Google is conquering the world, or at least the Internet, one invention at a time. By now it's far more than just a search engine: The company has introduced a number of inexpensive but comprehensive online applications, including email, calendars, and word processing, that your business can use in lieu of pricey office software, and that offer some unique benefits.
Google Apps are hosted, which means that data lives online and is accessible from any computer with Internet access. You're not tied to one computer that has your Outlook account and Word documents saved to it. With Google Apps there's no maintenance on your end, and you don't have to mess with software updates. $50 per person per year gives you access to Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar, among other products. Here's a further breakdown:
Google Calendar: Every employee can create his own calendar, but they're visible to anyone in the company. You can see when a colleague is available and schedule meetings or events on multiple calendars.
Google Docs: This application functions like a stripped-down version of Microsoft Office (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.), and gives you the primary features of these programs without the extraneous functions you rarely use. In addition, multiple people can edit a document simultaneously, track historical changes, and revert to earlier versions, making collaboration simple and transparent.
We are a company full of tech nerds and we've decided to entrust the lifelines of our business to Google Apps. We couldn't be more pleased with it.