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Technology Tip: Google Apps Combine Your Business Tools

google_apps

Nerd alert

This post contains technical information on how to setup Google Apps for your domain. The process isn’t extremely complicated – fairly similar to setting up a website.

Another Google product? Not exactly. Google Apps combines several business related tools that you may already use (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Google Sites) for use on your website. If you own https://www.coolest-real-estate-agent-ever.net (because of course .com was already taken) it puts the power of these Google services behind it. For the rest of this post I’ll concentrate on Gmail since it’s the most common application.

The benefits

  • Portability: Rather than having Outlook download emails to your computer, use Gmail so all messages are available on any computer (or phone) with internet access.
  • Safety: Data is hosted on Google’s reliable data centers instead of your clunky hard drive. Sure Gmail has experienced a few hiccups over the last few years. But it’s better than having your PC crash and loosing all those important messages.
  • Usability: Outlook and other email clients are easier to learn than Quickbooks. But like all their products Google really simplifies the Gmail interface.
  • Innovation: Gmail labs is a set of experimental features to enhance email performance. Preview Youtube videos, Yelp reviews or Google Voice messages from within your account.
  • Storage: 7GB for the Standard Edition or 25GB for the Premier Edition. To put that into perspective, the largest purchase agreement I have in PDF format is almost 1,000KB. At that rate I’d need over 7,000 more to fill my quota.
  • Trust: Let’s face it, having a free account doesn’t look very professional as a real estate agent. So ditch Yahoo and have your email look professional too.

I’m convinced – how do I start?

Head over to the Google Apps website and follow the instructions to setup your account. After a few easy steps you’ll reach the dashboard with a greeting box at the top that directs you to the setup guide. This will walk you through the process of creating users, accessing your accounts, migrating old data and more.

The guide also shows you how to setup your email with a variety of hosting companies. You can even change how your accounts are accessed. Now I can just go to mail.metrowidemn.com and I’ll be automatically redirected to domain’s Gmail account.

These is just the start of what you can accomplish with Google Apps. For more ideas check out Lifehacker’s Google Apps Tricks.

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Written By

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Winston Salem Realtor

    November 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Ben,

    Thanks for the tip. I never knew I could use Google Apps with my own real estate domain.

    Tony

  2. Stillwater Real Estate

    November 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Hey Tony,
    It may not be for everyone but I’ve found it to be a pretty handy tool. Unfortunately I tend to change hosting companies often (4 times in 2 years). So using Gmail avoids having to either download all messages if I use IMAP or waiting the 24-48 hours for nameservers to propagate.

  3. Portland Condo Auctions

    November 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Google Apps is amazing and I use it for nearly everything. Even recently I have found new features that can make me rethink the workflow for my office. I have it now so that every PDF that I make or get from a customer goes into Google Docs and is shared with my boss. Now whenever he needs to look at or copy something that I have been working on, he already has access and can find it without calling me.

    -Tyler

  4. Stephen

    December 17, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Ben, great suggestion! It is pretty useful tool and like Stillwater suggested there is no transfer downtime in case you decide to change the hosting provider. The only problem i see based on the google apps forums, is that many potential users are having difficulty with google apps setup… luckily there seems to be a market on it’s own with google outsourcing their support to google apps vendors/experts. If you google “google apps vendor” or “google apps support” you’ll see many of them come up, like smartgoogleapps.com, setupmdeasy.com… I am on it and pretty happy with it!

    Stephen

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