Google Apps FAQ
Making the Switch
We've listened to many businesses share what's important to them in building and growing a healthy business. What we've found is that businesses are looking for a low-cost, reliable, and secure messaging and collaboration solution that supports their business rather than challenges it. If your business finds itself identifying with some of these challenges, then you might be interested in considering the Google Apps solution for your business.
Take a look at the business advantages of Google Apps that our customers have found out for themselves.Business challenges:
- Cost and resource-draining IT challenges, such as unreliable servers, setup and maintenance expenses, and operating a multi-OS environment
- Small email inboxes
- Virus attacks, Spam and phishing
- Compliance to internal and external policies
- Consumption of disk space
- Inefficient sharing and collaboration
How Google Apps solves these business challenges:
- Dramatically lowers your total cost of ownership with an annual $50 fee for each user account. No hidden maintenance or upgrade expenses - since Google hosts your data, we absorb those costs so that you don't have to.
- Boost employee productivity with 25GB of storage per user - your employees can focus on their work rather than on their email quota.
- Lean on our 99.9% service level agreement for email to make sure your business is up-and-running.
- Share information, don't send it. Real-time document editing cuts down the hassle of sending email attachments and version confusion.
- You're actually safer with Google Apps. Since your data is hosted on Google's reliable and redundant data centers, you can stop saving your corporate data on insecure devices, a leading cause of data security problems.
- Better message control over what comes in and what goes out of your company with Google Apps' message security and administrative management controls.
- Access anywhere, anytime you have an internet connection - whether on your mobile device, laptop, or computer in a multi-OS environment (PC, Mac, Linux).
- Read more here.
Google Apps is a web-based hosted solution, which means you can access Google Apps at anytime, anywhere you have an Internet connection. You might hear this type of technology referred to as "software-as-a-service" or "cloud computing". "Cloud computing" or "software-as-a-service" is a computing model in which IT applications are provided “as a service”, allowing users to access these applications from the Internet ("in the cloud") without needing to maintain the infrastructure that supports them. A simple way to understand the model is how people currently allow companies to run and manage their electricity rather than generating it within their home/office themselves.
With Google Apps, your data and the applications themselves are served from Google's highly secure, scalable, and reliable data centers. Google actually builds its own data centers from scratch, so we're able to have one of the lowest cost-per-server infrastructures in the world; which means that those savings are passed on to our Google Apps customers. Your business is able to offload the infrastructure costs and the effort it takes to maintain an on-premises solution, and focus those savings on more strategic IT initiatives.
And since Google Apps is web-based, your employees can be productive from anywhere, whether they're at their own desk, using a different computer, or on the go with a mobile device.
Google launched Google Apps Premier Edition in February 2007, and we have seen an incredible rate of market adoption, including more than 2 million businesses. We are signing up over 3,000 businesses per day on the Google Apps platform. And let's not forget that Google Inc. itself is running its company of 20,000+ employees on Google Apps.
Our customers continue to find that Google Apps Premier Edition is a great alternative of a hosted solution to other alternate on-premise solutions, such as Microsoft® Exchange. Here are some of their reasons why:
- Lower cost: Google delivers Google Apps to your business over the Web at a fraction of the cost of installed systems. This means that Google Apps can provide a significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Mailbox redundancy, infrastructure upgrades and infrastructure scaling are all handled behind the scenes by Google, so your business doesn't need to budget time and money for these projects.
- Higher quality: Google Apps offers superior security, reliability, and storage space than most organizations can accomplish with an on-premises solution.
- Improved usability: Google Apps provides the simple, intuitive interface so that there's minimal training resources involved for end-users.
- Leader in Innovation: Google continues to demonstrate its industry leadership in terms of web-based innovation. Driving this platform forward, we have the leading computing platform and have assembled one of the strongest teams of computer scientists in the industry. As a Premier Edition customer you get to experience that innovation first-hand as product enhancements are rolled out on a regular basis.
To help your business make the switch to Google Apps easier, we've enabled a smooth IMAP migration from other platforms to Google Apps; this allows administrators to migrate a handful or a few thousand user mailboxes from an existing mail system to corresponding Google Apps mail accounts. We currently support migration from Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003, Cyrus IMAP Server, Courier-IMAP, and Dovecot via the IMAP protocol. IMAP migration is only available in the Premier Edition. If you currently run one of the supported legacy systems, you can get more details in our IMAP migration overview.
Our Google Apps solution for businesses is a packaged product of Google's best messaging and collaboration applications, among which include Gmail™, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Video.
