Monday, July 23, 2007

Google Apps: An evidence-based impression

I've done enough with Google Apps, including some tech blog and notes comments, that I can provide some experienced, nay, bloodied, opinions. A short opinion, because I need to get to sleep.
  1. Google Apps are vastly easier to work with if you get your domain and application set through Google (eNom) rather than trying to convert an existing site.
  2. You can create and share a document, but that doesn't mean anyone else in your domain can see it. You have to send an email for them to open it, I think then it stays in their document list.
  3. The services are very loosely "integrated". There's not even a common "start page" link. You move from service to service. Blogger is sort of integrated through the esoteric and obscure "blogger custom domain" feature -- but Blogger doesn't show up in the service list. There's no maps integration.
  4. Google's Page Creator and file sharing functions are abysmal. The Page Creator is buggy.
  5. If you want someone to be able to edit a web page they need to be a full administrator. There are only three privilege levels: administrator, user and outsider.
  6. The Calendaring integration is clumsy. You can add a "Calendar" to the "start" page, but it's only a user's calendar. You can't add the shared organizational calendar or any other calendar to the start page. Calendar discovery is obscure.
  7. Speaking of widgets, there's an lot of junk in the widget collections Google offers. Google doesn't tell us which are written by their people, and which are marketing efforts.
  8. There are are bugs everywhere. Did I mention bugs? Also lots of missing functionality.
On the upside, it's free and the deal for non-profits is particularly good. On the downside it's very raw.

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