Working in the cloud is not only a marketing term, it’s about how to work with your e-mail, calendar, contact list and documents online on all your devices, all over the world. Google, through their Google Apps, offer the collaborative tools you need to work in the cloud. You can use Google Apps on your own domain for free (up to 10 user accounts) or use the premium version like I do. The costs for the premium version are $5/user/month.
Reasons to use Google Apps
- Each free user account includes a 10GB mailbox (25GB by the premium version)
- By using Google Drive, you can synchronize your local files with the cloud and with other computers
- Google Apps integrates perfectly with mobile devices like Smart Phones and tablets (Android and iOS)
- You can collaborate using Google Docs, work in real-time together in documents, spreadsheets and presentations
How I use Google Apps
I’m using Gmail (the e-mail client in Google Apps) since the early beta period in 2004 and I use Google Docs for most of my documents. Today I use the cloud as followed:
On my Android Smart Phone
I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts and Google drive with the native apps. Their synchronisation tool offers access to all of my data from any of their apps, virtually in real-time. The contact list is where the tool really shines. I simply add my contact data into the web interface inside the Gmail application and then I can access my data from all of the Google applications, whether I am using my phone or a web browser.
With Google Chrome on my laptop or desktop PC
If you use Google Apps, you should install Google Chrome, too. All the applications are optimized for Chrome and they work much faster than using Firefox or Internet Explorer. Since I’m using Gmail for so long, I use the web-based interface for all my e-mail and the calendar. Many 3rd party applications integrate smoothly with Google Apps, too. For example you can access the files from your Google Drive, select contacts from the contact list or 3rd party events are displayed in your calendar.I use the the Google Chrome browser more often than any other desktop application and I don’t need Microsoft Office anymore.
How about backups?
There is no need for an backup if you work in the cloud, actually it’s not necessary to save your work. I know some people worry that Google might delete their account by accident. While I have never heard of this happening, it’s always a good idea to utitlize more than one backup option.
Spanning Backup for Google Apps
I remember that my first Gmail backup was actually a local copy by using an IMAP enabled e-mail client. Using this method does provide a copy of all your messages but it is for sure not the most reliable option. Almost a year ago I tried Spanning Backup for Google Apps and I must say that I like it a lot! You know how good a backup system is at the moment that you need a backup. I have had to rely upon a backup that I made with this tool a few weeks ago.
I removed my contact from my Smart Phone with the idea to synchronize the with the version from the cloud. What happend was that my contact list was removed too. By using Spanning Backup for Google Apps it was possible to recover that list with only a few mouse-clicks.
Spanning backup offers a solution to create backups for your email, the files on your Google drive, your calendar and your contact list. The price for a single user is $40/year and there is no storage limit. They offer a 14 day trial and you can use the backup system for a regular Google/Gmail account, too.
Save $5 and make $5
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