Google Week: Apps

Posted by Chad Lemon | 8:19 AM | , | 1 comments »

We're rounding out this edition of Google Week with a quick peek at Google Apps. The information, tours and demos over at the Google Apps page are pretty good in their own right, so I won't make any attempts to give you the full run down of every feature.

In short, Apps is your church website and webserver right out of the [virtual] box. You can get up and running with relatively little or no cost. The most expensive elements for you are decent internet access (which your church may already have) and the computers with which to access it (which your church also probably has), Google takes care of the rest.

The core modules included in the Apps package are familiar: Docs & Spreadsheets, GMail, Page Creator, Talk, and Calendar. We've written about a couple of these pieces already and as you are probably aware, they're already all freely available.

So what's the big deal? What makes Apps notable is that you can place your own branding on things. During the sign up process, Google will help you acquire your own domain name or transfer an existing one. This means your church web address can go from http://users.randomisp.com/members/~pastorjoe45/church.html to http://www.firstpotluckchurch.org in no time, and your email from pastorjoe45@randomisp.com to joe.schmoe@firstpotluckchurch.com. Apps lets you pull all of these things in under your own umbrella. There is some expense in setting up your own domain, about $10.00, but this is relatively cheap.

There is a Premium Edition of this service for a fee, of course. With this edition you can drop the ads that appear on some pages (notably the email interface), gain access to a room scheduler and have the use of a couple other more technical tools that may or may not be worth the extra cost to you.

We've spent the week on Google tools, not because we're die-hard Google aficionados or that they're the only option out there, but rather because it's one of the few places that you can find such a broad spectrum of powerful, competently constructed tools at no cost. There are other options such as Microsoft's new Office Live that will get you up and running with a professional look for no cost (look for a further review of this tool sometime in the future) - they'll even buy your domain for you - and we certainly don't want to diminish the value of those options.

Good stuff... on the web... ready for you to start using today to improve your church's ability to communicate with your congregation and the world at large.

Google Week Series: [1] [2] [3] [4]

1 comments

  1. rick grayshock // May 1, 2007 at 6:32 AM  

    found the organization site Backpackit.com from your pastor hacks link. Looks like a great idea/system- before I invest much time or money into it are there any other sites or resources similar that I should compare it to?