Hot Topics

Friday, January 14, 2011

Google Apps–Where Next?

googleappsTowards the end of last year I blogged about transitioning my Google Apps account to allow full use of Google’s services.  For a while I was using three different Google accounts. First, my Google Apps account as my primary account for email, docs, calendar etc.  I then created a secondary account using my Apps email to give me access to other services such as Checkout, Reader, Blogger and AdSense.  I then needed a third account as some services wouldn’t work with a Google Account that didn’t have a Gmail address.  The transition of the Google Apps account should have simplified things so I need just one account. After a few teething problems I finally got things sorted, though full Google functionality still eludes me and I still need my other accounts.

Some services such as Blogger were easy to transfer to my Google Apps account.  In the case of this blog, I simply added my Apps account as a user with admin privileges then from my Apps account removed my Gmail account as a user.  Simples!  Some services however don’t offer this functionality.  AdSense for example allows individuals to have only one account and doesn’t let you add additional users.  This means I can’t do as I did with Blogger and transfer AdSense to my Apps account and neither can I set up a new AdSense account with my Apps account. 

Google also lists the following products as unavailable to Apps users; Buzz, Google Storage, Health, Powermeter and Profiles.  Given the number of different products Google offers that’s not bad, but along with the issues above, this still causes a few headaches. 

Firstly, lets forget about Powermeter, its very very niche and for most of the planet serves no benefit or purpose. Health looks promising as a way of tracking exercise and eating.  As with most Google products I like the idea of being able to login to one account and have access to my information rather than having lots of different providers here there and everywhere. Integration is key.  That said, while I use some of what Google Health call “integrated devices” already, I find they do a pretty good job on there own. Being able to share the info with my Google account would be nice, but it can wait.  As for being able to keep notes on my health, medicines, prescriptions etc, isn’t that why doctors keep notes, so they have all that information. So why would I need to keep the same information to give to a doctor, when they already have everything to hand.

I’m a little undecided about Buzz and Profiles, both seemed to be served much better by other services (Twitter and Facebook immediately spring to mind).  If Google are to launch its much rumoured social product this year, I would expect to see these features updated and integrated in to the fold. Then, I would like them to be available in my Google Apps account.

The last product unavailable is Google Storage and out of all of them is the one I would like access to the most, and the one that makes most sense for Google to get working with Google Apps fast.  At present the storage Google offer is pretty poor, just 1GB for Picasa and 1Gb for uploads to Docs.  You don’t have to look hard for other places that provided much larger levels of storage for free, 5GB is pretty common and Microsoft even offer 25GB for free with SkyDrive.  Its obvious why as I user I would like more storage than is currently offered, but Google would also gain as they like most providers charge for additional storage.  It’s current rates seem reasonable enough for much larger levels of storage, certainly something I’d be willing to pay.  Add in an application that allows folders on your PC to be sync’d with your cloud storage and it has potential as an offsite backup solution. Certainly if Google wants people to look seriously at moving to its cloud solutions, it needs to look at larger storage limits sooner rather than later.  With ChromeOS looking set for a proper launch later this year and the current onslaught Android in the mobile market, cloud storage will become more important if Google really want to challenge the dominance of Windows and change the way we use our computers.

So while the transition of Google Apps to this new infrastructure is definitely a huge step in the right direction, there are still a few little creases that need ironing out but I’m now down to needing just two Google accounts instead of three.  As with almost everything Google, whether or not solutions to any of the problems above are being worked on or what the timescales are for such fixes to any of these issues is unclear.  So fingers crossed Google is looking in to some if not all of these, and maybe this time next year I’ll finally be able to have everything in just one Google Apps account.

No comments: