Basically, Google Apps is actually a specific collection of Google products and services that the company offers to other organizations. With Google Apps, your company can spend less time and less money managing IT services. Google takes care of all the hassles of handling email, worrying about security, and holding spam at bay. Google's own 10,000-plus employees rely on Google Apps to keep their business running. And if it's good enough for 'Google, it might be good enough for your firm, too. Google Apps comes in two main flavors: the Standard Edition and the Premier Edition. Both offer the same set of applications for your users. The box on page 484 breaksdown the nitty-gritty differences between these two editions, but here’s what it boils down to:
Standard Edition. This edition of Google Apps is free. You get all the apps, 6 GB of storage per person, a control center for administrators, work-anywhere mobility, and the great collaboration tools that make Google Apps so impressive.
Premier Edition. This edition of Google Apps costs $50 per user per year. When you think of what your organization can save in time, licensing fees, hardware and software maintenance and upgrades, it’s a great deal. Premier Edition offers all the goodies that come with Standard Edition, plus some extras. Here are the highlights: 25 GB of email storage per person, email migration from your current system, free phone support, APIs to integrate Google Apps with your current system (including single sign-on and user provisioning), email policy management and message recovery.
Getting started is easy. Google has designed its applications to be both accessible and easy to use. It takes only a few seconds to sign up and start using your first program. You just need a Web browser (the more recent, the better) and an Internet connection. If you're going to sign up for a few individual applications you need a Google Account. Some applications create a Google Account for you as part of the sign-up process, but it's a good idea to start by signing up for a Google Account, because it gives you access to all the apps. If you're a domain administrator (that is, you manage the domain name your organization owns) and you want to use Google Apps for your organization, first you have to create a Google Apps account for your domain (see Chapter 10). From there, you can create accounts for your users, and customize your domain’s apps the way you want them.