Google Apps For Your Domain

Once again I find myself playing with Google’s new applications. I got sick and tired of my host’s email interface (plus the fact that it’s being blocked by some network) that I tried Google Apps For Your Domain. I specifically wanted to try this out for educational purposes.

So it powered up my email. It reminded me of the days when I’d use Everyone.net to provide my former company (Loyola Plans Inc.) a free web-based email interface. Everyone.net is no longer free and if Loyola availed of its services now, it would have to cough up a horrendous amount just to support all of its employees all over the Philippines. So Google comes up with something free. And it’s not just email anymore.

What you’re seeing on the right side of this review is my organization’s portal page. I’m just tweaking with it, but I like the fact that all of my users can move things around (hello again, Web 2.0!) and choose what they want to see on the surface. If you check up close, there’s even a horoscope feature that syncs to my birthday. Yes, my start page shows that I’m a Piscean and today’s horoscope even accurately described what kind of person I am (that I feed on uncertainty and complexity because it drives my imagination and enables me to do many things) :

“Tying up the loose ends of your life should be your highest priority today and you Fish can have more tangles than anyone. Normally, you thrive on uncertainty and complexity, for this feeds your imagination and inspires you to do many things. However, change is in the air and you will be better off if you can simplify now so you don’t have to do it under pressure later on.
Saturday, January 20, 2007 “

Let’s see. I have here CNN, Newsweek, Slashdot, People Magazine, CNN Money, Quotes for the Day, Forbes, Reuters Oddly Enough, 1UP Video Game Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, the Weather Report, Stickies, and my calendar, of course.

None of those default index pages wherein the content is applicable to everyone else. I chose the content I want to appear and I’m happy seeing them all in one site. I know myYahoo has the same offering but this is your own organization’s domain we’re talking about here. Gad, if I went back to the days when I tried to sell the idea of an Intranet to Loyola…well, this thing just makes me want to weep at the fact that it took nearly a decade before my web-related wishes would come to fruition. I had to manually edit the intranet before…and no one even bothered to check what’s new. Except the stakeholders.

(In the 90s, I emailed Amazon and urged them to come up with a customizable co-branding facility so my visitors can just buy directly from my site. It was only late last year that they released aStore and ECS. Google apparently likes doing the same thing.)

Heck, even the webmail lets you use your own logo instead of Gmail’s. Ditto for the calendar. Now, the only thing missing is for Google to go from aStore to ECS. What do I mean by this? I’d like Google to be able to let me use my own CSS and layout so that I wouldn’t be so limited to just changing the colors of my masthead and uploading a banner/logo. I’d also love to change the color scheme of my Gmail interface. Predominant blue is waging a civil war with my logo’s color scheme.
Other than design issues, I’m pretty happy with this. Someday, however, I’d like to see this thing let me create groups and post pictures. This would be good for my slides and photo-heavy classes like HUCOMIN and APPROJ2.

Rating: 9/10

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