I was one of the first people to beta test GMail when the only way you could get an account was by an invitation. I did manage to get one and created an email account which I still use until now.
Since then Google Mail has grown and has been enhanced so much that in my view made it the best webmail software there is.
The ability to group emails in discussions, add multiple labels to an email conversation and the powerful search make GMail my only webmail application.
Later on I explored Google’s personal homepage (http://www.google.com/ig). The gadgets that one can add in their page and the information gathered in a nicely customizable page is simply precious.
With the introduction of Google Documents and Spreadsheets and the fact that most of my documents are either OpenOffice Writer or OpenOffice Calc (MS Word or MS Excel for Microsoft users), I started considering the totally mobile office. After all, most of the documents that I have are sitting there in a corner of my hard drive collecting electronic dust. I do however need to access them whenever I need to and sometimes I might not have my notebook with me. Google Documents and Spreadsheets gave me the solution that I was looking for.
I always had problems with SPAM. Buy this, enhance that, you all know what I am talking about. The last year though the situation became unbearable. The spammers would find ways to bypass the spam filter of my domain and eventually get through. I would even have 50 spam emails per day at times, increasing the chance of me deleting a valid email from a customer or a friend.
A couple of months back I saw that Google offers services for domain holders. Effectively you can migrate your whole domain to Google and your email most importantly. In an interface familiar to me (like GMail) I now have all my domain’s emails handled by Google and to my pleasant surprise I have no spam at all. The filters set by Google are very good since I only saw one message come through in the past two months. There is ample space (2Gb) and of course the option to upgrade if one needs more at a small fee.
Most of this domain is handled by Google Apps (excluding this blog) :)
Not everything is perfect though. There is still work to be done, like integrating more Google Apps to the hosted solution but I am sure those will come in due course. Thus far though, I am impressed and satisfied by the technology offered.
I know that some might turn and say that I am biased and I only see the good things about Google Apps and that there are other products out there, potentially better. I agree to that. However in my view, Google has set the benchmark on what people should do to catch them and surpass them. I am glad that technology progresses the way it is, since the end users benefit from enhanced tools to make our lives better and more efficient :)