Home – New Forums Starting your journey Anyone Using Google Apps?

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  • #971797
    Aegist
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    Hi,
    Has anyone here looked into Google Apps or cloud solutions for their business at all? I was talking to a friend about it the other day and realised how little I knew about it. It seems it is still pretty early days, but I do think that as the internet and technology in general improves, it seems obvious that Cloud based apps are the way things are going.

    For people who don’t know, Google Apps is basically working to replace your ‘desktop’ computer with an organised network of online applications which you can access from anywhere. The simplest analogy is the way that Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calander are competing with Outlook, Office and windows’ calender.

    In Google Apps there is now an open marketplace of third party apps that you can plug in to this network – ideally allowing a cohesion between all of the apps – and of course these apps provide solutions to all of the standard business and personal computer problems. Accounting software, CRM apps, website management apps, productivity apps etc.

    So the question I have is – what do you guys think? Will you be moving your software addiction up to the cloud in the near future, or distant future? (it seems inevitable to me…?)

    See more about it:
    Google Apps Homepage
    Wikipedia entry on Google Apps
    Lists of most popular apps in the Marketplace

    #1052266
    fredfarcle
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    I have tried Google apps and have not found a lot of use for it yet, mainly because I work alone and most of my client’s aren’t IT literate enough but I think this is the way it’s headed and a lot of substantial companies have made the move.

    More generally though I find I’m keeping less and less on my machines and moving it online the services provided now offer far better security than I can maintain, better backups and cheap or free data storage.

    Web development is changing rapidly in response too, It’s now possible to host a static Website on a cloud platform, or a web application in development for zip with a service like Heroku, all fully integrated with Amazon cloud and web services, if you have any doubt, Heroku was a small start up a couple of years a go (is run by about 30 employees) and has just been bought for well over 250 million by the biggest SAS company in the US.

    I think any growing company that doesn’t have a serious look at the potential savings of cloud deployment for IT infrastructure is possibly missing a big opportunity.

    #1052267
    RapidEntryBiz
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    I use Google Docs pretty much the same way as I’d use a USB stick. It the portability aspect that I benefit from in the sense that I can access some docuemnts from any computer. I still have to upload them though. USB’s have inherent faults; who hasnt had them simply fail to work altogether!
    If I worked within a team and had the need to share documents, such as in a project environment, it would be invaluable and much simpler and cheaper than running a server.
    I only use Docs when I need to access certain Docs in places other than where my laptop sits (its heavy and I can avoid having to lug it around).

    #1052268
    Aegist
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    It is interest to watch it all roll out like this. I remember the days beore youtube when I downloaded videos from LAN parties to my computer and stored them there to show friends and family funny clips. Now of course, the idea of downloading and storing “panda sneezes” on your computer to show people seems like a pointless activity. Everything is on demand on youtube.

    rapidentry, post: 64135 wrote:
    the portability aspect that I benefit from in the sense that I can access some docuemnts from any computer. I still have to upload them though.
    Only because you are still thinking locally – ie: You still do the work on your computer, and then upload it to Google Docs. I guess the idea is that if you just did all of your work IN Google Docs, there is no ‘upload’ step.

    Of course, there is the obvious problem at this stage that Google Docs really doesn’t compare to Microsoft office for functionality. On the other hand, 99% of all excel documents ever made probably didn’t use 90% of the functions that excel has….(for example)

    #1052269
    fredfarcle
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    rapidentry, post: 64135 wrote:
    I use Google Docs pretty much the same way as I’d use a USB stick. It the portability aspect that I benefit from in the sense that I can access some docuemnts from any computer. I still have to upload them though. USB’s have inherent faults; who hasnt had them simply fail to work altogether!
    If I worked within a team and had the need to share documents, such as in a project environment, it would be invaluable and much simpler and cheaper than running a server.
    I only use Docs when I need to access certain Docs in places other than where my laptop sits (its heavy and I can avoid having to lug it around).

    Have a look at Dropbox 2 gig of free storage, cheap if you need more, secure, cross platform, just drag and drop files into it and access your stuff from any computer, you can create folders with varying permissions so others can share or leave documents.
    I use it with client’s instead of email attachments, syncing is instant and you get a desktop notification of file changes, I don’t even need to open a browser. If I’m working remotely I just drag files from the desktop into Dropbox and they’re ready to go on the laptop, if you need to access off someone else’s computer you can access your account in a browser.

    #1052270
    CloudCeo
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    Hi
    Yes Google Apps is great for small business. 25GB of storage and total flexibility information can be accessed from any web enabled device.

    For the same cost as a small netbook small business can have a dedicated Google Server with their security and all customised to your current domain name. No more bigpond,yahoo,msn or hotmail accounts in your marketing material.

    It was featured last month on Sky News Technology and the video is on youtube.

    If you are in brisbane or the Gold Coast CloudCeo Pty Ltd can install for you and migrate any existing email to Google Apps.
    Microsoft 365 is really the only true Cloud Based competitor to Google Apps at this point however the only resellers in Australia are Telstra.

    see http://www.cloudceo.com.au for more.

