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Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Gmail for Company Mail

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Even though it is a search engine, Google has done a fantastic job delivering a bewildering array of services over the past several years. Between its Android platform, Office Suite, Mail Services, Blog Hosting and Video acquisition, there is no field untouched by Google’s reach. Today I want to talk a little about my experience using Gmail for corporate email.

I suspect many readers are familiar with the GMail interface – that sleek AJAX application that kicks the tar out of Outlook in terms of both speed and usability (how do they get their apps to run so fast?). GMail for corporations is a slightly different beast than GMail for individuals. Some differences are:

  • New features are rolled out on GMail for individuals first. Presumably this is to test-drive changes before surprising the corporate users who may actually be paying for the service.
  • GMail corporate uses your company’s DNS name – email addresses take the form of rather than
  • Company-wide documents and email addresses can be automatically shared between existing and new accounts

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Always Free
For the first 100 email accounts, companies are able to use Google’s services for free. That means 7GB of storage for every user, world-class chat and mail functionality, incredible speed, POP and IMAP access, plus a web interface that makes enterprise-level email applications obsolete.

The catch: if you need more than 100 accounts, you need to switch to paid mode, which is $50 annually per user. Of course, an organization larger than 100 employees is likely in a position to absorb the extra $5000+ for email services as part of its operating budget. For a smaller company, $50 per account can be a lot of money – but the free version is fully featured.

External Devices
Any application capable of downloading POP or IMAP mail is able to reetrieve messages from a GMail account. If you need to get your email from more than one program or device take note: GMail ignores ‘leave on server’ and ‘retrive X days of message’. If Device A downloads an email, Device B will not and vice-versa.

The way to correct this is by changing your username to, which will cause GMail to download all email in the last 30 days. Watch out! This will download duplicate email if you already have mail one file before switching to recent mode. Consider yourself warned!

How does Google protect your privacy on GMail? Essentially, it doesn’t. Anything you send through the GMail servers technically becomes property of Google.

What does that mean for the average user? Probably nothing. Email should never be considered a secure medium – a good rule of thumb is: do not send anything you would be embarassed to see on the front page of your local newspaper tomorrow morning.

Google claims they do no cataloguing or data mining on emails within the GMail system. However, they do use context-sensitive advertisements which will appear alongside all mail in your inbox. Some users may be annoyed by the ads but personally I find them to be often interesting; sometimes they are even worth a click!

Use GMail, or Not?
Although it is constantly improved, GMail is a mature and scalable product. Companies with small or non-existent technical staff would do well to trust this critical function to Google rather than to [insert ISP name here] due to the size and credibility Google has made for itself. Technical staff at larger organizations may even welcome the switch – letting someone else manage email issues reduces headache and expense.

Cuil not so Cool

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Jumped on the bandwagon and tried out Cuil today.  The verdict – more development time needed.

1. Result counts are wrong
I searched for the (rare) name of a friend and found 3 results.  The search engine counter said 4 results were found.

2. Duplicate content
I searched for the bizarre phrase ‘fell in outhouse’.  The first 3 pages were nearly identical results.  For a time I wasn’t certain I was really changing pages.

3. Named after a Salmon
Apparantly ‘Cuil’ is a gaelic word referring to knowledge and hazel – they talk about a salmon of wisdom.  I’m not sure how that sits with me…

I chalk up the high server load and weird results to the infancy of the product and expect that it will improve over time.  The column interface is sleek and attractive.  The results clustering appears to be advanced although similar to WebFountain.

Right now, though, I don’t understand why Cuil is being touted as the next generation search engine that will replace Google.  The press coverage and their own site confuse me as to whether the big deal is the size of the search catalogue (apparently 3x that of Google) or the fact that the company’s leaders are made up of former Google employees.

Time will tell, but as of launch today I don’t see Cuil becoming my default search provider any time soon.

Technorati PostClaim

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Technorati Profile

Google Finds Evil and Protects us from it

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

As confident as we may be that we’re the only ones using our computers, the truth is we can’t ever be completely safe. For my own part, I was smug in the knowledge that because I ran an up-to-date antivirus program, didn’t hang around the web’s so-called “red light districts”, and didn’t download software I was unsure of, I had nothing to fear from those nasty virus things.


Just Being Careful Won’t Protect Your Computer From Attack

When NIMDA hit, I really felt violated. Even though I did nothing to cause my computer’s fall from glory, there it was. Where once I had the illusion of control over my space, all of a sudden it was shattered. It’s a brave new world.

Unless giving up the Internet is an acceptable alternative, we have to live with the risk of having our computers compromised at any moment. Apparently there are legions of “zombie networks” just waiting to be activated and used for evil – computers with hidden software controlled by enterprising criminals interested in nothing but a quick dollar.

Maybe it’s because I’m naive. Maybe it’s because I get paid by the hour so long virus-cleansing sessions don’t cut into my dinner plate. But I have to ask – how much of a problem is this? If my regular actions aren’t putting me at (extra) risk, what benefit will worrying bring?

Never Visit a Trojan Page Again

Fortunately Google exists to protect us from evil-doers by scanning the web for so-called “badware”. When performing Google searches and attempting to access one of these “bad” sites, Google presents us with a warning and gives us the option to bail or continue with the site.

Thank goodness for that! Let’s all uninstall our antivirus software now.

Blank Screen Loading GMail

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I noticed lately that I’ve been having issues accessing my GMail account.  These issues have come and gone in the past but in the last several days it’s turned into an occurrence every time I log into my account.

For anyone else sharing in this problem, here is my solution:

  1. Try clearing the URL (e.g. if your address bar reads, change it to simply  Sometimes this will “trick” your browser into re-loading the page.
  2. Go into your Internet Options and clear your browser’s cache.  On Firefox this works nearly 100% of the time; for Internet Explorer continue to step 3.
  3. Close all running copies of your web browser (after clearing the cache) and then re-load and log in again.  This is normally my last step and hasn’t failed yet.