What Do I Need to Get Started with Google Apps?
Google offers its productivity suite in several editions, and the one you sign up for depends on what type of organization you are. The first thing you need to decide is which version of Google Apps is right for your organization:
- Google Apps for Work
- Google Apps Unlimited
- Google Apps for Government
- Google Apps for Education
- Google Apps for Nonprofits
For a quick reminder about the differences between these options and their pricing plans, refer to the “What Do I Get with Google Apps?” section in the Prologue.
Do You Have a Domain Name?
Google Apps requires a domain name to associate the apps with, and you need to verify you are the owner or administrator. A domain name is a unique name for your website, often looking something like this: mycompany.com. Your domain name marks your unique site and is used in the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) you type into the browser’s address box to display your web page.
A domain name is required as part of your Gmail customization. The verification process helps Google ensure that only your organization uses the domain for emailing and other tasks. To verify the domain during signup, you need access to the domain’s DNS (Domain Name System) settings (which are available from and managed by the domain host), need to know the server that hosts your site, or must have a Google Analytics account for your domain. Google enables domain services for your domain name, but your account still remains with your original domain host.
If you don’t have a domain name, you can purchase one during signup from Google’s registration partners. It’s easy to do, and the cost is reasonable. As part of creating a new domain name, Google checks the name you choose against all other registered names. If you choose a name that’s already in use by someone else, you have to come up with another name or variation.
Google’s domain registration package includes a yearly fee, protects the domain against unauthorized transfer, and automatically configures it to work with Google services. It’s up to you to manage the settings for your DNS going forward, such as setting any functionality options required for your particular organization.
What’s Your Email Address?
During the signup process, Google asks you for a primary email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address becomes your login name for your Google Apps account. This is the email address others will see, so choose one that clearly identifies you as it relates to your organization.
You also need to add a secondary email address to use in case you forget your login information and need Google to email it to you again. The secondary email address should be outside your Google Apps domain, such as the email address you currently use.
What’s Your Favorite Browser?
If you’re concerned about being able to use Google Apps on a Windows, Macintosh, or Linux system, don’t worry. Google Apps is platform independent, so it works with any system. All you need to run Google Apps is an updated web browser. There are many web browsers to choose from. Here are a few popular ones, one of which you probably use:
- Chrome (Google)
- Internet Explorer (Microsoft)
- Safari (Apple)
- Firefox (Mozilla)