How-To Go-Google with Google Apps Free Email, Documents and Chat!

If you are trying to manage a small to medium-sized business or non-profit, the last thing you need to worry about is the basics of technology like Email, Chat, Calendar, Document Sharing, etc.  Or perhaps you’re a one-man (or woman) army and just want to have a custom email @domain.  If only there was a simple, FREE, stable, and secure service that just works!

Oh yeah, Google Apps!  Google has been beating the “Go Google” war drums for the last 2 years and after using the service myself for almost that long, I figure it’s probably about time I write a few groovyPost about the service explaining how it works and why you, a small to medium-sized business might want to check it out before you hire that kid from the local college to maintain your IT department.

Article Series

As I mentioned, if you want to “Go Google“, I can’t really explain everything in 1 article so this will be my first article in the series explaining:

  1. What is Google Apps?
  2. Why should I use it?
  3. How much is it going to cost me?
  4. How do I set setup Google Apps and create an account for my domain?

How-To Migrate Your Email Service to Google Apps is the second article in my series so once you’re done here, be sure to check out my second article.  With that said, let’s get right into What is Google Apps!

Google Apps you say?  What is it?

Bottom line, Google Apps is Google’s answer to the Microsoft Office Suite + Email + Sharepoint all hosted for free in the cloud (or $50 per user per year for the premier service).  It has a simple interface so even a small company with 3 employees can get up and running with little to no IT support.

Update: I just finished writing part 2 for this series – Go Google Part 2, Email Provisioning

Sounds Interesting?  Here’s the full answer…

Google Apps is a hosted (in the cloud) applications platform provided by Google (imagine that) that provides the basic IT services for your company’s domain name ( for free.  Google offers several different versions of the product in an attempt to target all the different sectors of business, government, education, and non-profits.  They all pretty much offer the same basic services: Email, Calendar, Document Creation and Sharing, Chat, and Centralized Management however the price varies from FREE (Education Edition & Standard Edition) to $50 per user annually (Government & Premier Edition) since the Gov. and Premier editions offer additional more advanced features needed by larger companies.

Google Apps Standard Edition, What you get with the FREE version:

  • Maximum 50 Users
  • Company Email (Branded with your domain name)
  • Personal and Shared Corporate Calendar
  • Company Chat
  • Document creation and sharing using Google Docs (Google’s version of Excel, Word + their version of a Microsoft Sharepoint document repository, etc..)
  • Google Sites (Google’s version of Sharepoint)
  • Centralized Management Interface

AND… according to several blog posts from Google, you will also be able to use your Google Apps accounts to access dozens of Google services beyond the core suite of messaging and collaboration such as Picasa Web Albums, Blogger, Reader, Google Voice, etc.

Sound groovy?  Want to try it out?  Perfect!  You’re reading the right article then!  Just follow the simple Step-by-Step below and I’ll guide you through the first process of signing up and registering your domain with Google.  In the following articles over the next few days, I’ll also explain how to cutover your email servers, create user accounts and all the other basics so be sure to check back for those follow-up Articles!

How-To Sign-Up and Go Google with Google Apps Standard Edition

Step 1 – Register Your Domain with Google Apps

Goto: and Click Learn More under Google Apps for Business

Google Apps Learn More

Step 2

Click the App Editions drop-down then Click Standard

Google Apps Standard Edition Link

Step 3

Click Get Started Button

Note: Here you can see some of the differences between Google Apps Standard Edition and Premier Edition.  Starting out, I recommend you Stick with Standard since it’s 1: FREE and 2: FREE and 3: Easy to upgrade to Premier Edition later.

Google Apps Standard Edition Link Get Started

Step 4

Select the Bullet Administrator: I own or control this domain then Enter in the Domain Name in the box.  Click Get Started when completed.

Google Apps Standard Edition Sign-Up Enter Domain

Step 5

Fill out all the required fields and Click Continue when done.

Google Apps Standard Edition Sign-Up Enter Domain

Step 6

Create your Administrator account which will be used to manage your Google Apps account/domain.  When completed, Click I accept. Continue with setup.

