We recently shared an update on the Google Apps Blog about new features in Google Sites, the web creation and publishing application included in Google Apps. The new features let you copy your site, use more options to search, and more easily announce updates. Since these features are useful for anyone who uses Google Sites as part of the Google Apps Premier or Education editions, we wanted to make it easy for you to read about the features.

Posted by Ellen Leanse, Google Enterprise team

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At Google, I often collaborate with colleagues around the world, so it's quite common to be working with someone whose native language is different from my own. To make sharing content easier, we just added the ability to translate documents into Google Docs.

With this feature you can write a doc once, and with a few clicks make it available in any of 42 supported languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croation, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

Here is an example of an interview feedback form being translated from English to Russian.

When you combine this new feature with the template gallery, things get more interesting. Anyone in your domain can make a template, and put it in your organization's own gallery. From there, colleagues from around the world will be able to grab a copy of the template and with a couple of clicks, localize it into the language that they're most comfortable with. All of the document's original formatting and layout will be preserved.

You can find the Translate option under the Tools menu.

Posted by Jeff Harris, Associate Product Manager, Google Docs team

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Last week, some of our Google Earth Enterprise engineers visited Camp Roberts in Central California for a tech event organized by the Navy Postgraduate School. These engineers spent time spooling up a Google Earth Enterprise server and working with other attendees on Earth technologies to help track election outcomes and geo-information using Google Earth technology. They call it "humanitarian geo-nerd hacking" and the full story (and video) is here.

Posted by Natasha Wyatt, Google Earth Enterprise team

Have you ever wanted to watch a training video, but didn't feel you could take the time for it? Ever wished a slow speaker would talk just a little faster? Or maybe you'd like to skim through a presentation at high speed until you got to something really interesting?

All that is now possible with Google Video for business. Just select the video you want to watch, and you'll see a speed control in the player. Click the button to switch between 1.5x and real-time, or drag the pop-up slider to select the speed you want. The new speed setting is "sticky" other words, you can find particular sections of interest by dragging the position marker or clicking in the Scenes bar without dropping back to normal speed.

We've found that most videos are very comprehensible at 1.25x to 1.75x speed. If your video is captioned, you'll find that you can go even faster.

Give it a try. Once you start watching videos at 1.5x, you might never go back to real-time!

Google Video for business is part of Google Apps Premier and Education Editions, included with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more. To learn more about Google Apps, get started here.

Posted by Daniel Steinberg, Google Video team

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In May, we announced our plans to integrate Google Apps with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a popular feature request from many of our enterprise customers. Today, our team is excited to let you know that this integration is complete. Now, customers of Google Apps Premier and Education Editions can give their users access to Google Apps email, calendar, and contacts from the built-in BlackBerry applications that many users are already accustomed to. The tight integration between our connector and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server lets administrators manage BlackBerry access using the tools and policies they're already familiar with.

Since our announcement in May, the Google Apps team has worked hard to prepare this feature for public release, testing it extensively with select companies and universities, including Sanmina-SCI. "With Apps Connector, our BlackBerry mobile users get to use native applications that they are already familiar with and we get to manage them using familiar tools. It's great to combine the benefits of Google Apps like 25GB storage per user and ubiquitous accessibility with the push mail capabilities of BlackBerry," said Manesh Patel, CIO of Sanmina-SCI.

Features include:
  • Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
  • Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
  • Emails archived/starred on your BlackBerry are archived/starred in Gmail, and vice-versa.
  • BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
  • You can search for contact information of coworkers from the global address list on your BlackBerry.
  • Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.
  • You can view your Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device. Two-way calendar sync with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from your BlackBerry device is not available with this release but we are working on it.
  • Administrators can use the management and security tools that are part of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers worldwide can get started with this feature at no charge by downloading Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server. If you have any questions, please visit the Help Page. Both of these links are also available through the Google Apps control panel.

Learn about all of the mobile options available to Google Apps users at

Find customer stories and product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

Back in May we announced a pilot release of Google Apps Script, and after thousands of hours of use, and lots of valuable feedback, we're excited to launch Google Apps Script to all Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers today.

Google Apps Script
provides the ability to automate a variety of features in Google Apps, such as reading and changing values in Google Spreadsheets, creating Google Calendar appointments, sending email and much more. Check out the Google Apps Script Overview video, below, taken from our May announcement.

Our favorite user example is a bureaucracy-busting Expense Approval Script, which expands one of the tutorials we've assembled to help people see how to use Google Apps Script. Submitting and approving expense reports can be tedious. Adding a script automates the drudgery by doing the following:
  • automatically converting foreign currency amounts to local currency
  • looking up historical exchange rates from external web services
  • catching basic errors – things like missing dates, descriptions, and amounts
  • triggering business logic to flag certain expense categories 'For Review'
Even more useful, the script can figure out whose approvals are needed, and automatically request approval from those people. And once approved, the script sends a note to the finance department for payment – all without writing a single email!

This is just one of hundreds of business processes that can be customized and streamlined using Google Apps Script within Google Apps Premier and Education editions. From expenses and timesheets to trouble tickets and order tracking – really, anything that you might want to calculate, organize and automate – is now easier than ever with Google Apps Script.

Starting today, all Google Apps Premier and Edu domains will now see "Scripts" in the Google Spreadsheets "Tools" menu – so check it out.

We're looking forward to seeing how users put Google Apps Script to creative (and valuable) use, so start scripting, and let us know what you come up with. We'll feature some of our favorite user submissions over the coming weeks!

Posted by Evin Levey, Product Manager, Google Apps team

The conversation around enterprise search often centers on advanced refinement options, visualization, U/I design elements, and so on. Of course, these are all important nuances – and things we are working to evolve – but what seems to be lost is the focus on the real goal of search: delivering relevant results. Within an enterprise, users ultimately want the confidence that they'll get the result they're seeking, right there on top, regardless of how the results interact with advanced options.

Today, we're showcasing the value of relevance and introducing our latest Enterprise Labs tool, Side-by-Side search. The concept is simple: let's say you want to compare the relevance of two separate search engines across the same body of data.

For instance, you might want to compare the results you get from your existing search solution with what you get from the Google Search Appliance (GSA). You might want to compare two different back-end settings for the GSA, or two different solutions altogether.
As shown below, Side-by-Side shows your users two panes on their screen, each containing a unique set of results – hence, "side-by-side." Users can then compare the results and vote on which set they prefer.

Side-by-Side makes it easy to test the GSA with other enterprise search engines, ensuring people in the workplace can get the highest-relevancy results and bringing search quality to the enterprise.

If admins want to conduct a full relevance test for results of multiple search queries, they can feed in whatever queries they'd like to test.
All of the Side-by-Side administration can be done with a simple web interface, and admins can anonymize each panel, so users don't know which search engine or setting powers which set of results. Essentially, admins can now test any search products they want and provide their organization with the setting or solution that employees rate highest.

If you're already powering search with a GSA,
download Side-by-Side and test your results. You can also check out our ROI JumpStart offer, which helps get companies up and running with the Google Search Appliance quickly and with professional support.

Ultimately, no matter what you're searching, relevant results are the critical outcome.

Posted by Cyrus Mistry,
Mistry, Product Manager, Google Enterprise

On the heels of the June Google Search Appliance (GSA) 6.0 release we're announcing an upgraded suite of GSA Connectors – including connectors to integrate offline company data with information stored in the cloud. GSA Connectors make it possible to connect the GSA with popular content management systems and other repositories, so that users can easily find the information they are looking for in a single page of unified search results, wherever it resides within the company.

Ultimately, GSA Connectors make companies more agile, so they can increase the
Return on Information on thier investment in ECM, CRM, and other content management systems. Check out some of our GSA customers, including Mercer, Honeywell, and Sunnybrook, to see how they are benefiting from using GSA Connectors.

With the upgraded Google Search Appliance Connectors, we now have a simplified and more robust connector framework that can search content anywhere. First, we're excited to announce our Enterprise Labs release of the GSA Connector for Salesforce, the world's most popular CRM system.

With this connector, the GSA can search all content in Salesforce, providing sales, marketing, and customer support personnel instant access to the information they need every day. Additionally, given that the GSA already searches content in Google Apps, and now searches Salesforce, our customers know our unrivaled commitment to searching content wherever it reside – on-premise, or in the cloud.

In addition, we have new updates and features for each of our connectors to the popular content management systems - including ones forSharePoint, Livelink, FileNet, and Documentum. Specifically, the SharePoint connector supports batch authorization and multiple site collection, and we've even added the much-requested 64-bit Windows support.

Additionally, with the Google Search Box for SharePoint, the GSA can power the search box within SharePoint, so users obtain a unified set of results from across their organization, including from repositories outside of SharePoint.

Multiple connectors now support more recent versions of the content systems, such as the Documentum connector now supporting v6.5, or the FileNet connector now supporting v4. Across the board, we've simplified configuration and reduced the footprint, making the lives of administrators even easier. GSA customers can access the latest connectors at our support site here.

As information architectures get more complex, and increasingly leverage information in the cloud, our philosophy remains the same - to provide our customers with a simple, powerful mechanism for securely searching all content and increasing your return on information.

Posted by Jeff Ling, Product Manager, Google Enterprise

Editor's note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Carole Jett, Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture has taken the lead on making detailed state-by-state information about stimulus spending available to the public via an interactive Google Map. The map makes it easy for people to find information about stimulus projects in their part of the country by department, program, or dollar amount.

In May 2009, President Barack Obama vowed to provide transparency and accountability by tracking stimulus money allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The goal was to provide taxpayers with the ability to track money in their community, all the way to street level. was launched to provide detailed information on projects and report on how stimulus money is being spent. In addition, each agency began to publish reports on their own websites for allocated funds.

In addition to funding reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created an interactive geospatial map using Google Maps API Premier allowing the public to generate customized views for tracking funds.

This map was made available to the public in early May and has received nearly one million hits to date. Today, the interactive map provides data for five programs within USDA and is continuously adding other agencies within the department as the funds get allocated and data becomes available. Citizens can search and drill down to see funding allocations per department, program and location. To support the map feature, we established blogs for each state to share detailed information and updates about projects underway. Communities are encouraged to share their stories through this feature as well.

In July the Department of Housing and Urban Development joined the effort, followed by the Department of Commerce in August, allowing the public to search for and track a larger set of projects. The Department of Defense and other federal departments will be added to this site in the near future.

Check out the USDA AARA Project Map for yourself and learn more about the map, including detailed instructions for how to use the map.

– Carole Jett, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Posted by Dan Israel, Google Federal team

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome guest blogger Bill Kelly, Chief Information Officer for Duralee, a fast-growing decorative fabrics company. With more than 25,000 SKUs, the company caters to interior designers throughout the world. Headquartered in Bay Shore, New York, Duralee has more than 400 employees and dozens of corporate and designer showrooms.

Duralee recently chose Google Apps as their email platform, and Kelly – who led this decision – will share his findings in a livewebcast, "Choosing Google Apps over Microsoft Exchange." Please join us for this event on Thursday, August 20, 2009, 2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT.

When I joined Duralee as CIO in October 2007, I knew it was time to switch out our aging messaging infrastructure. With 400 employees – and growing fast – our existing infrastructure was buckling under the pressure. We were experiencing delays in email and spent too much time administering the server and dealing with crashes.

I had been a Microsoft Exchange user and administrator for more than 10 years, so I assumed we’d go with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook clients. Then I thought about our overtaxed IT staff of five, and what would be required from them to set up and run Exchange. We would need to purchase, configure, integrate, manage and maintain many hardware and software components. We would also have to worry about our 50 mobile users and managing client software for their devices, too. I was also thinking about the cost for all of the required hardware and software. It would be a significant investment.

Then we started looking at Google Apps. The move to a cloud computing model really made sense for us because we wouldn’t have to worry about mail servers, updates to the software, backups, softwarerollouts to desktops or mobile users, and constant maintenance. Google Apps’ features met our requirements and provided 50-85% in cost savings to maintaining our old system or moving to Microsoft Exchange – either on-premise or hosted. With Google Apps, we got a complete messaging solution with anti-spam protection, disaster recovery and a 99.9%uptime SLA built-in. We also got features for collaboration that came as an extra bonus to email – and we're now looking at different ways to use Google Sites and Google Docs to improve our collaboration, internally and with customers. But probably the feature that our employees love the most is chat, including video chat, which is fully integrated and included in the suite of apps.

You can learn a bit more about our experience on this YouTube video:

Our migration didn't come without some hiccups. But we selected a few users who had personal Gmail accounts and we included one of the owners of the company in our pilot. He was a power MS-Outlook user and once we saw how easily he adapted to the new platform, we knew we were in good shape. Nearly everyone in the company uses the web interface; indeed many prefer it given the many innovations you get there that you don't get with local clients. And since we've rolled out Google Apps, we've gotten even more for our money than we originally signed up for.

I've been in the spot many of you are in now – making the tough decision on which technology platform to move to. Now that I'm on the other side, I'm happy to share my experiences with Google Apps with you. Please join me for a conversation about what I learned in choosing, and deploying Google Apps.

Choosing Google Apps over Microsoft Exchange
Thursday, August 20, 2009
2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT

– Bill Kelly, CIO, Duralee Fabrics

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

In my work, being able to communicate and collaborate with many groups of people is crucial to productivity, and I often want to use Google Apps to share content with particular groups or teams. Typing in every user's email address manually is painstaking and inefficient, and remembering when people leave and join different teams is impossible. Like any user, I want to make sure that I reach the right people, and I want this to be easy and and efficient.

With that in mind, I want to share some shortcuts that help with sharing and groups in several of our apps.

  • In Google Calendar, you can share a calendar with a group by navigating to 'Share this calendar', and then entering a group's email address where you normally enter an individual's. The calendar will be shared with everyone in the group, and will automatically adjust to any membership changes over time.
  • In Google Sites, you can share a site with a group in the same way. Choose whether you want everyone in the group to be an owner, collaborator, or viewer. The site will automatically detect group membership changes.
  • In Google Docs, groups can be given permission to edit or view individual documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or files. It looks like this:

Here at Google, we use these features all the time and find them very useful. Now, with Google Apps taking care of group sharing for me, I can focus on other important things...

Stay tuned for even more exciting groups-related goodies coming your way!

Posted by Jeffrey Chang, Associate Product Manager, Google Groups

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A few weeks back, we let you know that Google Apps Premier Edition would soon support two new business-focused features: email retention policies and email delegation. Today we're happy to share the news that both features have been rolled out to Google Apps Premier Edition customers.

Email retention policies help companies comply with industry and government regulations by allowing their admins to determine how long an email should remain in the system before being automatically deleted. Email delegation allows employees to specify other users allowed to manage email for them – especially useful to executives and administrative assistants.

Premier Edition administrators can enable these features from the administrative control panel under the 'Email Settings' tab.

Posted by Rajen Sheth, Google Apps Product Manager

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

We often hear people ask, "How do I add a Google Map to my website?" Sometimes, it's from a small business owner simply trying to show directions to their store. Other times, it's from larger enterprises that want to create more complex mapping applications, overlaying their own proprietary layers of data on the map.

To help organizations of all sizes sort through their options, we've created a new web resource:

Quick and Simple (for beginners and basic sites) You'll find step-by-step instructions for plotting one or more locations on a map and embedding that map into your own website.

Advanced (for developers & advanced sites ) You'll see examples of the various ways to manipulate a map and add your own content as well as a handy comparison chart of the two Google Maps APIs (Standard and Premier) that you'll implement on your site.

