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Google Apps

November 10, 2011
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What are Google Apps? In order to better understand what these are we need to break down this statement into its constituents- Google & Apps. Google is the world’s most popular internet search engine. Apps on the other hand refer to an abbreviation for applications which refer to software that can run on a computer,a phone, the internet or any other electronic device for that matter. Google Apps is therefore a collection of web based programs and file storage that run in a web browser without requiring users to buy and install any software programs.The users simply need to log into the service to access their files and the tools to manipulate them.

There are numerous benefits of using Google Apps. One of the benefits is that you can share your videos internally and you also stand to benefit from additional email security features – at a small fee ofcourse. That said; there are two versions of this service – the free version and the premium version. In consideration for educational institutions, Google has also introduced a third version which has some of the features of the premium package but is essentially free only to educational institutions. On the bright side, the service is open to third party feature development which means that developers can manipulate the service to best cater for their needs.
As companies move their operations into the cloud, they need to be aware of the risks that they are subjecting their data to. This is because data that is stored in the cloud is in a different environment than data that is stored on the premises. That said; how does it all work? As mentioned earlier, all the applications in Google Apps work through a web browser. One needs to have a Google Account to be able to login and access the offered services. Once logged in, a person is able to access features such as word processing, calendaring, chat and several other tools. Take Google Docs for example. Google Docs is one of the features of Google Apps which offers basic formatting of text documents without higher level functions such as templates and style sheets that are common in traditional software.

In Google Apps, the information is created by the users and it then resides in the account of the individual users. It is not stored in a central location. What this essentially means is that if an account is deleted, so is all of that user’s data. As mentioned earlier, there is no notion of a centralized file server that is managed and controlled by an IT institution to be able to recover the files. This is one thing users need to understand before they make any accounts deletions.
Another concern about Google Apps is the loss of control .Because access rights are shared across the service; users rely- to some extent – on how others protect their passwords, usernames and login credentials. All in all, Google is aggressively marketing Google Apps to businesses as a way to effectively manage their email and documents.