When affected users try to use Google Apps, they get the following message: "This account has been disabled."
  • Second half of 2010 - Google Apps accounts are transitioned to the same backend as other Google accounts, a technical change that allows both accounts to receive new features at the same time.
  • May 10, 2011 - The number of free accounts for Google Apps (formerly Google Apps Standard Edition) drops from 50 to 10.[19]
  • August 3, 2012 - The Google Video for Business and Google Apps for Teams services are discontinued.[20] Apps for Teams allowed persons with a valid business or school email address to use Google collaboration services without using Gmail or a full Apps for Business or Education distribution.
  • December 7, 2012 - Google discontinues the free version of Google Apps.[21] A free one-user version is still available to Google App Engine developers through a special sign-up process.[22]
  • June, 2013 - Google discontinues the one-user App Engine version.

Different editions

Google Apps is available in a number of distinct editions. Each edition has a limit on the number of individual user accounts that may be created. Google Apps launched with a default user allotment of 200 users in the standard (free) edition, which was shortly changed to 100 users. In addition, users could request to have their user limit increased through a manual process taking (at least) 1–2 weeks for approval. In January 2009, the cap was changed so that all new accounts would receive only 50 users as opposed to 100, and could not request more without payment.[23] This was confirmed as relating to the launch of the Google Apps commercial reseller program. Existing Standard Edition users before January 2009 kept their old allocation, in addition to the ability to "request" more users, though these limit requests are now commonly answered with suggestions to "upgrade your subscription".[24] In 2011, the limit on the free Google Apps product was further reduced to 10 users, effective for new users. On December 6, 2012, Google decided to discontinue Google Apps Free Edition (Standard Edition). New business customers will be redirected to register for Google Apps Business Edition while existing Google Apps Standard Edition accounts will continue to be operational.[25]

The subscription level of a Google Apps edition is billed based on the total number of available users in the Apps account, and the edition features apply to all users accounts in that subscription. It is not possible to purchase upgrades for a subset of users: to increase the user limit, subscriptions must be purchased for all accounts. For example, an upgrade from a "Standard" limit of 50 users to allow up to 60 users would involve paying for 60 users, whether they are used or not. [26]

Google Apps Partner Edition / Google Apps for ISPs
[27] Same as standard edition with the following exceptions:
  • No limit on number of mailboxes
  • Google API is available to use to manage and provision accounts
Google Apps for Business (formerly Google Apps Premier Edition)
  • US$50[28] (40 EUR,[29] 33 GBP[30]) per account per year, or US$5 per account monthly
  • Text ads optional
  • Integrated Postini policy-based messaging security
  • Conference room/resource scheduling
  • 99.9% e-mail uptime guarantee
  • APIs available for Single Sign On
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Limited to sending email to 2000 external recipients per day per email account[31]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
Google Apps for Education (formerly Google Apps Education Edition)
Same as Google Apps for Business except for the following:
  • Free for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities with up to 30,000 users
  • No ads for faculty, staff, or students
  • Google may serve ads to accounts not associated with enrolled students, staff or volunteers [32]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
Google Apps for Non-profits (formerly Google Apps Education Edition)
Same as Google Apps for Business except for the following:
  • Free for accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit entities
  • No ads for faculty, staff, or students
  • Google may serve ads to accounts not associated with staff or volunteers [32]
  • Storage space 30 GB per account, allocated for use across all products including e-mail
Services by type of account
Requires Google Account Gmail address Google Apps
Standard Higher[33]
Gmail Yes Yes Yes (Requires domain name)
Google Apps Sync Yes Yes (using Microsoft Exchange) No Yes
Google Calendar Yes Yes Yes
Google Contacts Yes Yes Yes (Listed as in beta)
Google Contacts Sync Yes Yes (using Microsoft Exchange) Yes
Google Drive Yes Yes Yes
Google Groups Yes Yes Yes[34]
Google Sites Yes Yes Yes
Google Tasks No Yes Yes
Google Voice No Yes Yes
Google Analytics No Yes Yes
Google+ Yes Yes Yes as of 10/27/11

Criticisms

Analyst firm The Real Story Group cited several weaknesses in Google Apps in a comparative review which referenced a lack of administration, customization, and lifecycle services that might hamper effectiveness in large enterprise environments.[35]

Data security issues mean that online application platforms can be unsuitable where sensitive or confidential data is to be stored. This is particularly true for governments (where national interests might preclude storing information abroad) and large commercial entities (where any data leak can have severe financial consequences), and individuals (where ID theft can have devastating financial consequences or destroy a reputation).

  1. On March 10, 2009, Google reported that a bug in Google Docs had allowed unintended access to some private documents. It was believed that 0.05% of documents stored via the service were affected by the bug, which Google claimed has been fixed.[36]
  2. In the UK, it is not possible to obtain information relating to Google and RIPA requests[37] but we know that MI5 and MI6 make frequent use of their information because of quotes like, "but I can say that the intelligence agencies, police forces and other law enforcement agencies are the principal users of communications data"[38] in the annual RIPA reports.

Adoption

According to an announcement at the Google I/O conference in June 2012, Gmail now has 425 million users and 5 million businesses use Google Apps.[39] [40]

Google is making a concerted effort to increase usage, particularly in the public sector. The most recent example was the announcement in June, 2011 by US government agency, NOAA, that their 25,000 government employees would be migrated to Google Apps by year's end.[41] In 2009, Los Angeles, California awarded Google a five-year contract to provide Google Apps services to 34,000 employees.[42] As of early 2011, the City of LA was still in the process of deploying Google Apps after objections from LAPD officials surfaced about privacy.[43] In early 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shifted 5,000 email accounts to Google Apps.[42] On July 22, 2010, the General Services Administration certified that Google Apps met its cybersecurity requirements.[42] On October 29, 2010, Google filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior, which opened up a bid for software that required that bidders use Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite. Google sued, calling the requirement "unduly restrictive of competition".[44] Scholars have pointed out that, beginning in 2005, the prevalence of open standards and open source may begin to significantly change the way that public entities (which represent some of the world's most significant software purchases) choose to select vendors.[45]

Google Apps Administration

Several companies, such as BetterCloud and

ROI Analysis

Few independent studies exist documenting the true cost savings of enterprises adopting SaaS solutions such as Google Apps. One recent non-independent study from Forrester Research indicates that large enterprises can achieve up to 329% ROI and a break-even point of 1.4 months.[48] A model company of 18,000 employees was used for the Forrester study.

Resellers

Google has a very active reseller program. As of July, 2012 more than 6000 businesses had signed up to resell the solution.[49]

See also

References

Further reading

  • Meet the father of Google Apps (who used to work at Microsoft)

External links

  • Google Apps Help
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