Gmail for Business – 365 Alternative

Gmail for business, better than Office 365?

Since the launch in April 2004 Gmail has risen to be the market leader as a consumer email provider. The days when everything was Hotmail have well and truly gone, and with Yahoo struggling to reboot their business, Google have email well and truly bagged. As of Feb 2016 Gmail had a staggering billion active consumer users worldwide.

gmail by googleBack in August 2006 Google launched Google Apps for your domain, this paved the way to introducing businesses to the world of Google. After a few rebrands Google now offer their business class services under the G Suite brand.

The main services are Gmail, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Forms and Google Drive, but for this article I am going to concentrate on Gmail for business rather than the full G Suite.

Interesting facts

Well I think so!

Would you believe that the first version of Gmail, which was developed by Paul Buchheit, Factswas built in a single day? yep you heard me right. Reusing the source code from Google Groups gave Paul a head start, but still, what an achievement.

When Google first announced Gmail to the public, they didn’t have an infrastructure in place to offer users a reliable service. Gmail started by running on three hundred old Pentium III computers that nobody else in Google wanted. How things have changed.

Is Gmail Suitable for Business Class Email

Absolutely, 100% yes. Even though Gmail was born into a consumer market, G Suite ticks all the boxes when it comes to offering a reliable, robust, secure, world class email service.gmail for business

Too many businesses go for the default option of Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange, without even exploring other possibilities. In my opinion Gmail isn’t a lesser option, I have been using Gmail since the Google Apps days (as it was named then). Even though I have explored other email solutions, I have never been able to find anything that can match that of Gmail.

Administrative Control

On an administrative level, setting up and managing G Suite for most companies will be a simple process. Like most of Google’s services, G Suite is intuitive and a pleasure to use. Don’t be fooled by the glossy finish, the admin module is very powerful, take a peek under the hood and you will find a whole bunch of admin controls.g suite admin

I am the administrator for a number of UK companies and it’s very rare that I need to ask for help from Google. But when I do run into difficulty, help is only a phone call away, thanks to the 24/7 phone support.

Being cloud based means you don’t need to install anything on your local network. Unless of course you want to use Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS) to sync Microsoft® Active Directory® or LDAP server with your G Suite account or

Multiple Domain Names

One of my favourite things about Gmail for business is being able to add multiple domain names to your account. Like many people and companies alike, I own more than one domain name and receive and send emails from multiple alias names.

Gmail took this on board and permit you to add 600 domains in total, that’s one primary domain, 20 domain aliases and 599 non primary domains. A full explanation on the domainsdifference is explained here https://support.google.com/a/answer/175747?hl=en – this is great news for large organisations that may own domain names for different brands within their organisation and also for smaller companies just wishing to add a couple of domain variants like @yourcompany.com and @yourcompany.co.uk.

One handy little trick is setting Gmail to always reply to an email from the email address it was originally sent. Meaning you don’t have to worry about replying from the wrong address.

Huge Amounts of Storage

With the basic G Suite plan coming with a whopping 30GB of space per user, and the business plan with unlimited storage, you’ll never have to worry about running out astorage space again. The storage is shared across Gmail, Drive etc but 30GB (which is upgradable) is more than enough for most.

Privacy

There has been a lot of negative reports in the press recently about email privacy concerns. But fear not my good friend, Gmail doesn’t snoop on your business emails to display advertisements nor do they display any annoying advertisements in front of you. Furthermore, G Suite administrators can fine tune additional security and privacy settings.

The Concept of Archiving and not Deleting

Gmail introduced a new concept to email, and that was not deleting emails but archiving them instead. The idea is that no email communication is ever lost. Gmail take away the concerns with storage limits, so deleting is something of the past.

Search

When it comes to search, Google owns the word and they don’t let the side down when it comes to searching your emails. The search facility is just perfect, it just seems to know searchwhat you’re looking for and displays the results. You can also use search operators to further filter what you are looking for.

Training & Support

Unlike the consumer version of Gmail which relies on public forums for support, G Suite for Business customers receive 24/7 email, chat and telephone support. 99.9% uptime SLA and zero scheduled downtime. There is also a ton of information available to end users and administrators alike. Google’s learning centre offers some really useful training guides.

Spam Filtering, Virus and Phishing Protection

Google acquired Postini in 2007 –  Postini offered some of the best e-mail, Web security, and archiving services on the planet, once purchased Google started integrating their experience into their own services. Gmail now has one of the most accurate spam filters there is, plus powerful antivirus and phishing detection software.

It’s very rare for me to get any junk in my inbox.spam

Admins can whitelist/blacklist domains and IP addresses, add keyword rules to further enhance the spam filtering. You can also adjust global settings to be more aggressive for more stringent filtering of bulk email.

Part 2 of this article will be posted very soon

My past posts have been a little too long so I wanted to write this one over a couple of parts. I am already working in part 2 where I will be exploring deeper into the realms of Gmail for business.

In the 2nd part to this post I will be exploring, Compliance, Microsoft Compatibility, Threaded Conversations, Migration, Labels not Folders, Groups for Shared Email, Custom Branding, Filters and Mobile & Apps

Was this article helpful?

paul o'brien

If you found this article useful then please show your appreciation by liking this post or sharing it using one of the social media share links below.

