I'm not sold on Google Apps - Google seems to do most things
well, but occasionally you'll find some service that doesn't work as you
expect, and Google can be a bit like a deaf giant at times. We use it at work but I'm not recommending it
to others for various reasons.
I thought I would share this here, since this is a “free
email & webhosting for non-profits” thread, and I hope this is helps
For example, you can use the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft
Office, but due to the MS / Google spat, this only works on windows 7/8 and not
8 RT (discontinued) nor other non-windows devices that don’t support the
correct version of EAS. This means that
some users will only get mail, and not calendar, contacts, etc. Plus, Google Apps Sync seems to destroy Outlook's capability to index your email in certain configurations, which means searching
mail is impossible or difficult. (One of
those “not as you expect” situations I’ve found). I had to uninstall it for
this reason, and then I lost contact and calendar syncs. This doesn't happen with all users, but I couldn't figure out the common link between those that had the issue.
On the other hand, I’ve found Microsoft’s
hosted exchange and outlook.com to be able to sync email, calendar and contacts
across all Windows 7/8/8RT/iPhone devices I own. I can't remember how it worked on my Android device, but I recall it works there too.
Then there’s Google Drive. Again it works for most people and
situations, but when you try and share folders with other users and accounts,
there’s no easy way in the web interface to go directly to the root of a shared folder. Most basic users are familiar with hierarchical folders, and
not Google’s alternative “just search and we’ll find it for you”. Plus, the “not as you would expect” bites
again as we tried to sync a shared folder at work. It downloaded half of the contents and refused
to go any further, no matter what. This
happened for 2 of our 30 users. After
much deleting, re-syncing and waiting, we ended up removing and re-sharing the
folder via the web interface, and then it worked. There’s no way a basic user would have figured
On the other hand I’ve used Dropbox
for years with many users and shares, and never had a problem. SkyDrive also ads a nice alternative for
integration to Office and Windows.
I’m not saying don’t use Google
Apps – if it works for you then that’s great, but just beware you may get into
some combination of clients / services that don’t work, and there’s no one you
can talk to. Of course there's the community forums, but sometimes you find a host of others with the same complaint, and no solutions.
Just my 2c.