You may have had experience using many of these applications with your email@example.com account, and while these applications are similar, we have enhanced them in Google Apps Premier Edition with these critical differences:
1. Google Apps is for your business
When you sign up for Google Apps for your business, you sign up with your own company domain name. So rather than having a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, you would create or maintain a company email address such as email@example.com. There is an IT administrative control panel that is built into Google Apps for your business where an IT administrator can manage and control the user accounts across your company domain.
2. Enhanced business-oriented features
Though our product engineers are continually enhancing our Google applications for our free consumers, they are also adding separate, enhanced features to the Google Apps applications that are more oriented for business purposes. Here are just a few things you can do in Google Apps for your business that's not available in our free consumer applications:
- Increased Access Controls: Puts your company in control of how your information is shared and communicated outside of your domain.
- Gmail: Saves all your corporate information with improved mailing list capabilities, and increased mail thresholds
- Google Sites: Understanding that a company intranet and shared documentation is so critical to success, optimized to provide you with the right storage quotas to address your business needs
- Google Calendar: Enables conference room and resource sharing, allowing you to schedule office conference rooms or other shared resources in your office.
- Google Video: Share internal videos with your company quickly without the complex overhead of many other systems
We understand that employees want to be able to work where they want when they want, to do so they are taking the data with them. Businesses are finding themselves in the position where more and more employees are burning corporate data onto CD/DVD, thumb drives, putting data on their home machines to work on in the evenings and weekends. This has created serous security concerns, because not only do these incidents expose the data to unwanted eyes but often times we lose the data permanently since much of data resides on laptops or desktops.
As such, we take the privacy and security of our Google Apps customer data very seriously. Security is core to our DNA at Google. Our products are designed with security considerations upfront, not as afterthoughts, and our Security team is comprised of some of the world’s leading experts in information, application and network security. Our infrastructure is composed of tens of thousands of identical systems, and we have custom built hardware. Our machines are built on a custom Linux software stack that is hardened and only has the necessary components and services to run the Google requirements, making it easy to uniformly update of all systems. Each single piece of data is replicated in multiple datacenters, so your Google Apps email is replicated to a primary and a backup data center, that are replicated in real time. We also undergo regular security reviews by third parties and SAS 70 audits by an independent third party.
We fully believe in the security of our Google Apps environment that we store our own Google corporate data in the same environment.
Also keep in mind the following:
- Google does not claim ownership of your data.
- We keep the data as long as you want.
- We delete the data when you ask.
- We allow you to take the data out of our system if you decide to switch to a different solution, or if you want to use your data in another application or integrate with other systems.
For general questions or technical assistance, answers are always close by:
- For basic instructions about getting started with Google Apps, try our setup guide
- For tutorials on the messaging and collaboration applications, explore the online training modules
- To access our extensive knowledge base, search or browse the Help Center
- To get questions answered by the community of Google Apps administrators, participate in the Help Forum
- For one-on-one help troubleshooting critical issues, email and telephone support is available from the control panel. Learn more.
In addition to messaging and collaboration solutions like Gmail and Docs, Google Apps also gives you access to a large variety of additional enterprise applications through the Google Apps Marketplace. These applications can help you with your most common business functions like sales, marketing and finance. Many applications can directly interoperate with Gmail, Calendar, Docs and contacts, helping you to do your work faster and more efficiently.
Google understands the importance of this decision and provides various resources you can share with your company's decision-makers to learn more about Google Apps:
- The Google Apps website is a great introduction to the service, and includes helpful embedded videos that demonstrate the apps. Visit the Google Apps website.
- We offer online seminars where you can interact with product specialists in a live Q&A session. View our webinar calendar.
- Customer stories including quotes, case studies and video testimonials explain how companies of various sizes, in different industries have benefited from Google Apps. See customer stories.
- Our automated training modules for Google Apps help you understand how each application works. Explore online trainings.
- Contact us to see if you qualify for our free deployment services offer. Contact corporate sales.
- Vikont Solutions Corp. can help you with deployment planning, implementation assistance, custom development and other services.
You have a number of options available to you if you want to experience either an automated or live demo of Google Apps. If you want more hands-on experience, you can also test out Google Apps for yourself before making a final decision:
- Watch a video overview of Google Apps;
- Watch demo videos of each of our messaging and collaboration applications;
- Sign up for an online seminar to interact with live product specialists;
- Begin a free 30-day period of Google Apps Premier Edition;
- Buy a test domain for $10 or use a sub-domain to try out Google Apps.
