Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Google Apps vs Google Anything Else

Google has a wealth of tools beyond search.  It seems, if you can imagine a web app, put the name "Google" in front of it and it probably exists.  There are Google Calendars, Google Docs, Google Contacts, Google News, Google car washes.  Ok, I made that last one up, but you get the idea. 

And then, there's Google Apps.  What are these Apps you may ask?  Oh, you know, the kind of apps a small business might use.  Apps like calendars, docs, contacts... wait a sec.  I thought Google already had those? So, what's the difference?

The easiest way to describe it is this: Apps is a collection of all the disparate Google applications into a grouping that can be managed and shared as an organization as opposed to the individual nature of their applications outside of Apps.  That means, instead of me having my Google Docs account and storing my files, I access the company's Apps account where I create, edit, and store Docs.  The software itself that I use is exactly the same.  The real difference is in the collaboration and management available via the Apps platform.

What's this all got to do with AddressTwo?  Well, many who are unfamiliar with Apps, or unaware of its existence, are confused by the checkbox in the "Google Tools" area of the AddressTwo admin: "Is this a Google Apps account?"  After all, if you check the box, it simply asks for your domain name, which you likely have one, so why not give it for good measure.  Well, the trouble is that these two services -- while identical in the function they'll serve in AddressTwo -- are accessed and authenticated in different ways.  In other words, if you tell AddressTwo that you're an Apps user by entering an Apps domain and you are not, then we cannot correctly access your Google data. 

So, realize that Google Apps is a different entity than all the various Google applications.  Got it?  Good.  Now, whose on first?

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