Last month I posted an article entitled “6 Reasons to Get Google Apps for Your Domain Today” that outlined some of the biggest and most important reasons for getting Google Apps for your site, no mater how big or small.
However, earlier this week, added several more reasons to consider the move. Google added a whopping 60 new applications to the system, increasing the number of available apps available ten-fold.
For the first time, users can sign into services such as Google Reader, Google Voice, Blogger, YouTube and other Google services using their Google Apps account, eliminating the need to keep a separate Google account.
Best of all, the change is immediate for new accounts, making now the perfect time to give Google Apps a shot if you’ve been on the fence for one reason or another.
What the Google Apps Announcement Means
Basically, what Google did was upgrade its account management system so that a Google Apps login can be used to access nearly all of Google’s various services, including those that, previously, required a separate Google account.
Previously, those who wanted to use Google Apps often had to maintain two Google accounts, one for their email, Google Docs, etc. and one for everything else (Blogger, YouTube, Google Reader, etc.). Especially since those accounts often had the same email address, this could cause a great deal of confusion.
However, with this change, a Google Apps account is just as good as a regular Google account and can be used just as broadly, meaning that all one needs is their apps account in order to do everything they need.
Best of all, if you have a conflicting account, meaning a Google account with the same email address, Google will port your data over to your Google Apps account. No data will be lost though your logins will change for many services as you will have to use your Google Apps password.
This means you have nothing to lose by doing the conversion though you may, in the long run, avoid a great deal of confusion.
Another powerful feature of the new account system is aimed at enterprise and businesses customers, namely the ability to determine which apps are available and who can access them.
All Google Apps users, including the free ones, can enable or disable apps from their domain’s control panel. However, those with paid Google Apps for Business accounts can select certain groups to have access to certain tools, such as giving the marketing department access to Blogger and Adsense while giving accounting Google Checkout.
It’s a pretty neat feature that makes it easy to control what you and those who use your domain have access to.
Some Minor Hiccups
I did have one small issue when trying to merge my Google account and my Google Apps one. I was told that my user could not be transitioned at this time as Google Voice, a service I use, wasn’t quite ready for importation. As such, I would be notified when my account could be updated.
Still, no data was lost and no harm was done, but it was frustrating to start the transition process only to be told that I couldn’t finish it. Hopefully Google will have this straightened out over the next month or so and I’ll be able to complete the process.
All in all, the move is a very good one and is a great boon for anyone who wants to use Google Apps but didn’t want the hassle of keeping two Google accounts.
However, if you have a Google Apps account now, you may want to wait a few months to do the transition or just wait for it to happen naturally. If you don’t, now might be a great time to sign up and begin the process of moving your data over so that you have all of your accounts under one roof and all of the benefits of having Google host your email.
In the end, it’s really a small change in that it doesn’t create any new services for Google Apps customers, just changes the way they access them, but this minor shift brings Google Apps to the forefront and make the suite a much more powerful tool for businesses and a more appealing solution for webmasters of all sizes.
For those who have been undecided, today may be the day to finally get a Google Apps account.