Google Apps is the combined suite of applications that comes with a Google account. As well as email and calendar it also includes Drive, Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Sites. Google provide Apps for business and education which include additional management utilities that centre on user management.
Overview of Apps
|Hangouts is a messaging, voice and video chat application that allows up to 15 users. You can use hangouts for quick chats or full conversations and sending images and files. It also syncs all you conversations across all your devices so you can pick it up anywhere.|
|Drive is cloud storage much like Dropbox, it lets you store and access you files from anywhere. The standard amount of storage you get for home users is 15GB, for business and education it is 30GB and you can also purchase additional storage that can be assigned to users.|
|Docs is a word processing suite like Microsoft Word. It also includes the ability to gather input and manage feedback from people you have shared it with. It may not have all the features of Word but it has been recently updated to include community add-ons with should increase functionality.|
|Sheets is a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel. It also includes community add-ons and sharing features that allow multiple users to edit and collaborate at the same time.|
|Slides is a presentation creator much like Microsoft PowerPoint. It includes the ability to share them publicly or privately.|
|Sites is an intranet builder similar to SharePoint. It allows you easily create and maintain team sites that let you organize user’s calendars, documents, presentation and videos. You can share sites with you team, entire company or even clients.|
Classroom is a new app currently in development for Google Apps for Education. It brings together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments, provide feedback on work and communicate with their students. It also lets student organize, complete and turn in their work paperlessly and request help from teachers and peers. Classroom creates Drive folders for each assignment and student and allows them to easily see what’s due so they can stay on top of their work.
Google Apps for Businesses costs £3.30 per user a month and comes with 24/7 customer support, 99.9% uptime and unlimited users. There is also a second package that comes with Google vault which adds retention policies, email and chat archiving and legal hold capabilities for an additional £3.30 per user a month.
Google Apps for Education is free.
For schools who are looking at reducing the cost of IT, Google Apps is definitely a viable option. it may be tricky at the start as a lot of the market is taken by Microsoft Office, meaning compatibility could be an issue but other than that it is looking good. With the addition of Classroom and Apps free price tag for education it seems like Google is hoping to corner the market.
For Business Google apps is a low cost alternative to Microsoft’s Office 365 and although it is possible that the compatibility may be a problem but it is still very good.