A few weeks ago, GigaOM got an invite for the beta version of what would eventually become Google Apps for Your Domain offering. It seems like such a great idea for early stage companies like ours or small and medium sized businesses. A free email and […]

A few weeks ago, GigaOM got an invite for the beta version of what would eventually become Google Apps for Your Domain offering. It seems like such a great idea for early stage companies like ours or small and medium sized businesses. A free email and scheduling package with Google’s backing, how could you go wrong. I was pretty excited about signing up, and it was a painless process. All that remained was changing our MX records to point to Google’s servers.

At the very last minute, a red flag popped up that made us change our mind: the privacy disclosure. Of course there was the whole issue of getting email on the go; many on our team wanted to use BlackBerries, while I wanted to use my Nokia E61 with Good (by far the best push mail offering on Symbian), so instead we decided to go the traditional route. Okay, perhaps I was being a bit too paranoid, but given the recent AOL DataGate, it is prudent to be wary of the big guys.

Reading between the lines, our good friend Dan Farber says that this is Google Office version 1.0, and the search engine giant will add Writely and Spreadsheets to the package and poke Microsoft in the eye. Kent Newsome offers a strong counterpoint. Our readers in response to a previous post are involved in a hot, intelligent, educational and a rather enjoyable debate.

[Update: just to clarify again - the beta invite we got was for Mail and Calendar, and there wasn't called Google Apps for Your Domain.]

By Om Malik

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  4. I’m not sure if I follow what’s scary about that privacy disclosure. Isn’t the domain administrator just the owner of the domain that’s hosted with Google?

    I’m still trying to follow all the implications of the terms of service, but the thing you link to doesn’t seem scary at all since traditional IT organizations can already do these things.

  5. We do try out the products and it is good, initially it was our plan to have all our members to use gmail as a standard platform of communication as nowaday, a lot of e-mail are being block here and there.. when we tested out everything and plan to get all the 200,000 members move into this.. Wait a minutes.. few things come into our mind..

    1. It is great platform, but there’s no saving on our end, since they are using their own e-mail anyway..

    2. Our members will become their members

    3. What are we getting out from there, if there’s no saving..

    I think it missed out one great features in their adsense.. If they can allowed us or anyone who have certain level of audience to move there and share out the ads revenue, then we don’t mind.., they should have consider this… allowing people to share out part of the revenue generated under the domain, for site with lots of members…That’s why as of today, even though we try out the best, we reluctant to let members move over. Just our view from another angle..

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  7. I’m with Alex above. In most organisation the mail administrator typical have the ability to access the user’s mail.

    The AOL saga on the other hand made us weary of what kind of usage data is collected. This I believe is what is not fully disclosed.

  8. I agree with Alex and Ken. On first reading that was my take on the privacy policy. Your “domain administrator” can already access your email or anything you do that goes through the ISP pipe. Doesn’t sound so bad.

  9. Its really cool if you are in love with gmail. I am glad I got one though I seldom use gTalk or any chat clients, but their mail on Convergence.In works fine.

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    I’ve been waiting for this for several months now.

    Google is finally moving more firmly into the Application Service Provider (or managed services, or whatever they are calling it this week) field by offering private-label mail, IM, and calendaring…


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