Questions, suggestions for future posts or general feedback is always welcome

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

How I become a G Suite Super Fan

Microsoft out, Google in.

The Turning Point

Back in 2007 saw the release of the very first iPhone, PCs started to come shipped with Microsoft Vista and iMacs were still the new kid on the block (oh and let’s not forget first iphoneRihanna’s Umbrella song stayed in the charts for an incredible 10 weeks.)

Microsoft was still the default choice for most things and I hated it.

Then one lazy afternoon later that same year, I read an article about the increasing popularity of the iMac and as someone who likes the underdog it wasn’t long before I purchased my first Linux based machine.

Within a week I realised just how much I loved the iMac and at the same time how much I disliked Microsoft. Using Apple’s macOS felt like a homecoming to me, everything just made sense. It worked how it should and didn’t splurge out error after error and fall over halfway through writing an unsaved letter. I swore then that I wouldn’t never venture back into the problem ridden world of Microsoft.

windows-vista

Every time I was forced to use a PC at a client’s premises, or help one of my Children on their home laptops, it added a little more to the Microsoft hate pit. Over the coming years that original dislike of Microsoft grew and festered inside of me.

I wasn’t the only person disheartened by watching others struggle with simple tasks on their Windows based PC’s. Magazines and online forums were full of people moaning about crashing PC’s, how complicated things were and how Microsoft was of little or no help. How I was glad to be in the Apple club.

The Downside to the iMac move

There was one downside to owning an iMac and that was the limited availability of software. Don’t get me wrong, things had come on massively since the iMac launch but compared to Windows software, you were in no way spoilt for choice.

I did have a copy of Apple’s iWork bundle, this comprised of Pages, Keynote and Numbers. These were OK but only that, just OK. Even though called iWork, in my humble opinion they were more aimed at the consumer than at business users. Since movingiwork to Apple I had refused to install Microsoft Office or for that matter, any Microsoft title. I am a stubborn kinder of a guy and wasn’t going to be deterred from owning a Mac. I wanted to explore other options that weren’t Microsoft so I set myself a challenge and that challenge was to erase Microsoft out of my life completely.

I know it sounds a little drastic but a challenge is a challenge and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a better alternative for me out there.

The False Start

I had a personal Gmail account, which like many others I had to wait for that all important and prized invitation. (Gmail started with a limited beta rollout, this involved giving accounts to a thousand outsiders and allowing them to invite a couple of friends apiece, and growing slowly from there.)

gmailAs much as I liked using Gmail (especially the user interface, labels and search) there were some niggles that I couldn’t get over. The main culprit being conversation view which was enabled by default and couldn’t be disabled.

Being from the old school, I was used to single view emails and just hated conversation view. There were also issues with unrelated conversations being linked together which caused me a massive headache, so I parked my Gmail account and used my Apple @me.com address instead.

Google Relents on the Conversation View Argument

I wasn’t alone with the conversation view argument and after many years of petitions and dedicated websites of hate, Google relented and decided to give their users the ability to switch conversation view off.

You can read their official post here https://gmail.googleblog.com/2010/09/turn-off-gmails-conversation-view.html

This was big news on the web and as soon as I discovered the change, my sights were firmly fixed back on Google Apps Premier Edition.

My Move to Google Begins

The Google Apps suite came with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Sites and Google Talk, basically everything I needed to run my business. It google apps premier editionwasn’t a hard decision for me to migrate straight over to Google Apps and without a second thought I did exactly that.

Google are like Apple’s and the latest Android and iPhones, things just work. Using Cloud based software was fantastic for me as it allowed me to work from anywhere in the world without the need of having to use my own computer, very handy when working on site at a clients or on holiday.

Compatibility wasn’t an issue as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides lets you import their Microsoft counterparts documents in a breeze. Google also compatabilitygive you the ability to export any document as Excel, Word or Powerpoint compatible files.

Gmail was my favourite part of Google for Work. I loved the fact I could add multiple domains to my account and send and receive emails from multiple alias names across multiple domains. As I ran about 6 websites at the time, having more than one domain for email was absolutely essential. Search was impossible to beat and to this day still is, finding lost emails was never going to be a tiresome issue again.

Never having to worry about backups or software updates signed the deal for me, I was converted.

Present Day

i_love_googleTo this very day, amid a few rebrands I have stayed loyal to Google and have strayed only the once. I am now an avid user of Google G Suite. and as well as being an authorised referrer I am also working towards being a certified G Suite Partner.

For professional reasons I have followed Microsoft’s Office 365, and have tested it on a few occasions. I will admit that they have come on a long way but ….. Office 365 is no way as user friendly as G Suite, 365 costs more (nearly double on same subscriptions) and G Suite support can not be beat.

As of January 2017, G Suite has 3 million paying businesses, and 70 million G Suite for Education users. I am very pleased that my children’s school uses Google Classroom and for them, Google is now the norm and Microsoft the underdog, who would have thought?

You can signup for a Google G Suite trial here and if you are interested in moving to G Suite then give me a shout and i’ll email you a discount code to enable you to receive 20% off your first years subscription charges.

Was this article helpful?

paul o'brien

If you found this article useful then please show your appreciation by liking this post or sharing it using one of the social media share links below.

Questions, suggestions for future posts or general feedback is always welcome

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.