Home > GMail > GMail is not a business tool. Period.

GMail is not a business tool. Period.

EDIT: It’s become obvious to me from the comments that people are failing to see that this article is specifcally about “GMail” (the free email product) and not “Google Apps for Business”. GAfB is an entirely different ball of wax. While it’s not perfect, it’s a lot better than GMail for business purposes and I have no major complaint about it.

Something I’ve been seeing more and more is the use of GMail for business. The problem is, GMail is absolutely unacceptable for business usage, but the folks who use it don’t see it that way. To be honest, I’ve never used GMail personally. But GMail’s handling of business scenarios is so poor, I don’t have to use it to know that it is not the right tool for the job. I just need to send and receive email from GMail users.

I understand why people like GMail. The UI seems to be good. It can act as a single collection point for a dozen other accounts and let you work with them. It hooks up easily to a variety of smartphones. Android phones in particular work much better with GMail than they do with Exchange, that’s for sure. And for the consumer level user, these are all excellent reasons to make GMail your primary email client and account.

But business users have different needs and different use cases, and in those situations, GMail not only falls flat, it can be outright harmful to both your ability to work and your appearance as a professional.

Problem #1: Over-aggressive spam filtering

This seems to have gotten better, but I still get reports on a regular basis that my emails have not come through. Quite frankly, this is not acceptable. The email account I use for much of my business has been established for over 10 years. I don’t understand how a GMail user can send me an email, I respond to it, and somehow my response ends up in their junk mail bin. This happens with startling frequency. Isn’t GMail smart enough to figure out that a response to an existing email is ALWAYS legit, regardless of content? And can’t GMail figure out that since hundreds of its users reply to emails that I’ve sent, from the same SMTP server with the same IP address (at least 6 or 7 years now!), that I should be considered golden? The tendency to filter spam out incorrectly may be fine for personal use, but in business where dollars are on the line, it is not acceptable.

Problem #2: “… sent on behalf of…”

GMail as an inbox collator makes perfect sense, until the recipient sees “… sent on behalf of …” in their email client. It is insanely unprofessional, particularly when the base address is nowhere near business-acceptable. For example, my GMail account is “jmjames78″ or something like that (don’t recall off hand, it’s hooked up to a phone I no longer use). Now, if someone sees, “From: jmjames78@gmail.com sent of behalf of justin.james@example.com” it isn’t the worst thing in the world. It still looks bad in my opinion, but your professional image won’t be ruined. But when I see stuff like “yourhotsweetcakes@gmail.com sent on behalf of john.smith@example.com” I have a real problem with it. If you can’t understand what the issue is… well, I hope you don’t have to communicate much with customers! When people see this kind of thing, it makes you look like you are working for a lot of companies at once, which doesn’t convey a good image.

Problem #3: Fixing “… sent on behalf of …”

To be fair, the previous problem should be easily solved. All you need to do is set up GMail to send through the SMTP server proved for the actual account, in theory. In practice, this does not seem to be too easy. I’ve set a couple of different people up with standard POP3/SMTP accounts for my company, and all of the ones who try using GMail to pick up the email have problems. The standard email client users do not. I thought it was the mail server, so with a great headache, I moved from a self-hosted email server to a third-party email server. The problems persist. I have lost close to ten hours of my life trying to get GMail users able to get their email and send it out without the stupid “… sent on behalf of …” message. Meanwhile, I have critical features in my flagship product undeveloped, and important contracts in the works. Guess what adds money to my pocket? Guess what doesn’t? Why am I wasting my time because GMail can’t do what a copy of Outlook Express that shipped with Windows 98 can do?

Problem #4: Calendars

GMail includes some calendar functionality. It’s even nice enough to cooperate with the way Outlook and Exchange work. Sadly, it has one insanely critical flaw: in a common situation, it refuses to send invitations where you ask them to go. You see, Google accounts allow you to assign a backup email address. This is a useful idea; it is for situations like the need to send a password reset to a customer. Google, in their infinite “wisdom”, decided that if a GMail user sends an invitation to one of these backup addresses, it should really send it to the GMail account instead. This means that if I have a personal GMail account, it is now exposed to someone else who I might not want to have or see that address. It also means that if I don’t use that GMail account, I’ll never see the invitation. I’ve missed and almost missed a number of meetings in the last few months because a GMail user sent the invite to my address and it ended up in my GMail account.

