Google not only provides good results on the web but also solutions for sharing information across the Internet, at first Google Apps didn’t seem that interesting I saw no advantage in using web based software at all then I forgot my USB drive for a very important event. In this day and age many companies compete for users but only a few provide solutions outside of regular that can be used by individuals and small businesses. Not long ago I decided that it was time to switch email provider due to lack of space and some form of application that could be used to share appointments between a small group of people, what’s needed?.
- The ability to use my own domain name
- Plenty of storage for email
- Mobile access
- The ability to share and communicate with a small group on my domain
- The ability to expand at a later time
After looking at different options both free and paid it became clear that Google Apps was the winner, some of the solution provided are.
- 2GB for email storage and increasing
- Web based calendar, allows for group use
- Easy administration
- I can use my own domain
- Some of the services can be access from mobile devices
Now if you don’t have a domain I recommend you get one from Godaddy.com, the popular .com TLD can be purchased for $9.99 a year (may change). After you get a domain go to the Google Apps site and sign up for the free standard account, enter your new domain where required, also don’t forget to create an email account with Godaddy. Google Apps requires verification of the domain ownership you need to either add an HTML file on the public web directory or create a RECORD (that’s my choice) review then click on verify. The following step requires a new “MX Record”, here is an example.
type: MS name: linhost.info. data: ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. auxiliary info: 1
Expect to create no more than 5 records, check your Google Apps account if it says “Active” you still need to tell Google that an MX RECORD change has been made, check your account again and the status should have change to “updating” wait for 2 to 24 hours to become fully functional. Navigate the “Manage this domain” link in the dashboard and create an email account, to make sure the service its working send an email from another email provider. Great Google is working but the problem is that to access our email or other services we get a long URL that’s almost impossible to use. Lets create a simple URL leading to our email, docs and whatever they offer. Go to the Apps Dashboard, choose the service, and pick “change url” it will give you something like “docs.linhost.info” choose “ok”. Go back to the Godaddy Domain Control Panel and create a CNAME RECORD follow the example,
[GODADDY.COM example CNAME] Enter an Alias Name:mail Points To Host Name:GHS.GOOGLE.COM Enter an Alias Name:start Points To Host Name:GHS.GOOGLE.COM Enter an Alias Name:calendar Points To Host Name:GHS.GOOGLE.COM Enter an Alias Name:docs Points To Host Name:GHS.GOOGLE.COM
Now when somebody types “docs.linhost.info” they will be forwarded to “docs.google.com/a/linhost.info/”, after the login page appears you will only need to enter the username and password there is no need to enter the domain name after the username Google already knows you are associated with that account. In case you have a Windows Mobile phone and want to sync Google calendar download Gmobilesync it will allow you to create or erase events from a mobile phone and lets your contacts know of changes to the calendar. The only downside to Gmobilesync is that syncing has to be manual. Regardless of the need for manual sync its a great tool. Google Apps can now be access from your phone web browser at the same URL “docs.linhost.info” and “calendar.linhost.info”. Google Apps should be working without a problem, ask if you have any problems.