We hear a lot about cloud computing these days, so I thought I’d cover one of the most popular and powerful suites of cloud-based services available today: Google Apps. (By the way, Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and mobile devices on demand.)
With Google Apps, all of the services are offered and accessible through a domain of your choice. You can use an existing domain name or any new, available one.
Google Apps includes the following . . .
Signing up for a free Gmail account will give you access to the applications which I mention here. Gmail is Google’s version of email. It features integrated search, tracking of email conversations and large mailbox capacity. Gmail accounts can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook or on a mobile phone.
Google Docs consists of separate applications for creating and editing Documents, Spreadsheet, Forms, Drawings and Presentations. Once a document has been created, it can be easily shared with others within your company or among other Gmail or apps users.
Google Drive acts just like Dropbox. Google Drive lets you store and access your files anywhere — on the web, on your hard drive, or on on your mobile device:
- Go to Google Drive on the web at drive.google.com.
- Download and install Google Drive on your computer or mobile device.
- Place files in Google Drive. They appear right there on your device.
Google Calendar is easy to setup and maintain. It is an excellent way to keep track of your time and activities. I use it to keep track of the entire schedule for my business. With Google Calendar, it’s possible to create and maintain multiple, color-coded calendars within its single calendar, which is great for businesses that must view and coordinate the schedules of multiple employees.
Google Calendar event can be created and shared with other Google users on your own domain or with external users who have a Gmail address. The easiest way to have Google remember external users is to add them to your Contacts list (which appears at the top of the Google Apps screen when you are logged in).
Google Sites is a free and easy way to create and share webpages. It can also be used to plan club meetings and activities, share information on a secure company intranet, collaborate on a team project and stay connected with family members.
Google is continually adding to their wide array of online services. Which are the ones that you find most useful?