Problem #5: Customer Service? What’s that?

Google is notoriously bad at customer support. Good luck even finding the phone number of someone to talk to. I’ve tried many, many times to talk to someone there, the best I was able to do was when I leveraged a PR contact I had there. Google doesn’t want you calling them. Google wants you to either email them so they can send canned responses, or to post in their forums so that other people with the same problem can say “me too” and “let me know if you ever find a fix”. As someone who’s been a paying Google customer before, I can tell you that they suck at support and service, the assumption is that anyone too stupid to not figure out their product shouldn’t be a customer, and if you don’t like the way the system was designed, you can take a hike. Google loves large scale metrics to drive product development, not actual customer feedback (even though that can be turned into a metric too!). As a result, when you have a problem… well, good luck. With other vendors, free or paid support typically rangers from “not that good” to “stellar”. For example, $259 gets me a ticket with Microsoft and their engineers are amazingly good at solving problems (once I get through the language barrier and they know what I’m talking about). Google doesn’t even have a paid option, on the other hand (hmm… I smell opportunity!).

In summary, GMail is a fine product, but its fit and finish, as well as some design decisions, make it totally inappropriate for business use. Your mileage may vary, of course. But from where I sit, as someone who interacts with GMail users on a regular basis, it has no business in a business environment.

J.Ja

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  1. Michael Baumli
    February 27th, 2011 at 08:27 | #1

    But Google Mail worked so well for HB Gary when they had their Google hosted mail accounts hacked and passwords changed to be locked out.

    GMail is just easy for smaller shops to use in place of hosting their own mail solution which takes time and talent to setup. The web mail interface is easy for someone to use on the go and easy to access from any computer and many devices.

    I personally refuse to even use my Gmail account for professional dealings such as applying for a job. This is just a personal opinion. Then again, while overseas, I found accessing my own email account from my ISP would not work. so while I stick to my personal preference, I have met with reasons to stick with something such as Gmail which has more global accessibility.

  2. February 27th, 2011 at 08:42 | #2

    I am very surprised Justin. Have you done your homework?
    Have you actually tried Google Apps for Business in a proof of concept setting?

    GA for Business Mail is aggressively placing itself on a competitive footing with MS Exchange.
    We are currently piloting its use for our Enterprise environment.

    And none of your scenarios has surfaced.

    Stay in your comfort zone (cough vendor lock-in cough) and rationalize excessive expense if you will, but, I won’t accept your story as truth.

  3. February 27th, 2011 at 09:01 | #3

    @Dietrich Schmitz

    Dietrich -

    I didn’t say “Google Apps for Business” did I? I said *GMail*. World of difference. Personally, I think that a third party email provider using IMAP is a great route. The underlying infrastructure is incredibly useless unimportant to most companies. Believe me, after the last few years of running an Exchange server, I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s an 800 lb. sledge hammer, and if that’s what you need, it’s the only game in town… but nearly no one actually needs it, there’s just no other good choices if you use the Windows platform on the backend.

    Out of the things I mentioned here, you will still have the meeting invite problem. I know this, because a number of GAfB users have sent me invites and they never reached the email address that they were sent to, they ALL ended up at my GMail account, until I removed my usual email account from my Google Account as a backup email account and replaced it with a junk email account that I maintain.

    J.Ja

  4. February 27th, 2011 at 09:15 | #4

    Oh, and you’ll have the spam filtering issues too, since they both use the Postini system that Google bought a while back. The problem with false positives is that no one really notices it too much… personally, I found that SpamStopsHere is the best spam filtering platform (3 false positives in the last year of use, a 95% reduction in spam hitting our email servers).