Google Apps Standard Edition is our most basic messaging and collaboration solution, suited for families, groups and community groups with their own internet domains. We recommend Premier Edition for businesses of all sizes that want to move their messaging or collaboration tools to a hosted solution.
The Premier Edition offers premium services specifically designed for the business space. Premier Edition businesses are able to take advantage of:
- Initial 30-day free period
- 99.9% uptime guarantee as a service level agreement
- Massive storage space
- Enhanced technical support via expedited email and 24/7 phone assistance for critical issues
- Advanced spam and virus filtering beyond standard Gmail filtering
- Outgoing message policy enforcement
- Message archiving and compliance - Migration, mail routing, and gateway tools to help you make a seamless transition to Google Apps
- Integration APIs so you can integrate Google Apps with your existing IT environment
- Professional service partners for deployments, custom solutions
See more details about Premier Edition.
You can get started today with the free 30-day period of Google Apps Premier Edition!
You'll be asked for your credit card information, though keep in mind that we won't charge you until the end of your free 30-day Premier Edition period.
Google Apps Premier Edition is $50 USD per user account per year. One user account is considered to be one email inbox. It is not $50 per domain. For example, two email inboxes (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) would cost 2 x $50 = $100 per year. User aliases and domain aliases are not charged as additional user accounts. See a detailed description of what's included.
We do not offer discounts on volume or bulk purchases.
When you upgrade your domain, all of your Standard Edition user accounts will become Premier Edition user accounts. You will be charged for all of your user accounts.
No, you don't. You only need to pay for user accounts within Google Apps. To forward mail for your domain, you can use our email routing feature. Email routing allows you to create a mail rule to forward mail for user accounts that don't exist in Google Apps. However, you would have to maintain a separate server or mail system to handle the forwarding mail which may cost as much as purchasing user accounts in Google Apps.
Learn more about email routing here.
Not at all. You request a total number of users at a domain and then you can delete and create accounts to stay within that user account limit. This is useful for companies with high employee turnover rates such as interns and temps as you will not have to purchase additional accounts to replace these users.
With the old employee's data, Google will purge it when deleted. Click here to learn more. You can also migrate the data away from Google, and you can get more details here. Keep in mind that you can't change the account's username, however you can add nicknames to handle the revolving door of employees.
Google Apps Premier Edition supports your business if you need additional archiving, message discovery, and litigation-hold services. You can add our Google Message Discovery service to your Google Apps Premier Edition account after signing up:
- For $13 per user account per year, add 1 year of archiving
- For $33 per user account per year, add up to 10 years of archiving
*Please note that purchase of any of the two add-on products listed above require a minimum payment of $1,500. For example, if you want Google Apps Premier Edition and Google Message Discovery for archiving needs, your total would be:50 Premier Edition accounts x $50 per user account per year = $2,500
50 accounts x $33 Google Message Discovery = $1,650
[Since the add-on Google Message Discovery total meets the $1,500 minimum requirement, you are able to add Google Message Discovery to Google Apps Premier Edition]
You can add the additional services at anytime throughout your Google Apps Premier Edition contract. You can pay for the add-on products for all your Google Apps Premier Edition users, or for a subset of users. However keep in mind the minimum purchase requirement of $1,500.
Absolutely. If you already have a company domain name, or need to create a new one, Google Apps can meet your needs. Each user at your domain will get a Google Apps account branded with your own domain name. Email addresses take the format 'firstname.lastname@example.org.'
Google Sites is designed to make it easy for employees to create and collaborate on internal sites for their projects, teams and departments. You can also make a public website with Google Sites, but most businesses prefer to go with a traditional web hosting solution for their public sites. Learn more about Google Sites.
If you're looking for more dynamic or advanced web solutions for your public web site, you may want to run Google Apps in addition to a web host. Any web host that provides the technology or platform you need to run your services should work with Google Apps. Vikont Solutions Corp. can register domain name for you and arange your hosting.
There are three ways to test email on Google Apps:
- Option 1: Use a different domain or create a test sub-domain (e.g. test.company.com for company.com)
- Option 2: Route mail through Google and dual deliver to Google Apps and your existing solution so both solutions are running simultaneously
- Option 3: Route mail through your existing infrastructure and then to Google. (Advanced)
Option 1: Using a different domain / sub-domain if you are not interested in testing email on your existing mailflow
It is very simple to use the same domain as your production systems with or without email. Just sign up for a few users with the test domain and you will be up and testing in under a day. Note that if you want to sign up your primary domain with Google Apps (e.g. example.com), you'll need to sign up for a new Google Apps account.
