Sunday, August 27, 2006

Google Launches Hosted Communications Services for Businesses

Google began offering a set of business communications services, including email, messaging, calendaring and other web-based applications, aimed at small businesses that "the hassle of installing and maintaining software or hardware."



"Google Apps for Your Domain" allows a company to customize the user interface with their own branding and color scheme. Over time, Google will offer versions of Google Apps for Your Domain that are oriented toward the needs of a variety of organizations, from family websites and community groups to non-profits and small businesses, as well as universities, large enterprises, and ISPs.



Google Apps for Your Domain, an expansion of the Gmail for Your Domain service that launched in February 2006, currently includes Gmail web email, the Google Talk instant messaging and voice calling service, collaborative calendaring through Google Calendar, and web page design, publishing and hosting via Google Page Creator.



Domain administrators use a web-based control panel to manage their user account list, set up aliases and distribution lists, and enable the services they want for their domain. End users with accounts that have been set up by their administrator simply browse to customized login pages on any web-connected computer. Google said the service scales to accommodate growing user bases and storage needs while reducing maintenance costs.



Initially, Google is offering a beta version without cost to domain administrators or end users. Key features include 2 gigabytes of email storage for each user, easy to use customization tools, and help for administrators via email or an online help center. Furthermore, organizations that sign up during the beta period will not ever have to pay for users accepted during that period (provided Google continues to offer the service).



A premium version of the product is being developed and pricing will be disclosed shortly.



As a hosted service, Google Apps for Your Domain is available worldwide, though the control panel for domain administrators is currently available only in US-English. Google is currently working to make the service available to administrators in additional languages.

http://www.google.com/a

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