- by Andrew Levin, via Mosaic Technology.
So, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding Google Apps so I decided to take it for a test run myself. As it turns out, I was very impressed by the surprisingly simplistic configuration process. I was able to sign up, configure my account, repoint my domain, get apps configured, setup users, and email flowing all in under 30 minutes. Granted, everything was a vanilla configuration, but just being able to experience how quickly an administrator could get fundamental IT services up and running so quickly was very promising.
In a nutshell, I will outline the basic configuration process just so you can get a feel of how easy it is.
- I went to https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/domain/new in order to sign up for the free service.
- Followed the prompts to input basic domain information
- Created an administrator account
- Verified ownership of my domain by adding a C-Name record specified by Google
- Successfully logged into my account and was taken to the administrator’s dashboard
- Poked around through all the available settings to get a feel for everything
- Clicked the setup guide to learn how to create custom URLs for my domain, instead of using Google’s.
- Sub domains can be created for any of the provided features. For example, docs.yourdomain.com or email.yourdomain.com. All it takes is adding the proper CNAME value within your domain’s DNS manager and point it to ghs.google.com. Then you simply specify the sub domain name in your Google Apps admin dashboard and they take care of the rest of the redirection.
8. Reviewed the setup guide
I then began poking around admin dashboard to see what other options were available. It has a similar look and feel of other Google offerings which makes it pretty simple. Also, which is great, there isn’t really that much to it. I mean, you have your domain settings, users and groups, service settings, support tools, and you’re good to go. Although I only performed a cursory review, my first impression was that of a design objective similar to Microsoft’s Small Business Server. Google Apps facilitates the ability to not require specifically skilled IT administrators (possibly the skilled IT administrators based out of Wayne, PA servicing the entire Philadelphia area) to run and support the essential features of your business’s infrastructure.
My overall expectations weren’t to see an elaborate feature set, stunning graphics, or an advanced admin console. I expected to see a simplistic, but intuitive UI, both from the user and administrator side, as well as services that fulfilled the fundamental needs of small to mid-sized businesses. That is exactly what I saw. No frills here, it just gets down to business. The goal of Google Apps isn’t to rival the feature set of MS Office because that would be pointless. The goal is to answer the need for a simplified means of deploying, implementing, managing and using core IT services in a business environment. Impressively, that is exactly what Google Apps has accomplished.
Keep in mind too; this is only the first release…