Google Apps is a suite of Google-created web applications made for managing businesses and schools alike. We talk about Google Apps for Business and Education a lot here on Coolhead Tech, so in this article, we'll be giving you an overview of every component of Google Apps for Work. These will be divided into two main sections: Communication and Drive, as well as additional administrative functions exclusive to Google Apps for Work. By the time you finish reading this, you should have a thorough understanding of every component of Google Apps, and what they can do for you and your workplace.
Applications in this category cover Google's suite of communication apps. Most of these operate interconnectively, and should be quite familiar to anyone who uses Google's free services.
Gmail is Google's premier webmail application, and one of the most popular email services there is. You may know Gmail as a free service- in Google Apps, Gmail is upgraded with compatibility with desktop email applications, 30GB of inbox storage, zero advertisements, and most importantly, an email address that goes with your domain. If your business owns its own domain, this means you'll be able to use emails like email@example.com while still using Gmail, as opposed to firstname.lastname@example.org. It's a small touch, but it goes a long way to making you look more professional.
Hangouts is Google's communication suite. It hasn't changed much fro the normal version of Hangouts in Google Apps, but Hangouts offers voice and video calling, as well as group conferences with up to 15 people while supporting both PCs and mobile devices. Screen-sharing is also possible with Hangouts, as well as Calendar integration. Calendar integration means that meetings
Calendar is Google's...well, calendar. It allows you to schedule for yourself and your business. With Google's cloud features, this also means that calendars can be shared and are viewable between coworkers, which means you can schedule events according to openings in people's schedules, all without needing to individually consult everyone involved. Calendar can also be migrated from other business calendar solutions (such as Exchange or Outlook), and with its integration with other Google Apps, Calendar becomes all the more powerful for it.
Google+ is Google's social networking application, using "Circles" for sharing amongst friends, communities and co-workers. Integrating Google+ into your workflow can introduce a more familiar way for employees to interact with each other internally, without needing to go directly to Hangouts or Gmail.
In many ways, the Drive apps are similar to their public counterparts. A few extra features here and there serve to distinguish them, however. The Drive apps cover Google Drive itself, as well as its various components for creation and collaboration between teams and employees.
Google Drive, in addition the features listed below, is primarily Google's cloud storage solution. The free version starts at 30GB, with an upgrade to 1TB available for $10 a month. Plus, if there's five users or more on your plan, that 1TB storage becomes unlimited storage, which can be used to store massive spreadsheets, video files, photos, applications, backups and more. In addition to utility as raw storage, Drive can also be used to share files amongst coworkers or to the public, and can also be collaborated on in real-time with Docs, Sheets and other Apps.
Google Docs is the star of Google Drive and one of the biggest rivals to the commercial word processor. It rose to fame quite some time ago as a free, web-based Office solution with real-time collaboration from Google, and the base of that remains the same. Unlike older versions of Microsoft Word, Docs supports importing and exporting all kinds of different file formats, in addition to real-time chatting and editing, and also supports Add-ons to increase functionality.
Google Sheets is Google's response to Microsoft Excel and other Spreadsheet applications. Sheets can be used similarly to Docs and Excel, up to and including the real-time editing, chatting, imports and exports from popular spreadsheet formats. In addition, Sheets can be integrated with Forms to keep track of data being input, and it also offers third-party Add-ons that add custom formatting and workflow rules.
Google Forms is Google's tool to create surveys, forms, quizzes and more, easily shareable across the public and private Web. You can use Forms to make a customer feedback spreadsheet, to learn more about your fellow employees, and more. Forms also includes Templates, which can make creating the Form you need easier, and also has support for third-party Add-ons. Forms also supports real-time notifications and response monitoring.
Google Slides is Google's response to Microsoft PowerPoint. Slides can be used to make a presentation just as good as anything you'd make in a commercial office application- if not better, since it also benefits from real-time chatting and collaboration. Slides also benefits from a wide selection of pre-made designs and templates, highly-customizable designs of your own, and the ability to convert Slides to PowerPoint formats and vice versa for cross-compatibility.
Google Sites allows you to create a site, whether an internal Intranet for your employees or a public portal for customers. Sites can be created via Google's built-in Site Builder. To create a site visitable from the normal Internet, however, you'll need to purchase a domain name- in order to do this, consider working with Google to buy a new domain to use with Google Sites, to help create your business' public face on the web.
The Admin Apps are exclusive to Google Apps for Business and deal with managing users, devices, security and more.
The Admin Console is where most of the control goes- here is where you add and remove users to your organization and change security settings. You can also use the Apps Marketplace to add integrated solutions to your organization's Google Apps. The Console also offers insights and reporting, so you can stay on top of what's happening on your network.
The Admin Console also offers access to Google's 24/7 support.
Google Vault offers an archive for all business communications using Google's applications. Vault comes at the additional cost of $5 per user per month, but if you want to monitor the behavior of your employees for whatever reason, Vault is the way to go. You can change settings in Vault to manage how long this archive is kept. Data collected in the Vault can be deleted or exported as you please, and if you're looking for anything in particular, Google's search function should come in handy here.
And those are all of the features offered in Google Apps for Work. Each piece of the suite creates a whole that can be used to better manage your business, all while increasing the capabilities of your employees and reducing the costs of expensive hardware and server maintenance. To learn more about Google Apps and other technology in the workplace, read our blog. If you're interested in getting Google Apps setup for your school or business, Coolhead Tech is a qualified Google for Work Partner, and you can contact us here.