Thursday, February 22, 2007
Back in 2005, Google Apps was conceived in a few lines of code, and then it was born in February 2006. Our team has had such a close relationship with it, you might understand how we have nurtured it as we would a child.
So first there was Gmail for your domain -- a limited service that helped organizations like San Jose City College offer personalized Gmail inboxes to all their users. As our little guy picked up new skills (Calendar, Talk, and Page Creator) it grew out of its old name and into Google Apps for Your Domain.
A quick learner, by October Google Apps had perfected 17 more languages, so we could help bring our communication tools all around the globe. Later in the fall, we improved our organizational skills with the Start Page, which brought all the Apps together into a centralized place. Then it was time to start school. Google Apps entered Arizona State University and stood out as one of those high achievers. Today, students and administrators at large universities like ASU and Lakehead are raving about Apps -- how it saves money and IT resources, plus make students lives easier with bigger spam-free mailboxes and a set of tools for working together.
Now, I'm excited to tell you that our baby has finally graduated and is entering the business world. Google Apps Premier Edition is a new version designed to take on all the challenges presented by businesses with complex IT needs. For $50 per account per year, you get the whole Google Apps package plus many new business-oriented features, including access to our APIs and partner solutions (so it’s easy to integrate with existing systems), conference room scheduling for Calendar, 10GB of inbox storage, extended business hours phone support, and mobile access to your email on BlackBerry devices (just in case you can't get enough at the office).
Already, companies big and small, like Procter & Gamble, General Electric Corporation, Prudential, and SF Bay Pediatrics, are talking about how this new version of Google Apps makes it easy to offer low-cost communication and collaboration tools to all their employees so they can get on with what they do best.
Google Apps also won't forget its roots anytime soon. The Standard and Education Editions will continue to be offered for free, and we'll keep working on all three flavors of Google Apps with the help of feedback from all of you. As a start, we’ve just integrated Google Docs & Spreadsheets in all three editions so that everyone can share and edit documents online. Since August, we’ve also added five more major features you've requested, including customized service URLs (mail.yourcompany.com) and domain registration for organizations that don’t yet have a custom domain. Our appearance has matured too, with updates to the administrator control panel that make it easier to setup and manage your services.