Domain registration is not included, but Google has partnered with GoDaddy to offer $10 domains that are preconfigured to work with Google Apps.
Google Apps can be found on the Web at www.google.com/a.
What Does Google Apps Offer?
Google Apps offers Google-hosted services that act as if they're hosted from your own server. This means that if you're a small business owner, an educational institution, a family, or an organization and you don't have the resources to host these sorts of services in-house, you can use Google to do it for you.
These services can be blended into your existing domain and even branded with a custom company logo. You can also use the same control panel to manage multiple domains, so you could manage "example.com" and "example.net" with the same tools.
Competition With Google Apps
Microsoft will register and host your domain name for $5 compared to Google's $10 partnership with GoDaddy. Microsoft puts a limit on the number of users, while Google allows as many users as you'd like. Microsoft charges a flat monthly fee for premium services, while Google charges an annual per user fee.
Even though the two services are targeted towards similar audiences, there are some very specific differences. Microsoft Office Live would work well when all users run Windows, have copies of Microsoft Office, and use the latest versions of Internet Explorer. Google Apps will work well in situations where users have different operating systems, have easy access to the Internet, or do not necessarily use Microsoft Office.
Interestingly enough, both companies seem to be banking on the user's familiarity with their services as a selling point.
The Premier Edition of Google Apps offers the same services as the Standard Edition with the addition of:
- Up to 25 gigs of Gmail storage space per account
- 99.9% guarantee of email uptime
- Ability to turn off AdSense ads in Gmail
- Conference room and resource scheduling
- APIs that can be integrated with your existing infrastructure
- Email migration tools
- Phone support
- Third party applications and services
- Postini mail management and recovery
Many users would be more than fine with the free version.
The most useful tool I found in that group was the conference room and resource scheduling, which is a feature integrated into Google Calender. However, using multiple calendars in Google calendar could accomplish the same thing.
I could also see these features useful for a startup company with few employees and a lot of technical knowledge. It also may be necessary for companies that face mandatory data retention laws for email messages, since the email can only be routed through a gateway with the Premier Edition.
It took me several tries to migrate service from one of my domains, and each change took several days to verify, because I had to wait for my DNS records to be updated.
Starting fresh was extremely easy. Registration is a seamless process that just requires your name and address and your desired domain name. Payments go through Google Checkout, and you never even have to log in to GoDaddy. The account is preconfigured, and all the Google applications are turned on by default. I had an easy home page and sent email back and forth within minutes of starting the account.
If you want to customize your domain beyond the standard settings, such as using "date.marziahkarch.com" for the calendar, instead of "calendar.marziahkarch.com," you still have to change these things from GoDaddy.