    J.Ja

  5. Michael Baumli
    February 27th, 2011 at 10:00 | #5

    @Justin James

    Exchange isn’t the only game in town. That mentality is one of the largest problems in IT. Many can’t seem to wrap their head around the fact that other options exist. My first job, I actually used Groupwise which was great back in 1998. My first IS job, I used Lotus Domino which continues to be used today. We have options. Many use Domino on Windows although Linux or the iSeries is a much better platform in the sense of stability. Then there are several other linux alternatives, some which are probably enterprise ready.

  6. February 27th, 2011 at 11:23 | #6

    @Michael Baumli

    You’re right… it’s too to forget that there are alternatives to Exchange on Windows, but Groupwise and Domino really are the only ones that come close. That being said, everyone I know who’s been a Domino user hated it. I looked at Groupwise a while ago, it didn’t seem that great, but things may have changed since then. The Linux alternatives I’ve looked at like Zimbra and Scallix don’t even come *close* to Exchange, although I wish they did. Really, if you use, say, 80% of Exchange’s functionality, you really cannot use anything else, at least not with the same degree of polish and power that Exchange brings to the table.

    Personally, I feel that dealing with Exchange is total overkill for a small company (measured in terms of needs, not number of employees). It’s overwhelming and expensive. But as soon as you want the big company feature set, it’s hard to dodge it. Exchange is “enterprise class” software, and with that classification comes a level of complexity that makes it hard to deal with. At the same time, much of the complexity becomes a boon when you want the advanced features. Like needing edge servers… what a hassle in a small environment, but awesome for a big environment. Likewise for having to set up all of those roles… in a big environment, it’s important to be able to partition the work across physical sites and servers. Data stores are the same way. And on and on.

    Of course, a move to a third party host lets you forget all of that complexity, and just worry about basic account management. Which is where they earn their keep. :)

    J.Ja

  7. KiltBear
    February 28th, 2011 at 06:43 | #7

    Yeah, I know you said you didn’t say gApps for business, but the problems you point out are quickly solved by going gApps over gmail. What do you want for free? Even a small business can get gApps for free. If it’s an official solution for your “business” then maybe the user should spend the minimal cost and pay for support. It’s cheaper than any other solution out there.

    I’ve rarely had a false positive with gmail, gApps. I’ve read, though haven’t tried, that you can now set the main address for an individual. Even without that my husband has an old poboc.com address, a mobile me address and a gApps address. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the behavior you’ve mentioned, but I’ll go try it.

    So, yes maybe gmail is inappropriate, but free gApps fixes those shortcomings. When I read your title I was hoping for a discussion concerns like backups, content archiving, and legal discovery. I think some of those are handled by postini if you pay for them.

    The other real plus to gmail is business continuity, as long as you can find an Internet connection, you’re in business. And currently, they are offering their 1.0 solution for exchange email continuity via postini. It keeps gmail and your exchange server in sync, somwhen the big one hobbles the infrastructure to our building in sf, we still have email available, if you have Internet.

  8. DEK46656
    February 28th, 2011 at 16:52 | #8

    Something that seems to be slipping through the cracks (here) is that Exchange was not intended to be “only” email. As I recall, the combination of Outlook and Exchange was intended as a counter product to Lotus Notes. Whereas Notes was (I believe) an integrated design, Exchange & Outlook was more client-server.

    I remember doing a lot of research “back in the day” related to how to use Outlook in our office to do stuff other than email. All the samples offered up in the “Programming Microsoft Outlook & Exchange” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735610193/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0735605092&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1SC6JZ0NCSAHTXPBBZF8 were applications, not just email. The one I kept trying to have implemented (with no luck) was the trouble-ticketing application.

    I also remember a few years after that when I came across a really intriguing product that was a Outlook-Exchange combination for a process management environment based on RACI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RACI_diagram. When I looked it over, I thought “yes, they have it”. Of course, anything more convoluted than email was not going to be considered by an IT department that was typical of the late 90’s and early 00’s.

    Remember, Exchange did (does?) have workflow http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa166226(office.10).aspx in it. Any enterprise process or application that could be “defined” via a workflow, have a generic database “forms” GUI, and a established communications capability would be possible. And like most MS efforts, if it didn’t catch on quickly enough, it went on to the “nice idea” pile.

