Gmail, Talk, IMAP and your business: Transparent communication done right.

Having secure and universal access to seamless and synchronized data like email, contact lists, and calendars is one of the dilemmas of the small business, or anyone else who needs to stay connected. Google now hosts domain email under it’s Google Apps brand. In addition to secure pop3 access, I can also use the IMAP service so no matter if I get my mail on my Linux box, online, or on my Windows box, all 6 GB of email storage is at my finger tips. As a bonus, I have access to chat and chat logs and VoIP through Google Talk, a Jabber based IM network. I can even upload and access files on gmail through programs like GmailFS. There are packages for the GmailFS available in many different Linux distros including Debian (ubuntu), I’m not sure about Windows tools that do the same thing but there are web-based and therefore, cross-platform applications like php Gmail Drive that work fine. While they may have some minor issues as far as account/feature integration, and a seamless online experience are concerned, Google has always done search and email right, so it’s very easy to find one email or thread from thousands, and thousands of messages. Eventually, their GrandCentral acquisition should be integrated into the whole thing, providing SMS and Voice Messaging on top of it all. For now though, you can access your email from any mobile phone with internet.

I used to manage the mail server for gartnerwebdev.com, luckeycat.com, oneofakindwis.com, and a few others in-house using postfix, spamassassin, clamav and amavisd. With all of that control, I was reluctant, to say the least, to make the switch. We were quickly outgrowing our resources though, so I made the leap. The 8 or so email accounts and 40 odd aliases migrated with out too much hassle. The free version comes with more users and multiple domains than we will likely ever use. Google also has an Apps product aimed at the enterprise in case the standard edition just doesn’t cut it for you.