SEARCH BLOG: GOOGLE
Recently, I've been involved in a volunteer group [with which I spent the early part of this morning] that has many members, zero-budget, and a need to have a private communications and document sharing system.
One of my sons suggested looking at Google Apps. As a user of Gmail and Google's Blogger applications, I thought that was a great suggestion.It turns out that, for some reason, Google offers a wide-ranging number of free services for groups up to 500 people. Our group purchased a domain name [for a nominal fee] from Godaddy.com. We then used Google Apps to create an email system that had an @domain.com ending rather than the @gmail.com ending for the addresses. Further, we created a website with the domain name visible in the url even though it is hosted by Google Sites. Then we created Google Documents [spreadsheets, text, presentations] which can be shared within the group... either view-only or editable by all. And we created a Google Calendar that we put on the website which is visible to anyone in the group, but not to the general public.
All of this way done on a part-time basis over three days... and it seems to have worked flawlessly.
Apparently, Google Apps is being used by companies... even big ones... probably for special projects where the timeline is short and the task impossible to get through the corporate internal IT. If things are this simple through Google, one wonders what the downside is. As far as our volunteer group goes, there is no apparent downside.