    I intentionally don’t use Google for stuff, so I can’t speak to their capabilities, but in all honesty, this sounds like a comparison between a single purpose robot kit and Lego Mindstorms.

  9. February 28th, 2011 at 23:28 | #9

    “I’ve never used GMail personally. ” invalidates everything after.

  10. Justin James
    March 6th, 2011 at 00:08 | #10

    CMD :
    “I’ve never used GMail personally. ” invalidates everything after.

    You really should read further. If you did, you’d see that the ENTIRE article was written from the perspective of someone who has to deal with people who use GMail. I don’t need to use GMail personally to know that GMail sends meeting invitations to the wrong email address. I don’t need to use GMail to know that the people I provide SMTP/POP3 email addresses get this awful “sent on behalf of…” junk added to their emails. And so on.

    J.Ja

  11. Justin James
    March 6th, 2011 at 00:09 | #11

    @DEK46656

    I’m not (at least in the original) comparing GMail to Outlook, that’s a comparison that others have brought up. You are right, they are two entirely different horses.

    J.Ja

  12. gmail for business sucks
    March 15th, 2011 at 21:04 | #12

    Gmail for personal use is one thing and is tolerable. However its use in a business setting is horrible. To make gmail at work more useful, I recommend running your gmail through Mozilla’s Thunderbird. You will gain years back on your life that you lost due to frustrations over gMail.

    cheers! Tania

  13. KiltBear
    March 17th, 2011 at 10:22 | #13

    @gmail for business sucks

    Funny, I find I prefer prefer their interface for everyday things. On MacOSX there is an app called “Mailplane” that is a Site Specific Browser for gmail adding ease of dealing with multiple accounts.

    IMO the big reason to run the mail through an IMAP client is to have a backup available should all hell break loose at the Googplex.

  14. March 17th, 2011 at 10:43 | #14

    @KiltBear

    The GMail UI is fine, from what I have heard… my issues with GMail are not with its functionality, but the way GMail handles common scenarios, such as calendar invites, and acting as a collector for other accounts.

    J.Ja

  15. Bjarni
    March 24th, 2011 at 15:53 | #15

    Nice reading. must add into the discussion. i provide it support to multiple companies using various solutions so i try to be very familiar to the usability of all platforms. one way to do so is try using all these different platforms by my self on daly basis. I must say, I CANNOT live without my exchange server and outlook client. nothing comes close to it. and the new exchange 2010 with outlook 2010 is by far the greatest mailing product available. wether its single user, small companies, large enterprise, it hits the target! and when comparing how much i get done with my weapon of choice vs. those clients of mine going for other options i outrank them by lightyears.

    Cheers!

  16. Jon V
    March 28th, 2011 at 13:40 | #16

    I’m disappointed that you’re comparing the free gmail service with the “Google mail for business” (part of the Google Apps for Business suite). In essence, you’re slamming using Google Provided Business focused services because their free, consumer grade service is crummy (see points 2, 3, 4 and 5) from a business perspective.

    That’s akin to saying that Microsoft can’t make a usable business case for selling email services because Outlook Express is so crummy on those same fronts.

    I think that your analysis is disingenuous as a result. You should probably state, pretty early, that you are slamming the free, personal email service Google provides, and not arguing against the (untried and untested by yourself) Google Apps for Business.

  17. March 28th, 2011 at 18:00 | #17

    @Jon V

    At what point did I compare the free stuff to the paid business stuff? At one point did I say “Google Apps for Business” or “Google Mail for Business” is no good? I said “Gmail” quite specifically. Furthermore, at least for some of the issues (such as the way it handles the calendar invites) the business version has the same problem.

    J.Ja

  18. JohnnyL
    March 30th, 2011 at 09:45 | #18

    My company switched to gmail from Outlook as IT says they will save $500K a year. Great for IT bad for users. One example, formatting is non-existent in Gmail. With word as my editor in Outlook I could format my emails ….i.e. columns using tabs. Corrected my capitalization at the beginning of sentences, nice grammar editor that was good for the rudimentary things. Easier to insert images. Its a host of little things that users have to try work arounds for tasks that were second nature in Outlook.