Google Apps Standard Edition Create Admin User Account


The terms which you accept are fairly typical however I recommend you read them.  If you’re a business, I recommend you have your attorney review them along with the referenced GMAIL Terms of Service since your End Users will be held to those terms as well.  In my quick review of the terms, this was the only paragraph (5.1) that I had to read a few times since I’ve never been a big fan of the GMAIL Terms of Service:

5.1 End User Terms. Customer acknowledges that its End Users will be bound by terms relating to the each component of the Service which may include but are not limited to (i) the Gmail Terms of Use (which may be modified from time to time) available at or such URL as Google may provide and (ii) the Google Terms of Service (which may be modified from time to time) available at or such URL as Google may provide; and (iii) additional Program Policies or Guidelines for acceptable usage (which may be modified from time to time) available at or such URL as Google may provide. Customer acknowledges that each End User of the Service consents to privacy policies relating to the Service which may include but are not limited to the Google Apps Privacy Policy (which may be modified from time to time) available at or such URL as Google may provide and the Google Privacy Policy (which may be modified from time to time) available at or such URL as Google may provide. In the event that Customer becomes aware of any End User’s violation of any applicable terms of use or policy, Customer agrees to (i) promptly notify Google and (ii) immediately suspend or terminate such End User Account unless Google agrees otherwise in writing (including by email). At Google’s request, Customer will promptly suspend or terminate any End User Account or administrator’s access to the Service in response to a violation of any applicable terms of use or policy by an End User or administrator. Google reserves the right at its discretion to suspend or terminate the End User Account of any End User.

Once you agree to the terms, your Admin account should have been created and you should be staring at the Google Apps Dashboard (Standard Edition).  Now we need to confirm/prove to Google that we actually do OWN the domain name.

At this point, this How-To Tutorial is going to begin to get a bit technical.  I’ll try to explain things the best I can however if you need help you might need to ask your ISP for assistance or as a Tech Friend, post a help request in our Free Forum.

Step 7 – Configure Google Apps Account – Standard Edition

At the Google Apps Welcome Dashboard, Click Change <domain> CNAME record to confirm ownership of the domain.

Google Apps Change CName Record to verify Ownership

Step 8

Follow the steps outlined in Steps 1 through 3 to confirm ownership and create the CNAME for your domain.  DO NOT click the last box until you complete steps 1-3 and verify the CNAME was created correctly in Step 4 as shown below.

Google Apps Creation CNAME Config

For my How-To, I’m going to demonstrate how to do this using my Domain Hosting provider Dreamhost however these steps WILL VARY depending on your Hosting provider.

Step 9 – Create CNAME for Google Apps for Dreamhost Hosted Domains

Login to your Dreamhost account and Click Manage Domains

Manage your Domain at DreamHost

Step 10

Find your Domain and Click DNS

Manage your Domain DNS at

Step 11

Using the information from Step 8 above, fill out the Name and Value fields.  Also be sure to change the Type to CNAME.  Click

Manage your Domain DNS at CNAME

Step 12

Now go back to the Window that has your Google Apps Dashboard open.  As shown in the Screenshot below, Click the link in Step 4 to verify your CNAME has been configured properly.  If it was, you should be redirected to

Click I’ve Completed the steps above to continue configuring your Google Apps Account.

Google Apps CNAME Record to Verify Domain

All done!  At this point your account should be fully activated and your ready to begin turning on all the various services like Email, Calendar etc… as well as creating new accounts!

Step 13 – Continue Configuring Google Apps Account

If you want, feel free to Click Launch Guide to be shown a step-by-step guide for managing and configuring Google Apps for your domain.  The guild is a lot better than it used to be and you can always find it at this location: Google Apps Administrator Help.


The Google Apps guide will explain How-To activate the Email services as well as How-To setup Google apps users etc.

That being said, I also wrote about this process in Part 2 of my Go-Google Series How To Migrate Your Email System to Google Apps. Be sure to take a look as I dive deep into this next phase of “going google”!

Questions? Comments?  As always, drop a note below in the comments and join the discussion!



  1. Sue Jespersen

    September 12, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Hi McGroove
    On 1st October we will be (finally :-) ) moving away from Exchange to GAPE – it’s taken us a long time to get there:-) This post (a great step-by-step how to, by the way) and future posts on GAPE would be very much welcomed by me and the rest of my gang :-)

    • MrGroove

      September 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Awesome Sue! I’m glad you liked the first post in the Series. This next week you should expect to see several more! Stay tuned!

      BTW – Would also love to get feedback regarding how things are going as you lead up to and then cut-over to GAPE at your company. Perhaps create a Forum thread and I’ll link to it with a formal groovyPost here on the main site.

      • Sue Jespersen

        September 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

        Exchange and all the applications we have used, plus the documents we have stored are all attached to our current ASP. There will be plenty of “challenges” over the next two weeks to get EVERYTHING over to Google Apps and then to hook-up our new CRM/Project Management with Google Apps and then Offisync (Office Add-ins) and Syncplicity with Google Docs. If I survive each day ;-) I will be happy to post on our progress.

  2. groovinJackman

    September 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Groovy! I’m happy to report that sign-in with multiple accounts DOES work with this. This is really important to me because I have one email account as my “personal” email and another as my “work” email. Now, I can be logged into both without using two different browsers.

    • MrGroove

      September 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Awesome. Nice test!

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