    #1052271
    NickHumphries
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    I think Google apps are best used for medium-large businesses with all the things you can do.. I think it’s too feature rich for small businesses, although I think Google Docs is very good indeed. I’ve been using docs for almost three years now and when you just open it up and work anywhere is great! Even on your phone!

    #1052272
    Adam Claydon-Platt
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    The Cloud is fantastic! Definitely the way to go. These days you can work anywhere in the world, from literally any computer (no real need to carry my own anymore!)

    In theory the cloud allows you to work from smaller devices too (iPhone etc), but I hate them – I prefer to keep work at a distance instead of in my pocket ;) (plus i have fat fingers which makes smartphones incredibly frustrating)

    As many of you have said though, I think Google Apps is in a lot of ways quite unnecessary for small business… the basics of Gmail and Google Calendar suffice for me to collaborate with/manage my staff. I find Dropbox much better than Google Docs. Roboform Everywhere is fantastic for storing all your passwords in the cloud.

    With those 4 programs above, I find that’s all I need – of course it’s different for everyone, but I’m yet to find a compelling use for the rest of the Google Apps suite..?

    Adam.

    #1052273
    Dave.Goralski
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    Adam Claydon-Platt, post: 89854 wrote:
    The Cloud is fantastic! Definitely the way to go. These days you can work anywhere in the world, from literally any computer (no real need to carry my own anymore!)

    In theory the cloud allows you to work from smaller devices too (iPhone etc), but I hate them – I prefer to keep work at a distance instead of in my pocket ;) (plus i have fat fingers which makes smartphones incredibly frustrating)

    As many of you have said though, I think Google Apps is in a lot of ways quite unnecessary for small business… the basics of Gmail and Google Calendar suffice for me to collaborate with/manage my staff. I find Dropbox much better than Google Docs. Roboform Everywhere is fantastic for storing all your passwords in the cloud.

    With those 4 programs above, I find that’s all I need – of course it’s different for everyone, but I’m yet to find a compelling use for the rest of the Google Apps suite..?

    Adam.

    Why use gmail and google calendar when you can use google apps for free with your own @(your domain) instead of @gmail.com

    #1052274
    B Cooper
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    To put it simply, if you want to be able to backup files and access them from anywhere with internet access, then no harm would be done in trying out Google Apps.

    Otherwise, if you want to be able to sync files across all of your computers and iphone or android, DropBox (free version) would be a good choice.

    Brentis :)

    #1052275
    Sholto_BoxFreeIT
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    One of the hidden advantages of Google Apps is the Marketplace – lots of other SaaS programs plug into Google Apps which means you can share your contacts with Capsule CRM, eg.

    I’ve trialled Office 365 and am a Google Apps user. I think for people in these forums Google Apps is the first port of call unless you find the text-heavy interface a little hard to swallow. Office 365 is a safe, familiar environment for Windows users.

    Google Apps is also free for up to 10 users. It’s a lot of software for that price…

    Here’s a link to some case studies, a walkthrough and comparison with Office 365, which is the other big cloud suite [/shameless plug]
    http://boxfreeit.com.au/Productivity/google-apps-vs-office-365-buying-advice.html

    Whichever you choose, cloud is definitely the way to go for small business.

    #1052276
    PhillipHobbs
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    #1052277
    Five Star PA
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    I have to say Google Apps is fantastic. I love it. I’ve only fairly recently changed over and have converted some of my clients as well. I’m a Virtual Assistant so I use it with a couple of clients to share their email and it works fantastically. Doesn’t matter where or when I log in I can see exactly where we’re up to.

    I also use it for my own business for email and I disagree that it’s not necessary for small business. As I’ve had PDA phones for years but it’s still easier on a computer. Once you get a handle on how to use it properly it’s fantastic. I also have my kids accounts on there so I can see at anytime what they’re up to.

    I use dropbox for my main files though, all my clients use dropbox now and it works really really well. Next time my laptop dies, I don’t have to worry I simply change chairs, get on the kids computer even and I’ve lost nothing…too easy!

    Meredith
    http://www.fivestarpa.com

    #1052278
    Adam Claydon-Platt
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    Hey all,

    Just to clarify, I agree that using Google Apps is great for the basic functions of Gmail + Google Calendar, but I just haven’t found much use for all the other Apps available through it – does anyone use any other of the Google Apps suite besides Gmail + Calendar?

    Hope you all had a great weekend!

    Adam.

    #1052279
    Dane Pymble
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    Hi Aegist

    We have been using Google Apps for about 6months. We use the Gmail server (switched from Microsoft Exchange) to receive our company emails. I also use the calendar function.

    I still prefer Microsoft Office for documents. Google’s documents are good if you are wanting to share them with people outside your firm to avoid having to email documents back and forth but for static documents I still prefer MS Office.

    We use Box.Net to store our company documents. Box.net give you 500GB of storage per user at $15 per month per user. You can access your files on the net or via your desktop with their Box Synch app.

    We use to pay around $12-13K pa for IT & T. Since making these changes we have effectively halved that.

    Hope this helps!

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