    I just know the next phase is conversion to Google Apps. That will be a 10Lb crap sandwich when IT foists that one off on us. Google’s spreadsheet app is just one step above using graph paper compared to Excel for the things I need to do.

  19. April 1st, 2011 at 01:49 | #19

    My biggest issue with Gmail is the silly contact management. It is not only completely focussed on US standards for names and adresses, but it is even not possible to order your contacts by last name!

    Another thing that is much used in business environments are tasks. Now I don’t really like how Exchange handles tasks, but the way Gmail tasks work is simply unworkable.

    Using Gmail for business is a complete no-no but even businesses thinking about using Google Apps should seriously consider Microsoft’s Exchange Online offering. It is a much more mature product that works seamlessly on all devices (including iPhones) and it is just as competitively priced.

  20. Leonard Flier
    April 1st, 2011 at 07:35 | #20

    Confirming the trend you identified, my university just switched all its students over to Gmail.

    The Gmail account students now get is ad-supported. Google puts one line advertisements at the top of the window that displays the email. You can turn it off, but the whole thing reeks of cheapness. It makes my graduate institution look like one of those fly-by-night accreditation mills.

    Faculty, Administration (and, of course the IT staff) remain on a system maintained by the university. Hmm… I wonder what that means?

  21. JoeTierney
    April 1st, 2011 at 10:13 | #21

    Google Apps for Business works great. I don’t think any personal email account is ideal for business use. I’m not sure what this has to do with Gmail. Couldn’t the title have been Hotmail or Yahoo just the same?

    I’ve worked with hundreds of people using the Google Apps suite and have never come across the calender invite issue you mention in either the consumer or business version of the suite – although you also state you don’t actually use the suite so this explains why you don’t know how it works. I use calendar invites constantly and it works as expected.

    Regarding spelling issues. A modern browser like Chrome or Firefox checks spelling as you type if you want to avoid using the Spell Check button.

    Regarding Customer Support. Domain admins have access to a direct phone number as well as the ability to log and track support tickets in the Enterprise Support Portal. Thousands of partner companies are also available.

    There is a large amount of misinformation in this article. #fail

  22. April 3rd, 2011 at 06:24 | #22

    @JoeTierney

    Joe -

    You are absolutely right, it could have had the word “Hotmail” or “Yahoo!” in the title (on the merit of professionalism alone). The reason why it’s Gmail is because, quite frankly, I get tons of business-related emails from Gmail accounts, and none from Yahoo! or Hotmail, other than a few small time Web stores. It’s especially prevalent amongst PR people, who often work under a number of different umbrellas and love their smartphones and tablets and as a result, Gmail’s ability to easily collate their accounts into one view is a big feature for them.

    That being said… you’ve made the EXACT same mistake that many other responders have. You are confusing “Gmail” with “Google Apps for Business”. I am really not sure why folks reading the article do this.

    If you re-read the article, you will see that it doesn’t matter who you talk to with the account to confirm the calendar issue… it’s a problem with the *recipient*. It doesn’t matter *how* someone uses the tool, it matters how the *recipient* is set up. I may add, I discovered a few days ago that Google has a much deeper problem with the “backup email address” mechanism… it mangles a lot more than inbound calendar invites.

    There is positively zero misinformation in the article, and I can confirm every single problem. You simply read it wrong.

    J.Ja

  23. hendrik
    April 3rd, 2011 at 17:43 | #23

    @Justin James
    “I’ve never used GMail personally. ” invalidates everything after.

    “You really should read further. If you did, you’d see that the ENTIRE article was written from the perspective of someone who has to deal with people who use GMail. ”

    You could extend that further by taking the view of teh GMail users…i.e. Every time I send an invitiation to Justin James he never gets it – I wish he would use GMail like the rest of us who get the invite :)

  24. April 12th, 2011 at 17:21 | #24

    @hendrik

    That’s actually something that drives me nuts, the assumption by some folks that because they use tool XYZ, everyone should too. There are a few “universal” tools out there… mail, email, phone, the Office and PDF formats (even if you don’t use Office, you have a way of opening Office files no doubt), and that’s about it. But then there are folks who answer Twitter or Facebook in a second, but email rots. If you don’t read your email… why did you give me your email address? And why should I be forced to sign up to a service just to communicate with you? Walled gardens are a very bad thing but unfortunately, so many folks have made the open exchange channels near unusable (think email spam, junk mail, viruses in Office and PDF files, etc.) for so many people that legitimate communications get filtered out automatically or unconsciously. As a result, you are forced to communicate via a variety of often frustrating systems with people.

