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, Google Sites and Google Reader. 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. Also, watch this video overview to find out how Gmail will help make you more productive. For more specific Gmail questions, check out this playlist of how-to videos from the creators of Gmail.
- Google Calendar is Google's online time-management application. Google Calendar allows users to store and share their schedules online. Read 7 Reasons to Use Google Calendar to find out more.
- Google Talk is Google's text and voice chat client. With Google Talk, you can instant message, do free PC-to-PC voice chat, send and receive voicemails, and transfer files to your contacts. Here's a short video introduction to Google Talk.
- Google Docs is Google's word processing application. It allows users to create, store, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms online. Take a tour of Google Docs.
- Google Sites is Google's wiki application. With Google Sites, users can create websites and group wikis. See an overview here that contains some example sites.
Here are some ideas for using Google Apps in the classroom: