Risks and benefits of using Google Apps Gmail?
March 22, 2008 5:04 PM   Subscribe

What are the risks and benefits of using Google Apps to send and receive eMail from my domains?

I've been using Gmail since 2005 to process and archive eMail from my domains, and I like its flat archiving, swift nimble search, hotkeys, and IMAP support. I don't like having my messages identified my by Gmail address in some clients. I have been considering switching to Google Apps for my Domain's version of Gmail, but I'd like some fresh, intelligent input on the pros and cons. Thanks!
posted by j0hnpaul to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I could be mistaken, but I think when Google added new features to Gmail 5 or 6 months ago, it took them a while to add the same features to Google Apps. So they're probably behind the design curve.
posted by sharkfu at 6:24 PM on March 22, 2008

Best answer: Here's some more info, particularly in the comments section where some specific questions are answered.
posted by sharkfu at 6:26 PM on March 22, 2008

We switched to it at work (when our email hosting service email went down...and the email host disappeared.) Within 4 hours we were up and running. Spam went nearly to zero. At every level it's been a great move.
posted by filmgeek at 7:30 PM on March 22, 2008

I think the risks would be similar or even identical to using regular gmail. The benefits are pretty much the same also since you can opt in to have the same features as regular gmail users if you'd like. My favorite part is the excellent spam filtering. My least is that encryption isn't on by default. But if you use Firefox with the awesome Gmail Notifier extension, it will force encryption.
posted by sublivious at 7:57 PM on March 22, 2008

Whatever the benefits in using GMail, they are the same with Google Apps. I use Apps and there is no difference between my GMail account and my Apps accounts. When Gmail upgraded or added new features, they rolled them out to GMail users (my most active account got them first) and I checked a box in my Apps manager and was rolled out within days; prior to some of my GMail accounts.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:25 PM on March 22, 2008

The only two problems I have seen have been mentioned here. The non https by default and the behind the design curve. Both of those are easily fixed though by either using extensions like better gmail 2 or greasemonkey and by having the admin select newest features or some such thing in the administration panel. In my opinion GAFYD is the best choice and I use it for all of my domains. Plus it allows aliases so like you@yourdomain.com and you@youotherdomain.com can have the same mailbox.
posted by DJWeezy at 8:49 PM on March 22, 2008

It seems you still can't use Google Reader or Notebook with the apps account. Also, it's hard to forward outside of the domain (you have to make an account for each address).
posted by alexei at 9:05 PM on March 22, 2008

Alexei - that's no longer the case. I had this problem when they first rolled it out too (had to create accounts for everyone I wanted on a mailing list) but since then they've changed the admin interface to allow you to put extra-domain emails in distribution lists. Works great and I no longer have to alias email accounts with real accounts. I've been using this for almost 2 years now (got in on the beta) and I definitely recommend it.
posted by datacenter refugee at 11:02 PM on March 22, 2008

There really aren't any risks, and there are quite a few benefits. You can set up distribution lists with GAFYD. If you pony up $50 per user for Premier Edition, you also get Postini functionality, although it's probably not worth doing that for personal domains.

New features do often get introduced in standalone Gmail first. Some people I know at Google simply forward their email to a Gmail account!

I'm a big fan of the CustomizeGoogle Firefox extension and the Greasemonkey "Google Account Multi-Login" script.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:10 PM on March 22, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all! This is very helpful. My domains are hosted by Tiger Technologies, and their customer support is amazing-- quick, friendly, intuitive, and thorough. Although I rarely need their help, I was reluctant to give up their support for my eMail by changing my Mail Exchange records and removing them from the loop-- especially before testing the service for a while.

I figured out a way to make full use of Google Apps Gmail without changing my MX records, at least for now:

1. I verified my ownership of the domain with Google by uploading an HTML file.
2. I verified that I can send mail from the Google Apps Gmail interface identified by my domain rather than a Gmail address.
3. I setup Mail.app to sync with the new Google mailbox through imap.gmail.com.
4. I set my existing Gmail address to auto-forward to me@mydomain.us.test-google-a.com, an address Google has aliased to my mailbox. I could have entered this address as the recipient of my catch-all alias from my existing domain dashboard at Tiger Tech, but I want to monitor the existing Gmail account for a while, in order to determine what Gmail labels, filters, and other settings to transfer to the new account.

This seems essentially the same as what I've been doing up to now, only using GAFYD instead of vanilla Gmail. If you foresee any problems with this approach, I would be very grateful for your feedback!

Is there a way to gather the messages (and Chat transcripts) from my existing Gmail account into my GAFYD account? Thanks again for your help!
posted by j0hnpaul at 7:55 PM on March 24, 2008

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