There are two sides. Either you Love “Da Google” or you hate “Da Google”. Some people trust Sergei and his friend implicitly , some people don”t. And I must say: I’m one of the former ones. I have been using Google and Gmail for over three years now, and so far I am loving it. Over the last five years i’ve been down quite a path when it comes to Email solutions. When I just had one computer , it was not really a problem, but once we had several computers the whole POP3 email solution just did not do it for me anymore. So I have tried several things. I setup my own SBS server, Pop3’ing my emails INTO the exchange server and accessing them using Outlook or via Webmail. That worked pretty fine. But the trail version I had of SBS expired (read : i could not find a working crack ) and I had to go and look for other solutions. That’s when I found FIRSTCLASS. A free email server (with the ability to pop3 email INTO the server , just like exchange) and access it via a client or via the web. AND there was a client for both Mac , Windows and Linux computers ! Worked all fine and dandy but .. you had to have your own server running.
At some point, I don’t know where I decided to pull down our Firstclass server and look for another groupwise-email solution for Nyana and me. ( I think one of the reasons was that the Firstclass mailserver had two old scsi drives that made and insane amount of noise ) So that’s when I turned to Gmail. I let go of the whole ‘hosting your own server’ and put my faith in the hands of the guyz at G.
And so far that has been going great . For the last three years every email that we sent back and forth went into our Gmail account and got archived. Whenever we needed something , we searched and found. Once the whole IMAP thing got started we moved to open source clients on the different operating systems , or accessed the system using Gmail. Calendar sharing and chat came soon after that , so for the last 2 years we have been heavily “Google-ized”.
Do I mind that Google gives me little adds on the side ? To be quite frank, I hardly noticed them and have never clicked on one. Do I mind Google “reads my email” .. not realy . They don’t give me spam. As a matter of fact, they offer me the best spamfilter I’ve seen in quite some time.
So this week I took it one step further and activated “Google apps for domains” . Its a free service by Google and what it eventually does is that Google now becomes your email provider (instead of just using one mailbox , all the mail gets sent to Gmail) Once you have it setup you get to play “administrator” for your own Google-domain. So you can setup mailaccounts for you and your family, (all with an @yourdomain.com domain name) , get to play with shared calendars , Google Sites , Google chat etc etc .. and its all for free.
Technically it takes a bit of reading to get it all setup (just follow the steps at www.google.com/a ) and make sure you are in touch with your hosting company that hosts your domain (cause you have to change some Cname and MX dns records) but once that that is done , you are up and running. So far I’ve setup our mailaccounts, shared calendars, contacts and so forth. There is nothing realy NEW about the whole setup , but this way I can easily make new mail accounts and make sure that the outgoing addresses that gmail sends out are @mydomain.com instead of ” on behalf of @mydomain.com, from @gmail.com” as it is when u use a regular gmail account with additional sender addresses.
Conclusion ? Instead of having my own flaky mailserver slurping away power at home, I now rely on google’s infrastructure, the chance that all severn (!) of their MX servers go down is slightly smaller then the chance this could happen to my own server. Ok , i’ve ” handed off” the real email collaboration to another company but hey ! Its for free, its stable and it lets tech work for you.