Google Apps Overview

Let's now take a closer look at the applications that make up Google Apps.

Google Apps Email

Google Apps Email is a free mail service provided by Google. It supports POP3 and IMAP, and can be used as a webmail client as well.

Although you will see the GMail logo when you access Google Apps Email, the two mail services have their differences.

Here are the most important differences between GMail and Google Apps Email:

  • With Google Apps Email your email addresses use your domain name, not @gmail.com. Thus you can have an email address like user@yourdomainname.com.
  • Unlike @gmail.com addresses, in Google Apps Email usernames you can have dashes (-) - e.g. you can have my-user@yourdomainname.com.
  • To reset your Google Apps Email username password, you'll have to contact your email administrator.

Google Apps Email supports almost all popular mail service options - mail forwarding, mail filtering, autoresponders, mail attachments. You can also import your mail contacts from a CSV file.

Another great feature is the multilanguage support - you can have your webmail interface in your own language!

Once you register for Google Apps and activate Email, you will be able to access your mailbox using a URL in the following format:

http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomainname.com

More information on how to use Google Email can be found in our Google Email tutorial.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar, as the name suggests, is a calendar web application provided by Google.

The interface of Google Calendar allows users to view, create and manage their calendar events. Google Calendar supports drag-and-drop, so you can easily move your events from one date or hour to another without reloading the page.

Google Calendar supports a variety of view modes, including daily, weekly, monthly and agenda views. Users can also Quick Add calendar events and set the number of days/weeks to show in their custom view mode.

Outlook calendar files (.csv) and iCalendar files (.ics) can be imported into Google Calendar. You can also import public calendars which contain various national holidays of different countries.

Once you register for Google Apps, you will be able to access your Google Calendar using a URL in the following format:

http://www.google.com/calendar/hosted/yourdomainname.com

To access your Google Calendar through your domain name, e.g.:

http://calendar.yourdomainname.com

you should go to your Google Apps Dashboard > Calendar > Web address > Change URL and select the custom URL option.

Then you should set up your domain's CNAME record to point to ghs.google.com.

More information on how to use Google Calendar can be found in our Google Calendar tutorial.

Google Docs

Google Docs is an online word processor, presentation, spreadsheet and form application provided by Google. It allows users to collaborate in real-time by creating and editing documents online.

Google Docs allows you to create new documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and forms directly from the web interface. You can also import existing documents, presentations and spreadsheets from a file or URL. You can even email a file and it will be available for online editing.

All documents can also be saved to the user's computer in a variety of formats (HTML, OpenOffice, PDF, RTF, Text, Word). All files are saved to the Google servers by default. Opened documents are automatically saved to avoid data loss. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users simultaneously.

The following formats are allowed for upload:

  • Allowed document file types: html, txt, doc, docx, rtf, odt, sxw
  • Allowed presentation file types: ppt, pps
  • Allowed spreadsheet file types: csv, xls, xlsx, ods

Once you register for Google Apps, you will be able to access your Google Calendar using a URL in the following format:

http://docs.google.com/a/yourdomainname.com/

To access your Google Docs through your domain name, e.g.:

http://docs.yourdomainname.com

you should go to your Google Apps Dashboard > Docs > Web address > Change URL and select the custom URL option.

Then you should set up your domain's CNAME record to point to ghs.google.com.

More information on how to use Google Docs can be found in our Google Docs tutorial.

Google Talk/Chat

Google Talk is an instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service offered by Google. Google also provides a free chat client called Google Talk which is available only for Windows.

Fortunately, other free chat applications such as Miranda and Pidgin support Google Talk, so even if you don't use Windows, you will still be able to use Google Talk.

And if you don't want to use a separate chat application, you can use Google Talk with Google Gadgets directly from your browser.

GTalk supports encryption, voicemail and file sharing. It also supports offline messaging - users can send messages to their contacts even if they are not signed in. The messages will be received when the recipient goes online even if the sender is currently offline.

Along with voice chat, GTalk supports video chat as well. You can check your chat history directly from your Google Email > Chats.

Google Sites

Google Sites is a structured wiki application offered by Google.

With Google Sites users can work together on creating and managing a Google Site. They can add file attachments, information from other applications (Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Video and Picasa) and new page content. You can add new pages with a single click, and you have full control over who has access to your Site.

Google Sites offers free page themes - web page, announcements, file cabinet, dashboard and list - so you can quickly create your Google Site.

Once you register for Google Apps, you will be able to access your Google Sites using a URL in the following format:

http://sites.google.com/a/yourdomainname.com/

To access your Google Sites through your domain name, e.g.:

http://sites.yourdomainname.com

you should go to your Google Apps Dashboard > Sites > Web address > Change URL and select the custom URL option.

Then you should set up your domain's CNAME record to point to ghs.google.com.

More information on how to use Google Sites can be found in our Google Sites tutorial.

Google Mobile

Google Mobile is a set of free Google products for mobile phones. You can choose the mobile device you are using (all major brands are listed, including iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia) and get free mobile apps for it. Some of the featured Google products are Gmail, Search, Maps, YouTube.

To download a Google Mobile product, you can go to http://www.google.com/mobile/default/ and have a link for the desired product sent directly to your phone.

Alternatively, you can visit m.google.com directly from your mobile device.