Option 2: Route mail through Google and dual deliver to Google Apps and your existing solution so both solutions are running simultaneously
You can have a subset of your employees serve as a pilot group, which will be able to use Google Apps while everyone else in your business can carry on as normal.
First set up your Google Apps domain, add a few users, and use mail routing to automatically pass through all mail on to your organizations current email server.
Next, switch your domain's MX records to point to Google. MX records may take 24-48 hours to fully propagate across the Internet, so you'll want to set up your Google Apps domain to pass any emails it gets onto your current mail server. Any system that has not yet received the change will still send mail to your existing email server while this change takes effect.
Once the new MX records have fully distributed around the Internet, and all your mail is flowing first to Google and then to your current mail server, you're ready for the next step. You can turn off the pass-through mail routing for email addresses that have been specifically added to Google Apps, forcing them to only use Google Apps. In this case, this would be the group of pilot users that you have already set up. If you do not want to turn of mail to your own server for any users, you can also continue to dual deliver all mail as long as you need to.
Option 3: Route mail through your existing infrastructure and then to Google. (Advanced)
Many mail systems support the ability to route mail to another system. Google Apps will accept mail when mail uses MTA routing rules or forwards mail to a domain alias after being received by your own mail system. We have step-by-step instructions for some systems, however we recommend taking advantage of our partner deployment services and making sure you have the right information about your system before proceeding.
See our deployment recommendations with process checklists and detailed tips.
Outlook users-only: For testing Options 2 & 3 above, allow users who prefer Outlook interface to continue to do so while switching the back-end to Google Apps
Our Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook makes it easy for your employees to transition to Google Apps by allowing them to use the familiar Outlook interface for email, contacts, and calendar. Google Apps Sync enables users to get the same Exchange messaging experience for a fraction of the cost, both on-premise and hosted Exchange.
Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook will automatically set up a calendar and contacts account for Google Apps, and help you set up an email IMAP account as well; however you can still keep your Exchange account active at the same time. This is useful for piloting Google Apps without getting rid of your Exchange.
Learn more and get detailed instructions on setting this up here.
Google Apps is straight-forward to set up, even for people without technical backgrounds. We've made it easy and straight-forward for you to see how the sign-up and deployment process works. Check out our step-by-step resources to help walk you through the process:
- Google Apps setup guide
- How to Manage a Successful Deployment
When planning out your Google Apps deployment, one thing to keep in mind that switching your MX records may take up to 48 hours.
*If your business is looking for full deployment, implementation, configuration, training, and other additional products and services for Google Apps, we encourage you to take advantage of our partners who offer these specific services. A full list can be found in the Google Apps Marketplace.
Businesses who want to run an on-premise email solution alongside Google Apps are looking to either:
1. Test Google Apps while running their existing mail solution as an interim transitional step between a on-premises email solution and a full hosted email solution.
2. Use Google Apps as a back-up to their on-premise solution, such as Exchange
Both scenarios are definitely possible with Google. Apps. Google Apps Premier Edition generally provides the flexibility to do whatever you need to do with your email, it's just a question of how much configuration you have to do on your end for your specific business needs. Once everything is in place, and incoming/outgoing email is being captured in Google Apps, you will be able to move over seamlessly to Google Apps should the need arise. We think that as you come to be comfortable with the cost, reliability, and convenience of Google-hosted email, you and your users will be able to transition over to Google Apps as a complete solution.
You can either a) route your domain's mail with an MX record change directly to Google Apps, and have it delivered to Google Apps mailboxes, and then passed onto your existing server,
or b) set up an intermediary mail gateway that can dual-deliver mail to both Google Apps and your existing mail server. This should ensure that incoming mail is available in both systems.
For outbound mail, you will have to set up your existing mail system to send your domain's mail through Google Apps.
We also have a directory sync tool via a Single-Sign-On (SSO) API so that your business' active directory integrates seamlessly alongside Google Apps. Google Apps Single Sign-on API lets you:
- Integrate your own authentication or LDAP system with Google Apps and securely login your users to Google Apps based on your own security standards
- Integrate with leading web single sign on systems, or facilitate authentication via Active Directory or other directory servers.
- Integrate Google Apps with websites that have their own username and authentication mechanisms, eliminating the need for users to log in multiple times.
If you are interested in deploying Google Apps, but require SSO or LDAP integration, we recommend one of two solutions:
1. You can use the SSO API to sync users' names and passwords when a user sets them on your system. While this will not keep your users' passwords exactly in sync, it does allow our system to have the same password as your sso. This also allows for increased access to our system beyond the web interface.