Curious what other businesses are doing with interactive maps? Check out a few success stories listed on our new site or visit our Google Enterprise Maps website to see a more comprehensive list of success stories that you can sort by industry and read up on companies lie yours.

For more information, check out our post on the Google Lat Long Blog.

Posted by Andrew Chang, Google Maps team

Editor's note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Michael Cohn, CEO of Cloud Sherpas, who is sharing his perspectives on switching from Lotus Notes to Google Apps. Cloud Sherpas is a Google partner that helps mid-size and large enterprises get the most out of Google Apps.

Cloud Sherpas specializes in moving clients off legacy, on-premise messaging systems and has a strong track record of successful deployments. The company will co-host a morning workshop – Leaving Lotus: Making the Switch from Lotus Notes/Domino to Google Apps – on Thursday, August 13 in Atlanta, Georgia.

For those of you who can't make it, the Q&A portion will be broadcast live and questions will be taken over twitter.

I first learned about Google Apps for Your Domain in mid 2007, before the term "cloud computing" entered the industry lexicon. Back then Google Apps represented the next big thing in IT – the promise of enterprise computing in the cloud.

Two years and one recession later, Google Apps is an enterprise-ready alternative for IT leaders who are frustrated with the traditional cycle of software license negotiations, complex upgrade deployments, and paying for unused maintenance contracts.

Since founding Cloud Sherpas over a year ago, we have guided dozens of large organizations from legacy, on-premise messaging infrastructures to the Google Apps cloud. The value proposition for each of our customers has been different. Some are driven by end user productivity gains, others by cost savings and IT simplification.

Jay Kenney, CIO at Lincoln Property Company, told us his decision to migrate 950 GroupWise users to Google Apps was influenced by ROI, the rich feature-set Google Apps delivers to his users, and was consistent with Lincoln's strategic Business Technology roadmap. Another Cloud Sherpas customer recently collapsed four Exchange servers and three domains into one Google Apps account, making it easier for their IT group to support the company's growth-through-acquisition strategy. And for one southeastern university with over 50,000 accounts, switching to Google Apps provides an unmatched end-user experience, giving students and alumni a greatly improved, modern messaging platform.

Interest in Google Apps is particularly strong in businesses still running Lotus Notes/Domino. Users in these organizations have been complaining about outdated tools for years, and IT leaders, frustrated with IBM's software lifecycle and pressured by shrinking IT budgets, are challenging the status quo. Many of these organizations, however, have large investments in the Lotus platform, and concerns about how to effectively evaluate, plan, test and migrate their deeply integrated environments.

We understand the plight of Lotus customers. Our professional services team has decades of experience designing and maintaining large enterprise Notes/Domino infrastructures, as well as countless nights in data centers migrating Lotus data to other competing platforms.

If you're an IT leader managing a large Lotus environment, we hope you'll join us on Thursday, August 13 in Atlanta as Cloud Sherpas co-hosts Leaving Lotus - Making the Switch from Lotus Notes/Domino to Google Apps. We'll be joined by Google, Binary Tree and Ferris Research, all on-hand to share their perspective on why your organization should consider making the switch.

If you can't make it to Atlanta, you can still participate. We're going to broadcast the Q&A portion of our live seminar online and will be taking your questions over twitter. Just tweet your Lotus Notes to Google Apps questions or concerns with the hashtag #LeavingLotus and register to listen in Thursday, August 13 to the live responses.

– Michael Cohn, CEO, Cloud Sherpas

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

When students decided to run for office in University of Notre Dame's 2008 student government elections, all candidates firmly agreed on one platform: getting their school to switch to Google Apps. Notre Dame's IT department heard them loud and clear.

We love learning about companies and schools that have "gone Google", and University of Notre Dame is a compelling example of what's possible by making the switch. The University was looking for a new email system, but they ended up getting much more. Google Apps delivered a whole new way of communicating and collaborating on campus – and it let them reallocate $1.5 million to new IT initiatives while building student satisfaction (up 36%) and cutting help desk calls by 20%.

