Friday, January 4, 2008

Google Apps

After keeping this on my to-do list for a couple of months, I finally got around to fiddling with Google Apps to see what its all about. Google Apps supposedly gives you free web hosting using your own domain, and private-labeled GMail, Calendar and Docs to go along with it. My domain has been floating in limbo for some time ever since I retired my very old Linux box hosted at Mozcom data center and just moved to a virtual Linux server.

Upon logging on to the Apps site, I chose the Standard Edition (that's the only "free" option, of course). Then I proceeded to try and figure out how to point my domain to Google. This part really had nothing to do with Google anymore. It had to be done at Network Solutions, which hosts my DNS entries. Making the MX entries point to Google Apps was very trivial. I really just got stumped in creating the CNAME entries for,, etc. NetSol's interface is sooooo un-intuitive. The help page was no help at all! I had to do trial and error for several minutes just to figure out how to create the CNAME alias entries on the "Advanced DNS" management page.

Once I got the DNS entry defined, I proceed to create a web page with Google Apps. There are a few basic templates that one can choose from. They're not going to win you any Webby Awards, but they're ok for basic websites, I guess. I got to play around a bit with some of the Google Gadgets for the first time. But I think I'll tinker with Gadgets in more details some other day. For now, the Virtual Aquarium gadget is my favorite. :)

After the web page, I proceeded to configure mail and created accounts for myself, Cols, and the kids -- all under the hosted domain. With 6GB of storage each (and growing), there should be lots of room for everyone. I also personalized the Start Page for the domain -- Its kind of like the iGoogle equivalent for hosted domains. I don't find it incredibly interesting yet at this point. Will have to spend more time with Gadgets, I guess, before I can appreciate it.

That's it for now. Will have to spice up the hosted some more.

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