Google Apps for Your Domain – new features!

google.gifThere are new features for Google Apps for Your Domain which I reviewed some time back.

  • The start page

Just as with the ordinary “personalized homepage” with content, links and RSS feeds – you now have one at Google Apps. You can also preview your Inbox, calendar and search the web. You can customize the layout, header area and overall color scheme. You do this from the control panel.

  • Support for new languages

Now you can use the most common languages out there: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish or UK English. You also configure this in the control panel.

  • Custom URLs for your domain’s Google-powered apps

Now it’s possible for your users to use more simple domain names. For example, your users could access their email accounts at yourdomain.com.

  • Support for multiple domains

If you have more than one domain in addition to yourdomain.com, then it’s possible to associate all your domains together. So no matter which domain name and e-mail or calendar event invitation is sent, it will be routed to yourdomain.com.

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Windows Live Custom Domains for your domain’s e-mail

So you want the ultimate online e-mail provider for your domain for free? I used to use Outlook/Outlook Web Access (OWA) webmail which is extremely powerful. On another domain I went Open Source and used Mozilla Thunderbird/SquirrelMail combination. When I started up myuninstalledlife.com I decided to do what I ultimately want – uninstall everything. So I decided to uninstall Thunderbird and Outlook, get rid of OWA (not free) and Squirrelmail (sorry, love the speed and simplicity but simply too “basic”) and find another free alternative.

One alternative I found was Windows Live Custom Domains, another one was Googwle Apps for your domain which I also tested a few weeks ago.

PS. It seems like AOL will be offering the same deal in the future. DS.

Setup is quite straight-forward. You choose any live.com user who will be administrator. That user can add members to this account. Once members are added they can login at the ordinary hotmail.com. These accounts can be upgraded to the new Windows Live Mail beta which offers 2 GB storage and many enhanced features compared to Hotmail.

Within the live.com concept there are many many many features that you can be used together with your live.com account. Here are just a few that are released:

…and there are many betas available aswell.

Again, free is what I like and if you’re a company that needs to host e-mail for your own domain and don’t want to spend anything – this could be a good way of doing it!

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Google Apps for your domain

Been living with Windows Live Custom Domains for a while, I decided to sign up for Google Apps for your domain instead.

Google Apps offers you a free *) hosting of the following services for your own domain:

Google Apps E-mail Gmail – Offer email to your members with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser.

Google Apps Chat Google Talk – Your members can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free — anytime, anywhere in the world.

Google Apps Calendar Google Calendar – Members can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others.

Google Apps Domain Web Pages Google Page Creator – Create and publish web pages for your domain quickly and easily with this what-you-see-is-what-you-get website design tool.

The setup is quite straight-forward. Sign in with your Google Account, answer a few questions and then you have the possibility to setup 25 accounts. It will take a few hours until the MX-records have been changed and the Google servers has been updated.

When setup, all users of your domain get a personal login to Google where they can access their services. The services themselves do not differ from the public services. The difference is the administrative interface for your domain where you can do bulk updating with CSV-files, create e-mail lists, upload a company web logo, administrate catch-all addresses and configure contact-sharing, which makes sure that each user in your domain has every other user in their contact list.

When setup, you browse to http://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com/ and sign in with your account.

It’s free, and hopefully it will remain free. This is that they say in the fine-print: *) Organizations accepted by Google during the Google Apps for Your Domain beta period are eligible for free service for their approved beta users even beyond the end of the beta period, as described in the Terms of Service.

So what do I think? If you’re a company with on a tight budget – this is definitly more professional than using an @gmail.com or @hotmail.com. It works perfectly and there are a lot of service around Google so I’m sure they will add more and more valuable tools in the future.

However, you have to remember, compared to buying this service from an ASP, that Google more or less doesn’t offer any guarantee of uptime nor privacy. If this if of your concern, you better read the terms of service.

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