Less than a year ago I wrote about a new venture that Internet giant Google was embarking on. After years of developing well-known and highly used and trusted communications and collaboration platforms for individuals like you and me, the company was working on making Google Apps specifically for government organizations.
If you follow the technology and business news at any degree, I believe that it goes without saying that it’s a rarity (at best) to witness a “trend-setting” company like Google blatantly and openly mimic the actions of a competing company; although I’m sure there are a few iPhone users who got a chuckle at that statement. But regardless, one cannot deny that Google’s business practices are usually seen as new and often unorthodox in a practice that often-times leaves Google one step in front of their competition. One great service that Google has been mildly successful with is previously reviewed Google Apps, a service that allows Internet domain owners to quickly and easily set up managed and branded Google services for their organizations. And while Google was indeed one of the first companies to bring third-party email and cloud hosting into the mainstream, the company has recently been subjected to stiff competition from a surprising source.
You see, Redmond-based Microsoft recently released a public beta of a new small-business targeted collaboration and communication system dubbed “Office 365”. When looking at the service last week, I quickly came to the conclusion that Microsoft was definitely heading in the right direction with their new service which gives smaller businesses and organizations cost-effective access to the same services (Exchange, Sharepoint) that are typically only seen in larger businesses, leaving Google with a bit of catching up to do.
For many of us – regardless of what industry we are in – email is a major component of our day-to-day lives. In fact, many people see email as something important enough to take with them on the go via means of their smartphones. The ability to keep in touch with family, colleagues regardless of location definitely has its benefits. However, as beneficial as it can be to have access to one’s email whilst on the go, the concept of having all of our most sensitive and personal information on a handheld computer is definitely a scary one. That mobile device of yours is a prime target for thieves, and is just waiting to be stolen. But in many cases the sensitivity of the information on a mobile computer far surpasses the value of the device itself. By eliminating the amount of personal information that is stored and accessible on your device, you can increase your sense of security dramatically.
Creating an entirely separate email account for your mobile device is simple enough. Some carriers offer an email service with a data/smartphone plan, but creating a third-party email account is far from a challenge. Services like Gmail (and Google Apps) are great in the sense that they provide IMAP and POP support, ensuring that your email account will be compatible with any device you have – be it in the present or future.
I love Google Apps. All of my personal domains use Google Apps for email, calendar, and documents, and I highly recommend the product to anyone setting up email and collaboration services for a domain.
I know I’m not alone in my love for Google Apps; thousands of businesses, organizations, and individuals use Google Apps for their domains. And today, after receiving government certification to ensure that their infrastructure was secure enough to handle sensitive information, Google may have another client: the United States government. You see, the Google Apps system that I and many other users enjoy, may soon be the collaboration system that some government agencies choose to use as apposed to hosting, managing, and deploying their own in-house collaboration and email services.
Do you use Gmail as a universal email inbox? Or do simply want a nicely formatted email signature? Well, after a lot of waiting, Google has finally made improvements to the signature feature of their web-based email client. These improvements are somewhat basic, but their subtle introduction to Gmail has made the service that much more amazing.
When you access your signature settings from the “General” tab of the “Settings” window, you will probably notice that instead of the plain text box that you used to see when editing your default signature, you see will now see a rich text box. This box now allows you to format your signature to your liking with bold, italic, and underline settings, as well as the options to set font size and insert images and hyperlinks. This is great if you want to include a logo or a hyperlink to your website as part of your email signature.