Google Raises Ruckus with Apps for Your Domain

Contributed by Terri Wells
Google Raises Ruckus with Apps for Your Domain
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The battle for the hearts and minds (and desktops) of computer users reached a new level in late August when Google released Google Apps for Your Domain. Many observers said that the move should clearly put Microsoft on notice. But is the service worth the fuss?

The beta service is aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses. It lets them use free private-label versions of four Google offerings:

  • Gmail – Online email with up to two GB of storage per account, and search tools and instant messaging built right in.
  • Google Talk – An instant messenger that allows audio chat as well.
  • Google Calendar – A simple online calendar offering that lets users organize their schedules and share chosen events (or even entire calendars) with others.
  • Google Page Creator – A WYSIWYG website design tool that lets you create and publish web pages for your domain.

Businesses sign up for the service, answering a few questions. They can choose to use any number of the offerings. For example, if a particular firm is happy with its email but needs a better way to keep track of people and projects, maybe Google Calendar can help. Google would of course be perfectly happy if a business chose to use all four.

If the items in this bundle of business services sound familiar, it’s because they’ve been around for a while. In fact, we’ve reviewed several of them. If you’re curious, you can check out our reviews of Google Talk and Google Calendar. As is also true with Gmail, neither service has completely blown its competitors out of the water, but many users have appreciated certain features (such as Gmail’s huge storage, which left its online email rivals scrambling to catch up when it was first introduced).

Be that as it may, these are pretty standard office applications that you’d expect in any bundle of productivity software. But there are some important differences. A close look at these differences gets to the heart of why many observers are arguing about whether GAYD is a threat to Microsoft Office.

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