According to Katie Rose, Program Manager at Notre Dame's Office of Information Technologies, “The tools that Google Apps offers, and the ability to provide a robust, cost-effective service, made us all wish we had chosen to move in this direction sooner.”

If you'd like to hear more about how Google Apps helped Notre Dame reclaim budget and improve satisfaction, join our free webinar:

Google Apps Education Edition at University of Notre Dame
Thursday, August 13, 2009
10:00 a.m. PDT (GMT -07:00, San Francisco)

We hope that Notre Dame's example will help you see what's possible for your school with Google Apps Education Edition.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps Education team

Enterprise Architecture A to Z reports that most enterprises allocate between 2-10% of their revenues on overall IT spending. Organizations might spend millions of dollars on systems such as ECM, ERP, CRM, BI, or DBMS.

Yet, despite that spending, AIIM reports that 73% of enterprise users don't think it's easy to find the information they need to do their jobs. As these organizations work to improve their IT return on investment, we'd like to help them start with a Return on Information – backed by the Google Search Appliance 6.0. Starting today, we are offering to help new customers "JumpStart" this equally critical type of ROI.

The Google Search Appliance (GSA) increases Return on Information by working across diverse repositories, business systems, and data structures to return the results users need. It's also easy to deploy – customers get their GSA up and running quickly, with highly relevant results right out of the box. But our JumpStart adds a lift: two days of onsite deployment services, provided by a select Google enterprise partner, as a "welcome" offer for new customers licensing a GSA covering one million documents or more.

With this ROI JumpStart, new GSA users will accelerate their onboarding experience, from purchasing to deploying to getting relevant results to end users. Our partners will work with your team on site for two days, at no cost to you, sharing proven expertise and the GSA's out-of-the-box results and getting your new GSA indexing repositories across your organization.

What's more, the onsite Google enterprise partner
will show your search administrators how to work with the GSA to add more repositories for your users to search. With your new GSA and two days of professional coaching, your team will be ready to jump ahead and get a true return on information.

At this time, the ROI JumpStart is available to new GSA customers in the United States and Canada.

Learn more about the ROI Jumpstart here, or contact a Google sales professional.

Posted by
Angelo Gomez and Cyrus Mistry, Google Search Appliance team

Today we're asking people to start telling us how they've "gone Google," and we're using billboards in four US cities to share some of the the typical IT frustrations that might make people want to switch to Google Apps. We've learned a lot from hearing the reasons why people have chosen Google Apps in their business, school, and government offices, and we hope you'll enjoy seeing some of the things that might inspire people to switch. You can read more about the "going Google" momentum on the Official Google Blog, and get a preview of our billboards here:

We hope you'll be part of the story. If you've already gone Google, you can
tweet about it here, or chime in (using a #goneGoogle tag) any time that you tweet.

We're also offering some tools to help you
spread the word. Visit for more info and stay tuned to this blog as we continue to talk about organizations that have gone Google.

Posted by Vivian Leung, Google Apps team

Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Allen Falcon, CEO and owner of Horizon Info Services, LLC, a Google partner that helps businesses make a fast and easy transition to Google Apps. Horizon's goal is to provide businesses with 1 to 500 employees with best-in-class solutions that are typically only within reach of larger corporations – all at a price they can afford. Horizon Info Services is a Google Enterprise Partner and Authorized Reseller for Google Apps and Google Postini Services.

In addition to Google's communication, collaboration, and security services, Horizon offers a line of online backup and disaster recovery services. Allen is a 20 year information services veteran with CIO level experience for major corporations as well as small and mid-size businesses. Horizon will host a live webcast on Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. Join us Tuesday, August 11 at 12:00 pm PDT / 3:00 pm EDT.

When staying trim makes all the difference
My friend Jeff Lerman of Cold Spring Design – specialists in website design, hosting, and maintenance – was rebuilding the websites for Massachusetts-based Fitness Management Services (FMS) and its two health club properties, Worcester Fitness and Plymouth Fitness. While he was working on the website redesigns, he noticed that the company was struggling with its email service and needed a better solution.