    J.Ja

  25. Raymond Henick
    April 20th, 2011 at 12:03 | #25

    This poster has no idea what he is talking about. Google Apps for Business is a very viable solution on all aspects. They have 24/7 support, they handle all hardware and software maintenance and they are growing all over the world due to the 50/user/year cost as compared to avg 175/user/year lotus notes or exchange costs. I have to laugh when I see the problems he experienced and then automatically swears off gmail though. I work for a reseller and we get these problems daily and have many acceptable workarounds along with a feature request form, ticketing system to submit issues and yes a hotline for outages. lol…… research before you speak. gmail is google apps for business testing platform. It is the exact same thing only its the fedora of the red hat world. The only problem with gapps is they release changes without clients approval. They are coming out with change management to address that issue. Thanks for the laugh though…

  26. April 21st, 2011 at 19:02 | #26

    @Raymond Henick

    Ah, yet ANOTHER poster who cannot tell the difference between “GMail” and “Google Apps for Business”. You say “research before you speak”, I say “read what I’ve written clearly before you post”.

    J.Ja

  27. May 25th, 2011 at 08:24 | #27

    HyperOffice is a Google Apps counterpart which has been always designed as a business product. Google Apps is comprised of products (Gmail, Google Sites, Google groups) which were mainly intended for the consumer market, and were then repackaged for the business market.

  28. Mike
    May 29th, 2011 at 01:27 | #28

    Only number 5 is a valid point. Unless you change your headline to Gmail is bad for business IF you use it with unprofessional looking addresses. In which case of course it’s mare about the user than the software.

    Speaking of 5, Support is available from resellers right?

  29. June 4th, 2011 at 21:29 | #29

    @Mike

    There is no “support from resellers” for Gmail. There are no resellers for free services. Sounds like yet another person who doesn’t differentiate between Google Apps for Business and Gmail…

    J.Ja

  30. AngryBeaver
    June 21st, 2011 at 16:39 | #30

    Let me add some issues with Gmail [My company has switched from Outlook / Exchange this year to an entire domain managed by Gmail]:

    One: Constantly moving target – Gmail features and labs get added and deleted all the time. You cannot count on a feature working correctly, even if it is a lab you load. I get errors about the printing service that fails during each load. They added screenshots last week. Of course, doesnt work right for me.

    You cannot forward a group of emails to a person as a single email.

    You cannot select a series of emails and print them from the inbox.

    Tasks are not successfully integrated.

    When you get a new email popup near the pc clock, it shows text from the oldest message in the thread, not the newest.

    Conversation view blows hard. If only I was original enough to make a unique subject line every time i send an email, maybe i could cope with it.

    I do not want to be prompted to make a google doc for every document i receive. i want to save it or open it in a real program.

    Small business, sure. Medium maybe, but GMail is NOT an Enterprise solution.

  31. Sick
    August 12th, 2011 at 13:08 | #31

    yet… I found this article via Google. oh the irony!

  32. Chris
    November 4th, 2011 at 08:51 | #32

    @Justin James
    We have been using ClearOS (Zentyal before that) as a collaboration server for some time now with ANY problems. 50% mac and 50% pc users.

    I absolutely REFUSE to taint my servers with Windows. It is an abomination for a system admin to even use a windows server in the first place when there are at LEAST 4 other alternatives to exchange that are not only better, but free as well.

  33. February 9th, 2012 at 12:18 | #33

    Gmail AND Google Business Apps email are pretty much the same things — and they both suck, bad. For basic functionality it’s fine. But what about simple things like pasting a facebook icon in your signature? Nope can’t do that. What about an undo button for when typing an email?? Nope, Google hasn’t figured that out either. How about Forwarding an email without copying the whole chain and screwing up all the formatting and margins? Nope Google mail can’t do that either. For someone in sales, who likes to forward email templates with slight modifications — Google business mail is a nightmare. Pile this on top of your list above and it’s amazing anyone uses this at all for business. If Google keeps this up and the total lack of customer service, they will inevitably fail. And I can’t wait for that day.

