Google Targets Microsoft Hosted Services with GAFYD
Published: August 30, 2006
by Alex Woodie
Google this week launched a new line of hosted applications in the hopes of attracting users away from Microsoft hosted apps. The new Google Apps For Your Domain, or GAFYD, includes free hosted e-mail, calendar, instant messaging (IM), and Web page creation services, and will compete with some of Microsoft's new (and also free) Windows Live Essentials offerings.
GAFYD, which makes use of Google's software and Google's server, enables organizations to provide Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calender, and Google Page Creator to their users.. As long as users have their own Internet domain already registered, the GAFYD toolset allows them to start using these Web-based services, as opposed to installing applications on their own desktops and servers.
The GAFYD service includes an administrative interface that enables managers to select services, do bulk registrations of new e-mail accounts, and migrate e-mail accounts from existing systems. The software also provides tips for updating DNS records that permit Gmail to handle a user's e-mail traffic. Once everything is set up, users can access their GAFYD services at a Google Web address, such as http://mail.google.com/a/[your-domain.com].
GAFYD is still in beta, and not all users that register for GAFYD will gain access to the capabilities. Instead, Google is handpicking which organizations will get to use them.
Several organizations have already started using the GAFYD tools, including San Jose City College in the San Francisco Bay Area. "We considered many options and chose Google Apps for Your Domain because of the quality of the products, the ease of implementation, and frankly because so many of our students already know and trust Google's search and communication tools," says the college's director of finance and administration, Michael John Renzi.
Another early GAFYD user, according to a Google reference page, is Rock Kitchen Harris, an English advertising, PR, and Web design firm. "We used to have an old Windows 2000 box stashed under a desk, running our mail server," says a senior Web developer with the company, Paul Sculthorpe. "It worked fine for many years, but during the hot weather a few weeks ago, it just blew up. Luckily, we were able to get up and running with Google's solution quickly and with minimal disruption to our business."
Despite the hoopla that inevitably accompanies the launch of a new Google service, such as the Google Pack launched earlier this year, we still haven't seen the much-ballyhooed Office-killer that Google was supposedly going to launch.
You can find more information on GAFYD at https://www.google.com/a.