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Summary:

Google Apps continues to grow in usefulness over time, especially as you can customize and extend the original platform. You can add a slew of new apps and gadgets to the default selection that appears on your dashboard. The first place to look is in the ever-growing Google […]

Google Apps continues to grow in usefulness over time, especially as you can customize and extend the original platform. You can add a slew of new apps and gadgets to the default selection that appears on your dashboard. The first place to look is in the ever-growing Google Solutions Marketplace which, like Apple’s iTunes App Store, is a directory of professional apps and services.

Besides the Solutions Marketplace, there are other ways to extend Google Apps. For example, you can add just about any app from the Google App Engine, which includes its own development platform. Also worth mentioning is the fact that you can also addi apps and gadgets from Google Labs. There are only three you can add to Google Apps at this time, but they are excellent ones: Google Moderator, Google Code and Google Shortlinks. There’s no doubt that there will be plenty more to come.

Here are some of the best free add-ons that I’ve found for the  Google Apps platform.

Google Contacts App for Google Apps. Google has a standalone Contacts app (currently in beta) for the Google Apps platform. Using this app, every member of an organization hosted on Google Apps can share a centralized address book. You can add it to your dashboard by clicking the “Add more services” link.

Zoho Project App for Google Apps. Just because Google Apps doesn’t have a built-in project app doesn’t mean you can’t use one . You can add Zoho Project, which provides a free basic plan for one project.

Zoho CRM allows you to add a Salesforce-like CRM app to your dashboard. The free version lets up to three people from your organization share customer and sales information.

Tungle works well with Gmail and Google Calendar and makes scheduling meetings much easier by allowing people from different companies to see available times (see our previous review here).

Google Contact Importer lets you import contacts from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. It’s free for a single user, or there’s a premium version for multiple users or everyone on the entire Google Apps domain.

Yuuguu is a free screen sharing and web conferencing service that works with GTalk and Gmail (WWD review here). There are plans to release a paid corporate edition down the road but for now it’s totally free.

Gantt Charts for Google Apps adds the ability to create Gantt charts to your Google Spreadsheets.

Google Short Links is a URL shortening service for Google Apps and allows you to use much shorter more descriptive names for URLs.

Google Docs Backup does just that, backs up all of the documents stored in your Google Docs area within Google Apps. It’s free for a single mailbox user. There’s also a plan available that will back up Docs for all for all users on a domain.

PDFescape provides a free online PDF reader, editor, form filler and form designer.

What add-ons have you customized your Google Apps with?

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  1. Philippe Creytens Friday, January 15, 2010

    For Windows users that have issues with right-clicking to send documents from the Desktop, send documents from within Office or want to drag files instead of attaching them: Affixa.com.
    Utility that stays in System Tray and becomes default email client.
    Solved some ‘switching from Outlook’ issues for our customers.

  2. I think http://tomsplanner.com could be a good addition to this list. It enables you to create Gantt charts online with drag & drop simplicity. It is very easy to use, has practically no learning curve. You can share schedules with a team, print them, export them to an image or MS Project. We are working on a collaboration feature, which will make it possible to work on projects with a team and save them online.

  3. Would like to add social wok to the list. A powerful social media environment for google apps. it’s like your own internal social network. http://www.socialwok.com

  4. Google Contacts does not yet allow for a centralized address book without third-party software or an intimate knowledge of the API. The only contacts that are shared are members of the domain. Hardly useful.

  5. Where i can find App ID ? Without App ID i can’t add services.

  6. Two other Google Apps add-ons worth mentioning have been developed by our company, Cloud Sherpas. The first is SherpaTools for Google Apps. Delivered as a service and requiring no installation or updates, SherpaTools provides Google Apps administrators with powerful admin tools, like Directory Manager and Compliance Audit, and offer end-users new features like the directory IM Bot. Best of all, SherpaTools for Google Apps is free while in beta! Learn more at:
    http://www.sherpatools.com/tour/

    Next is the Bulk File Uploader for Google Sites. This PC/Mac desktop utility makes it easy to upload your documents in bulk to Google Sites. A free demo is available at:
    http://www.cloudsherpas.com/bfu

  7. Tips på hur vi kan utöka Google Apps « marten@work Monday, January 18, 2010

    [...] 10 Free Add-ons to Extend Google Apps and Make It More Useful [...]

  8. Collaboration Consultant Monday, January 18, 2010

    I am not sure if the above plugins are available for free or a cost, but if theyre paid, one is better off simply by opting for a collaboration service like HyperOffice Collaboration Suite which includes these features in the suite itself (project management, contact management, scheduling).

  9. 10 Free Add-ons to Extend Google Apps and Make It More Useful « The Wiert Corner – Jeroen Pluimers’ irregular stream of Wiert stuff Monday, January 18, 2010

    [...] 10 Free Add-ons to Extend Google Apps and Make It More Useful. [...]

  10. I found that, for collaboration, it’s tough to stay organized by project. Something that Docs can integrate with.

    Manymoon.com was godsend. Great for staying organized, and free.

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