What is Google Apps?
From the people who brought you the Google search engine, Google Apps is a suite of web 2.0 applications "for communication and collaboration" developed by Google. These tools can help you get better organized and stay in touch with colleagues, family, and friends. Some of the more popular applications from Google Apps are Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites. See the full list of Google Apps here. Also, Google continues to create new apps - you can explore these Google experiments at Google Labs. The Standard Edition of the Google Apps is free, but if you need more storage, there is a Premium Edition that costs $50/yr. Additionally, a free Education Edition is available for educational institutions.
Gmail is Google's email client. Gmail provides users with much more free storage space than competing email clients, has a very good spam filter, and allows users to search their email. If you aren't sold on Gmail's features yet, read 10 Reasons to Use Gmail.
Here are some ideas for using Google Apps in the classroom: