“Google Apps” review – a huge disappointment

I recently assisted an engineering firm attempting to convert their email/calendar/contact, etc to a new Google based solution for small businesses and enterprises called Google Apps.  When a company offers an “enterprise” solution, this usually means it is a well-tested, broad-based, seamless solution that offers workflows and intuitive design to improve the way your company currently does business.

Google offers three different packages, one is free called the standard package.  Then there is the Small Business and Enterprise solutions.  Each cost the same per use and the only difference between them is the different types of tools available depending on how large your organization is.  They are the exact same set of tools, cost the same, but for some reason Google as separated them out into two separate solutions.  The Small Business and Enterprise solutions include what is supposed to be 24/7 support via toll free number or online help.After trying to figure out how to migrate this organization to Google Apps using the multitude of online help pages that go on forever and each link opens up another help page in yet another browser windows, it was quite frustrating. 

It is not until we paid the Small Business fee of $50 per user per year, that we received the toll free number for support.  So I closed the 372 windows that were open on my desktop and I called the 800 number.  Now in voice mail hell, the endless telephone prompts defy you to find a key that will actually allow you to talk to somebody live.  In fact the only way I could do this was to select the “critical failure” function which they warn you, means that a function that previously worked, no longer works and is affecting more than one half of your users.  Well, if I haven’t figured out how to get a function to work, how could anything qualify as critical.  Absolutely ridiculous.

So I pressed the key anyway and actually did talk to a person.  Three separate times.  Only to find out that the wording of what they provide, their seamless integration, their well-tested, broad-based solution, wasn’t going to work for me.  In fact, after thinking about it, I don’t know how these Small Business Enterprise solutions provided by Google Apps could ever actually be a viable business solution for any business, unless you were a fly by night pyramid scheme company who didn’t plan to be around very long anyway.  If that’s your business, then I highly recommend this product.

Luckily I was within my 30 day trail period so I cancelled the whole subscription.  In my quest to find a real solution for the company I was consulting for, I happen to stumble upon a review by PC Magazine for Google Apps.  The person who wrote this review must have been paid by Google or possible Google wrote the review themselves and passed it along to the reviewer because most of the text of the review was word for word quoted text from the multitude of marketing materials and help pages.  I can not see how if this reviewer actually used the product that he could have given this product a high review.

Now, I don’t hate Google, I like Google, and use them for my personal email, calendar, contacts, etc.  But a business solution…that is highly rated….I think not.  Don’t waste your time.  If you want specifics as to what this products doesn’t do, drop me a line, I’ll let you know. 


2 thoughts on ““Google Apps” review – a huge disappointment

  1. I’m looking for specifics on what Google apps does not do in a enterprise situation. Do you think they have significantly improved since you wrote this?

  2. I have heard that Google Apps has improved since we tried them. Although, I have not tested it again to prove or disprove that theory. As is usual for Google, they do take a one-size-fits-all approach to products using the “least common denominator” approach to decide how a product or feature will work. When we tried it there was nothing “integrated” about it especially when it came to sharing our database of contacts. We have over 5000 contacts and our business only has 14 people. I needed a common database for all of us to share and have quickly available. Google could not do this. I wondered what a large enterprise would do if they wanted to just share their own company contacts if the company had 5000 employees. Google was assuming that each user operated independently. Independence was their approach to email and contacts when we wanted a truly integrated, group-worthy product. It has been well over a year since I downloaded, tested, and tried to get support for the Google Apps product so I am sure a fresh approach would be warranted at this point. We found another solution that has turned out to be just what we needed. What kind of solution are you looking for?

    The MOST IMPORTANT THING in this whole picture was customer service. I can understand why Google would not provide a certain high level of customer service for the products it gives away for free like its mail, tool bars, browser and any infinite number of tools and mini applications. But when I start PAYING them, I want some service. They will do anything, in my opinion, to not actually talk to you as a customer. You should give it a try and go to Google as if you are a customer and try to find answers to a problem. One window opens up another, which opens up another and you move from FAQ’s to a Knowledgebase, and then to a Forum and then back again, and so forth and so on. If you don’t find your answer try to find a number to call. Even if you are interested in purchasing the product over the phone perhaps with a credit card and have a question about functionality, I doubt you’ll find someone to talk to. You start to get the feeling that they are some rogue operation who moves from town to town taking money from poor unsuspecting elderly folks. But they are not, they are Google. But their customer service even for customer who pay them, stinks.

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