Among other things, the small company was tired of spam and problems with outbound mail flow. Employees also wanted to share calendars, schedule resources, and publish fitness schedules on its website without having to buy more software.

Jeff reviewed our
presentation comparing Google Apps with an in-house Microsoft Exchange solution and did the math. Setting up an in-house email system was never going to happen: hardware, software, networking, security, administration, and backups would be too much for a company that must keep its overhead trim. Jeff and Fitness Management Services (FMS) knew right away that a hosted solution was the way to go.

A serious contender in hosted solutions
A hosted solution would provide a fully managed service and infrastructure, simple pricing, no specialized hardware or software to maintain, and no need to add storage capacity or manage complex backups. After reviewing multiple options, they came to a clear decision: Google Apps was the best choice given the capacity, features, and low cost. Other providers offered a mere 4GB of storage space, while Google Apps offered 25GB. And we liked the other features. Google Apps provided integrated instant messaging, VoIP and video, as well as tools for web-based collaboration as part of the package.

The list went on and on – with the pluses in terms of features, capacity, and cost as well as scalability and easy integration all weighing in on the Google Apps side of the balance sheet. We evaluated the feature enhancements and savings potential and shared it with the FMS team.

When Jeff called about Google Apps Premier Edition and put us in touch with Joe Santa Maria, VP of Business Development for FMS, the fit was obvious. By helping FMS implement Google Apps, we could provide them with , hosted email for their staff for about half the cost of other hosted email providers.

We could also provide BlackBerry and iPhone integration and email synchronization for those users with mobile devices – at no additional cost. And we could help migrate data and provide training for users with a wide range of computer skills. We presented our
comparison between Google Apps and hosted Microsoft Exchange services and the decision was clear.

With Google Apps, Email is Only the Beginning
Bundling service and support with Google Apps is our passion. It was in our planning assessment, however, that we found a gem. Jeff and Joe mentioned that they were looking for a better way to publish multiple fitness, activity, and program schedules to the company's sites. Joe wanted his staff to be able to update schedules on the fly without having to invest in a scheduling system for the website.

We conducted a quick demonstration of Google Calendar, and the ability to embed documents and content using iframes and publish everything by RSS feed, and the solution for scheduling was set – at no additional cost.

We planned a full-press rollout. Key to our success would be helping users migrate past emails and helping them pick their email client. Given the in-and-out scheduling of staff across three locations, Horizon made multiple on-site visits for demonstrations, training, and when needed, one-on-one coaching. Users picked their preferred client – the Gmail web interface, Outlook, or Thunderbird.

Horizon’s team provided specific instructions and assistance for migrating historical emails as well as using each client with Gmail. While only 20% of the users had personal experience with Gmail, over 2/3 chose the Gmail web interface, taking advantage of the improved search, integrated chat, and robust calendar features. But Google Apps gave users the flexibility to continue with their established inbox system if that is what they wanted. Giving users a choice of email clients smoothed the transition by minimizing change.

Adding Value to Clients' Businesses
Today, the teams at FMS and the fitness centers use email without worries – and with virtually no spam. They rave about the personal, group, and event calendar services and love how emails, calendars and contacts are integrated and synchronized with their iPhones.

We've found that Google Apps Premier Edition is a wonderful way to add value to our clients' businesses. Its flexibility and feature set allows resellers to provide more than just implementation and support – instead, we can dig deeper into the rich feature set of Google Apps to uncover solutions that make noticeable and measurable improvements in the way our clients do business.

If you'd like to learn more, join us on our live webcast:

Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
12:00 pm PDT / 3:00 pm EDT

You can also contact Horizon via our
Google Apps-powered website or email me directly.

– Allen Falcon, CEO and owner, Horizon Info Services

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps Team

Interested in switching from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps? Please visit this resource site to find more customer stories like this one.