  34. Nrla
    April 27th, 2012 at 08:18 | #34

    GMail is terrible. There was a recent transition made here from the ancient Lotus Notes and I thought it would be lot more effective at first. Gmail has some advantages but one of the biggest disadvantes I see is the threading. Also Google making changes every few months once you get the hang of certain features is mindnumbingly annoying.

    Staying active in Gchat is also a pain. It times out every 15 minutes even when you are working in another window and I know you need to add the option yourself however without administrative privileges on my computer it is a complete plain. The old standalone chat client was much more effective and allowed users to set their own idle time.

    I feel Google really is not a business enterprise solutions company first. They want to be like Apple and Facebook by pushing Android and Google Plus to teenagers and people who like waste time playing with social networking tools rather than doing anything productive in actual enterprise.

  35. Windy Shaffer
    July 1st, 2012 at 21:50 | #35

    A different perspective…as unprofessional as it may seem to you “real” business folks I have been using my personal Gmail address for my micro business for years. I am researching the LEGAL issues if Google allows a small business to use Gmail so I can create an address that better reflects my business, though I have always been mature enough not to create an embarrassing email addresses. I have been self employed for nearly 20 years, but as a “one woman band” my particular situation is not normal and people can judge me as needed, Gmail is free, I work part time from my home and am a primary care giver for 3 1/4 kids. I don’t send meeting invites, I check my email with Outlook, web and phone interchangeably. I obviously have a niche business and do not depend on average marketing or need higher customer turnaround. I avoid annual fess like the plague (don’t advertize in yellow pages or have credit card capabilities, etc.) and even the free Google apps want me to pay an annual fee for a domain name. (And my business name has an apostrophe in it and it never translates to a good domain name with my elementary English sensibilities.) Prior to using Gmail I had an email address from a trade organization, NAPBIRT, now try explaining that acronym and spelling it out often, at least people know and get the Gmail as a domain and don’t often spell it wrong.

  36. rachel
    July 6th, 2012 at 14:08 | #36

    Justin, Do you have a recommendation for a 3rd party email host? I need one that is high functioning with Apple Mail as the client.

  37. Timothy
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:05 | #37

    We recently went to Google Apps for business (from Microsoft Exchange) because our I.T. guy got scared when the Exchange server had a hiccup, it would have taken around 3 hours to sort out the Exchange server and implement an Exchange Backup server, instead he told our directors we would be up and running with Google Apps in a couple of hours….. 6 days later (and the whole firm screaming about not having emails) he eventually got it sort of running, everyone lost their old emails, global address lookup no longer works, none of the Blackberry’s sync correctly anymore (read emails still shown as unread), no more shared tasks, no more scan to email from our photocopiers, no more shared calendars in Outlook, absolute abomination called “conversastion view” on all the Smartphones & Blackberry’s that I wouldn’t mind if you at least had the option to disable if you wanted, when we first switched over to Google Apps every desktop in our office sat there with the “Synchonising” logo spinning at the bottom of the screen, clogging up the network to a crawl and crashing the PC’s. Our I.T. guy convinced the boss that we needed faster broadband, now every desktop in our office sit’s there with the “Synchonising” logo spinning at the bottom of the screen, not clogging up the network but just crashing the PC’s. Google (in any form) is not a Business tool, they’re not ready yet, some of our die hard Google lovin’ staff were saying “this is great” a few weeks ago, lately they have been moaning and cursing in muted whispers. I was pretty impartial before all this but now I absolutely detest Google for any sort of business use. Google is fine for consumers and “kids”.

    The bosses are also fed up so now we will be setting our system up for dual delivery and we will see which die hard loyalists want to stick with Google or come back onto Microsoft Exchange Server which we have already paid for… and which just works as a business tool.

  38. March 12th, 2014 at 08:16 | #38

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