Saturday, September 02, 2006

Google Apps For Your Domain

Google have launched a custom branded, integrated interface for some of its online productivity applications - Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and Google Page Creator. It's primarily targeted at small business that don't have the resources to deploy and maintain stand-alone software or host server hardware and it could also easily be used by families, clubs, community groups and schools.

Access to the applications is controlled by a web-based control panel through which an administrator can manage user accounts, aliases, distribution lists and services. The only requirement is that you need a unique Intenet domain to qualify but that's hardly a restriction these days given that you can get one for under £3 a year.

The service is currently a free beta and interested organisations or groups can apply at Google Apps for Your Domain. However, it's unlikely to remain as one of Google's free offerings once it comes out of beta testing but organizations accepted during the beta period are eligible for free service for their approved beta users even beyond the end of the beta period so it might be worth getting your name down while you can.

If they add Writely and Google Spreadsheets into the suite, it'll be a pretty well muscled package of applications. Of course Microsoft, always guaranteed to copy the real innovators, have their own online office offering in beta as well, Office Live, but more about that later.

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