2. Google Apps' SAML 2.0-based SSO integration allows you to hold all your users' accounts and passwords without the need for Google Apps to hold any user passwords.
*If you need direct technical support with this deployment scenario, explore the professional services offered by our partners in the Google Apps Marketplace.
Google Apps can work with Outlook and other application clients, so your employees can continue using a familiar interface on the front-end, while Google Apps' servers works on the back-end, helping you save on significant costs for your business.
|Email:||Google Sync for Microsoft Outlook||Fast mail sync|
|Calendar:||Google Sync for Microsoft Outlook||Calendar sync for all recurrence patterns|
|Contacts:||Google Sync for Microsoft Outlook||Contacts sync for all Outlook fields, Global Address List for autocomplete and contacts lookup, Free/busy lookup|
|Apple Mail & iCal|
|Email:||IMAP||Two-way synchronization, Folder synchronization, and Manage multiple accounts.|
|Calendar:||CalDAV on Apple iCal||Two-way synchronization of Calendar events.|
|Contacts:||With Partner Add-ons or iPhone||Two-way contact syncing is available through additional partner solutions or with an iPhone connected using Mac OS X 10.5.3+.|
|Mozilla Thunderbird & Sunbird|
|Email:||IMAP||Two-way synchronization, Folder synchronization, and Manage multiple accounts.|
|Calendar:||CalDav on Sunbird||-|
It is very easy to have multiple domain names use a single Google Apps account where you own all of the domains.
You can centrally control all domains from one Google Apps account using "domain aliases" as additional domain names. These aliases are associated with your primary domain and function with your current set of user accounts. For instance, if you own the domains abc.com, def.com and ghi.com, you can create a primary Google Apps account for abc.com and add def.com and ghi.com as domain aliases. Emails addressed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org will be routed to the mailbox for email@example.com.
There is no charge for domain aliases and alias user accounts; you only pay for user accounts on your primary domain.
This will cause all users to have email accounts for every domain alias and all mail will come from the primary domain. If some email accounts need to only get mail from one of the domain aliases, we recommend you signing each of the domains up as its own primary domain under separate Google Apps accounts.
In this case, you would have to create a separate Google Apps account for each of your domains.
Each account can currently send email to 2,000 external recipients per day to prevent abuse of our system and to help fight spam. If one of your mail accounts reaches the limit, the account will be temporarily unable to send mail.
Google Apps is accessible from a variety of mobile phones, including BlackBerry devices, the iPhone, Windows Mobile and many less powerful mobile phones. We offer multiple syncing capabilities so that you can access your Google Apps account when you're on the go.
Visit the Google Apps mobile access page to learn more.
|Gmail application||Mobile web email access||Native email app||Calendar||Contacts|
|Direct interfaceEmail notificationsConversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Conversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Blackberry built-in mail client (IMAP)Supports Blackberry email push||Two-way Google Sync for BlackBerryIntegration with built-in calendar applicationRead-only mobile web access||Google Sync for BlackBerryLoads into BB built-in address book|
|BlackBerry Enterprise Server|
|Native direct push for email, calendar and contacts with Google Apps Connector for Blackberry Enterprise Server|
|Not currently available||Conversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Direct push, two-way sync (Google Sync)iPhone built-in mail client (IMAP)||Two-way Google SyncMobile web access with editing capability||Google Sync|
|Not currently available||Conversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Direct push, two-way sync (Google Sync)Windows Mobile built-in mail client (IMAP)||Two-way Google SyncRead-only mobile web access||Google Sync|
|Direct interfaceEmail notificationsConversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contactsPush to mobile device||Conversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Android built-in mail client (IMAP)||Integration with built-in calendar applicationDirect push, two-way syncMobile web access with editing capabilities||Two-way sync with native address book|
|Not currently available||Conversations, threadingEmail searchGmail contacts||Not officially supported||Read-only mobile web access||Not currently available|
Google's security and compliance services, powered by Postini, offer capabilities that many businesses use to satisfy their compliance requirements with a variety of regulations, such as HIPAA/FERPA, among others. Generally, an organization must decide whether its use of our products is compliant with any regulations the company may be subject to.
Learn more about our security and compliance tools.
Google Apps does not support Standard Edition and Premier Edition user accounts on the same domain.
If you need additional assistance, support, or professional services for your Google Apps deployment, visit the Google Apps Marketplace. Partners can provide full deployment services, user training, custom application development, data migration and additional apps that integrate with Google Apps.
Learn more at the Google Apps Marketplace.