A simple, yet highly effective communication tool that has forever changed the World. It is just the beginning in the evolution of online communication.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

GMail for your domain

GMail is part of suite of applications dubbed apps for your domain. In an impressive move, they are giving away hosted email for your domain as a white-labeled solution. Kudos to Garett Rogers for dissecting the GMail code and accurately predicting the domain tie in months before.

The hosted services include: Google GMail, Chat, Calendar and customizable domain web pages. They've also allow new domain registrations (via 3rd party domain name resellers) to allow new .com registrations. There are a variety of hosted email solutions for your domain, but this is the first, completely free service that I've seen taken to market.

The GMail package has a limit of 50 accounts, but you can request for more. Each mailbox carries the same features and functionality as a typical GMail account ; such as the gratuitous gig's of storage (see top 5 reasons Google gives away email). There are unique domain features such as:
  • custom logo,
  • contact sharing,
  • catch-all mailbox

This will, no doubt be a tough challenge for email hosting companies to compete.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Top 10 Features, er I mean patches, in Exchange 2007

I couldn't resist trying out the Exchange build. We had an Exchange 2000 implementation which to upgrade, so this was a big jump. I had big maybe unreasonable expectations from Microsoft, but came up with finding things were much the same. Thinking that I was missing something, I read up and found InfoWorlds gleeming review of Exchange 2007, I don't typically follow InfoWorld, but I was surprised at their top feature picks; here they are with my rebuttals.

1. Server roles - Now there are 5; as if they were short before. Granted SOX has taught us a lot, but nearly every Exchange implementation I've seen has 2, maybe 3 commonly used roles.
2. WebReady Document Viewing - Not all recipient use Msft products, let along Outlook. Webmail users are largely in the dark when sent an Outlook generated item containing Calendar or Notes; even in Hotmail. Finally, Microsoft has built in that compatibility.
Exchange Management Shell - Joy, a new tool. While I didn't think it was necessary, it does simplify Active Directory management.
Exchange ActiveSync - "Improved ActiveSync ...". I'm hoping this means that my Calendar and Notes will stop getting duplicated.
Exchange Hosted Services - Spam, Archiving & Continuity for a subscription fee. Is this Microsofts first step into hosted services? I'm wondering how long until Exchange Hosted Service providers call foul.
Outlook Web Access - Nothing really new here.
Outlook auto-discover - Outlook will automatically configure for Exchange. Wow, imagine that; it's as is they were made by the same company.
Smart scheduling - I like this feature, but again, nothing new. It performs server side scheduling vs. client side; this is more of a feature optimization.
Improved search - This is the only feature in the list that I found exciting; however I expected it. Microsoft admittedly got into the search business late in the game. Thanks to Google, internet users expect immediate search results; finally Outlook meets that expectation.
Bundled encryption - Great for SOX compliance and hyper-sensitive organizations. Most email users will cannot implement this as it not supported by most email providers.

While it does have some other bells & whistles,
Exchange 2007 mostly picks up some of the loose ends that the prior versions left behind.

Update: if you need help in the Exchange upgrade see this article on Transitioning from Exchange 2000 to 2007.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Top 5 Reasons Google Gives Away Email

Since GMail's casual release in 2003, more and more users are getting these email accounts. The registration used to be association invite only, but has slowly opened up through a number of avenues. Several friends and family have heard of or seen the GMail address but didn't realize that it's a product of Google. "Isn't Google just for search?" they've asked, "Why would they want to give away email?". Afterall, how can giving away 2.8GB+ of storage with 100's of messages and spam be worthwhile?

Being in the search and email industries, I'm keen to their tactics. So here it is...

The Top 5 Reasons Google Gives Away Email:

5. Provide internet users a simple one-stop shop.

Google wants to give everyone from the elderly to the young, an easy way to use the internet easy. They're product are consistently made simple enough for almost anyone to understand as groups have found (see Golden Triangle study). But why? Google is estimated to already control over 25% of the internet advertising revenue through its own and partner websites. That effectively means for 4 every users; Google at least receives the benefit of 1. At this point their growth opportunity is in attracting more consumers. This is demonstrated by Googles free metropolitian wi-fi plans which undoubtedly will bring more people online.

4. To take advantage of the #1 usage of the internet.

Email is, and has always been, the largest reason people go online.

3. Gain user attraction to Google search.

Email search and Web search from one text box.

2. To provide contextually relevant advertising.

If you didn't notice, those ads on the side are matched to the content of your messages. Most people don't realize that this was disclosed in their term of service.

1. To gathering marketing data in real-time.

New trends can be extrapolated quite rapidly. While its unclear if Google is doing anything with this today, it could be sold in the future. Afterall, selling popular keywords is what the search giant does best. Many consumer advocacy groups have cried foul, but the fact is that the wire (tapping) protection act does not cover media transmissions which are stored such (i.e. email messages on a server). For a futher analysis of this see EPIC.