Last week I started using a couple of new technologies and tools, Google Apps and the Apple iPhone, which I will be writing about in future posts after an evaluation period. I did, however, want to share with you a little about these new (to me) additions to my tool chest.
Google Apps, Helping Businesses Work Smarter
OK, so that’s a line more or less right from a Google Apps benefits web page. But this is one of the reasons I looked into and decided to switch my email system over to Google Apps, along with all the other features included.
Here’s my story:
Professional Land Surveyor opens business. Professional Land Surveyor buys many computers over the years and software for land surveying needs and business applications. Documents, email and contacts are now easily stored on computer.
Communication and sharing becomes an issue.
Sharing this data and using it in a mobile business (and personal) environment seems like it should be possible, but Professional Land Surveyor soon learns that implementing a shared and mobile business environment is too dependent on too many sometimes conflicting, uncooperative and waaaaay too IT dependent technologies and devices.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Microsoft (really I do) and I would be happy to further their objective of requiring an IT employee (or more!) in every business and home, but quite frankly, it doesn’t need to be this complicated and user unfriendly.
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and simpler, no matter how complicated the technology, and not exist simply to create a corporate jobs program.
So, with that out of my system this is where I started.
This Professional Land Surveyor used Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Outlook and a company intranet all with a Microsoft server. Internally, it worked fine but does require a certain amount of oversight and maintenance that I’ll be quite honest with you, is something that I minimally understand, probably shouldn’t have been doing, and in the end everything worked out OK.
Besides, I know where the off button is HAL, and I'm not afraid to use it!
Using all of the wonderful business information on the road, like accessing my schedule, email, contacts, etc., however, never really worked out. Sort of a battle between software, security and hardware – Why can’t we all just get along?
Then along comes Google (I’ve a song in my head, can you guess it?). According to Google, Google Apps is:
“web-based messaging and collaboration apps require no hardware or software and need minimal administration, creating tremendous time and cost savings for businesses”
So what does Google Apps do for you? Here’s a short list:
- Gmail for business 25GB storage, less spam, and a 99.9% uptime SLA, and enhanced email security.
- Google Calendar Agenda management, scheduling, shared online calendars and mobile calendar sync.
- Google Docs Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Work online without attachments.
- Google Sites Secure, coding-free web pages for intranets and team managed sites.
- Postini Hosted email security and archiving services for your business.
So far, I’ve liked what I’ve seen and I’m loving how easy it is for me to access my email when I’m on the road. Professional Land Surveyor now happy, not sad.
Of course, that’s not the whole story because you need a means of mobile access to this data from the road.
Apple iPhone, Good Looking and Smart!
And then, along comes iPhone (there’s that song again. Anyone else hear that besides me?).
I didn’t set out to implement two things at once or with any expectation that they would work so well together, but that’s how it happened.
Here’s the story:
Professional Land Surveyor’s wife lost her phone a few months ago and replaced it with an iPhone, which we both fell in love with. Professional Land Surveyor needs new cell phone. Professional Land Surveyor purchases iPhone 3GS and is loving it, too.
Reliable, fast, bunches and bunches of great Apps (some free and some not), good looking and really, really smart. This is not to say that there aren’t other great smart phones out there, but the iPhone works so well and is so easy to use, I’d be hard pressed to go with another maker.
Then a funny thing happened to this lucky Professional Land Surveyor; Google Apps and the iPhone work together flawlessly. Even if you don’t use the Google Mobile App for the iPhone, which is free, you can always use the browser on the iPhone to access your emails, schedule, etc., from wherever you are.
Stay tuned to this Channel ….
Like I said before, give me a little time to use Google Apps and my new iPhone and I’ll write about how I’ve implemented and use both, and how well they did, or did not, work.
For those who didn’t get the music in the head challenges I am providing this performance of The Association performing “Along Comes Mary” for your listening enjoyment (you can watch it on the iPhone, too!):
Question of the Day:
Who, or what, is HAL and where is this reference to HAL from? Isn't that two questions? Now I've gone and done it, now that's three questions. Anyways, you get the idea.
The winner of the Question of the Day contest is the first person to leave a correct response in a comment and will receive a mighty virtual pat on the back and the satisfaction of a job well done!