Google Apps FAQ

  1. What is Google Apps?

    Google provide a collection on cloud-based (online) applications (apps) you can you use for your domain (example.com).  The services Google Apps provide as part of the suite are:


    • Email (Gmail)
    • Calendar - both for people and resources e.g. rooms
    • Drive and Docs  - file storage, document editor, spreadsheets, forms, drawings and presentations)
    • Sites - website and intranet builder
    • Groups - group email, forwarders and forums

    This means you can open a web browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari, and get access to your email, calendar, files or documents with just your username and password: no need to configure any software whatsoever. The amazing thing is using Google Apps you do not need a software package like Microsoft Office to do most things to run an office - and you can run it on almost any device being that PC Mac, Linux or even your Google Android or Apple IOS  smartphone or tablet!

    Back to the Google Apps FAQs


  2. How do we sign up our domain (example.com) for Google Apps?

    If you do not know whether Google Apps is right for your business then please contact us so we can provide consultancy and help you decide and, if appropriate, through a trial of Google Apps.  If you think Google Apps meets your requirements for a cloud-based service for email and calendar, etc, then follow the instructions below to sign up for Google Apps :

    1. Go to the Google Apps Pricing page and determine which edition meets your requirements (if unsure or an education establishment please contact us) and use the Start Free Trial button;
    2. Complete the registration form with your personal details;
    3. Choose if you want to use an existing domain you already own, a free mygbiz.com domain or to buy a new domain (if you want to give trial Google Apps before using your actual domain choose a mygbiz.com domain).
    4. Enter the domain you want to use (if buying a new domain enter your address details too and complete the domain purchase);
    5. Enter the username, the password you want to use as the domain super administrator to configure Google Apps, enter the "Prove you're not a robot" code and accept the terms and conditions;
    6. Congratulations!  You're signed up for Google Apps so use the Go to Control Panel button.
    7. If  you chose to use your own domain you need to verify you own the domain so you need to use one of the verification options, explained below, to prove to Google you are the rightful domain owner within 21 days of Google Apps sign up (if you chose to buy a domain or the complimentary mygbiz.com domain then you do not need to verify domain ownership at this time).

    Don't forget if you get stuck at any point, or need advice which option fits your business best,  then please contact us so we can help.

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  3. How do we verify our domain for Google Apps?

    Google offers various ways to verify ownership of your domain, some easier than others dependent on your current position.  Below follows the various scenarios that your business may meet, choose whichever best fits your situation (the easiest option comes first and they get options get progressively more technical).

    • We have a company website (e.g. http://example.com) we can upload a file to.

      If your website appears at your naked domain, e.g. http://example.com/ (not http://www.example.com, which means you cannot verify with this method  if you use Google Sites), then you will find the Upload an HTML file option the easiest option.  If you cannot upload a file or your website does not exist at the naked domain then see the next option, add a meta tag to your homepage.

      1. Sign in to your Google Apps control panel (go to http://www.google.com/a/example.com where example.com is your domain)
      2. Choose the Upload an HTML file option
      3. Google Apps will provide a file to download to your computer: save this file without changing its name (its name will look like google5eebcebdde5e5684.html)
      4. Upload this file to the root of your website, e.g. you should find it at http://example.com/google5eebcebdde5e5684.html
      5. Once uploaded and you can see the file yourself at the correct location use the red Verify button.
        Google Apps will congratulate you on verifying domain ownership and then you can continue to configure Google Apps.  If Google Apps says it could not verify confirm you can access the uploaded file, without needing to sign in, and have another go. If you get stuck at this point then please contact us so we can help.
    • We have a company website (e.g. http://example.com) we cannot upload a file but can edit the pages.

      meta tag instructions

    • We have a company website with Google Analytics

      analytics instructions

    • We do not have a website yet but can edit our DNS

      TXT record instructions

    Back to the Google Apps FAQs


  4. How do I change the icon that appears on the top-left corner in Apps?

    To do this, go to your control panel (http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourdomain.com), and navigate to 'domain settings', 'appearance', and you will see the logo options here:


    From here, select 'Custom logo', and click 'Choose File' to choose your custom picture.

    After this, click upload, and after a few seconds, your picture should appear in the box under 'custom logo'. Then click 'save changes' and the logo will start to appear on your users' Gmail, calendar etc.

  5. What are 'Labs' and How Do I Enable Them?

    Labs are experimental features which augment your Google Apps experience. Examples include an Outlook-style preview pane for Gmail, custom views for your calendar, and added Gmail buttons such as 'mark as read'.

    Labs are customisable for each user. To configure which Labs you want active, go to the area of Apps where you would like to customise your Labs, then click the cog icon, and go to 'Settings'. From here, click 'Labs' and you will see the list of Labs, along with descriptions and the option to turn them on/off:


    Remember to click 'save changes', or won't have made any difference!

    Using Google Chrome


    Do you need to use Google Chrome with Google Apps?


    You can use any modern browser with Google Apps- but Google Apps works best with Google Chrome. (see our article on Chrome). If you are however,  stuck with an old Microsoft Browser like Microsoft Internet explorer 6, 7 or 8 this can cause a problem. Thankfully our friends at Google have thought of that and these browsers can be updated to work with Google Apps by Installing Chomeframe.

    Google ChromeFrame

    What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and Google Apps? Factors to consider when making a choice.


    Since Google developed Google Apps, Microsoft had to respond with a competing cloud based office productivity suite. Their product is called Microsoft 365. Unlike Google (which has a fairly simple pricing model) it comes in very many editions and generally speaking is considerably more expensive (the fully functional editions cost about six times the regular Google price per month!)
    Microsoft 365 vs Google Apps


    As experts in Google Apps deployment we have obviously used and tested out Microsoft 365. While it is a good product, and of course using Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint etc will be familiar to most users we think Google apps wins 'hands over fist' in the following ways:


    - It's much cheaper!
    - You do not need to install any software (aside from any few plug-ins if you want to use Google videoconferencing or telephony)
    - Its easier to setup
    - You can collaborate much more effectively - in fact you can edit documents down to the individual words without affecting your co-collaborators 
    - Google Apps in practical tearms seem more nimble and fast even on lower bandwidth connections
    - The Google technology works very well in the multiplatform open environment. Microsoft 365 provides differing levels of functionality depending on your end device (with a distinct preference for, wait for it....., you guessed it a Windows PC running Microsoft Internet explorer!).
    - To get the most out of Microsoft 365 you need to install local copies of Microsoft office - this can take hours and has all the usual problems of maintaining, patching and operating a non-cloud based application.




    How secure is Google apps?
    Google ISO certification notice on the Google enterprise blog


    Security for everyone is a big issue for everyone these days, and Google are very aware that their security has to be practically the best on the planet.  Thus extremely secure, at the data level and at the physical datacentre level. In addition,  Google have the option to put into place 2 factor-authentication which means that it is extremely difficult for anyone to access your accounts.

    Based on their knowledge of search and how to use equipment in the novel and amazing ways, Google don't actually store your files or email on any individual server. Instead of the data is shared over multiple servers and is so-called 'sharded'. It is then encrypted. Therefore if a  malicious employee or hacker did manage to get access to data on Google servers they would have an almost impossible job to reconstructed it to being anything even vaguely useful.

    Finally, Google has received an ISO security accreditation (ISO 27001). Read about it at the Google Enterprise Blog.
     


    Is all the data safely backed up?

    All data is automatically backed up on Google servers, into at least two separate environments. So when accidents happen – if a computer crashes or gets stolen – you could be up and running again in seconds. In addition if you install a combination of a local email client on your PC or Mac (like Outlook, Apple mail, or Gmail off-line which is an extension to the Chrome browser ), and a local version of Google Drive you can backup all your data which is on Google servers to your own local PC.