A couple of weeks ago, my mail server started making one of those “it won’t be long now” sort of sounds. It was the kind of noise you hear an eight year-old computer make just before everything goes dark.
I have toyed with the idea of turning everything over to Google, and this seemed as good a time as any. I went to Google Apps
and signed up. The first thing Google did was send an email to me ensuring I could receive email at TRUSTYETC.COM. Once I confirmed that email, I moved on to creating an MX record so that all my email would be redirected to GMail instead of the dying machine at my house. To do this, you will need access to your domain’s DNS settings. Because I own my own domain, I have this access.
That was all it took. Just that quickly and easily, Google became the home for all my email.
Google can do this for any organization, no matter the size. I selected the free, non-educational version of Google Apps. That permits me to create 100 email accounts each with 6 GB of storage. That’s right, they give me a total of 600 GB (0.6 TB) of space for free. Before I shutdown my old server, I exported all the username information. Google Apps imported those so I had no downtime for any of the email accounts.
Email works just as before with POP, IMAP and the GMail web interface.
Here’s where it gets cool. Members of my domain (which is mostly family) can now easily share email, calendars and docs using Google’s online tools. We can also create custom start pages and regular web pages.
is now the start page for my domain. I can create as many of these as I need, with any domain prefix in the URL.
I have been using this service for a few weeks and I really like it. The only missing piece is Picasa. The online picture storage system does not tie into the Google Apps suite yet. That has to be one of the features on the drawing board. When Google adds Picasa and some sort of G-Drive, my family will be completely in the cloud. That will be cool.