Customer Reviews: Google Apps Deciphered: Compute in the Cloud to Streamline Your Desktop
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on March 26, 2009
I needed to set up Google Calendar, Docs, Mail and Groups for a small NGO, then train the principals in their use. Because many of the services are free, Google Apps provides a very cost effective alternative to commercial programs if you can live with the idea of someone else storing all of your data.

I had a copy of Google Apps for Dummies to work from, which was pretty good but I always like to reference from a couple of sources. So I got this book. I really like how each program is covered in good depth, with excellent instructions. Common gotchas are pointed out and work arounds are given.

The book even offers some ways of using your existing desktop programs in conjunction with Google Apps, some of which hadn't occurred to me. Coverage is also given to backing up your online data, which probably too few people bother with. Google is good but not infallible.

I have only one small problem with the book and that's because the question of whether or not to even use Google Apps for sensitive information is a good idea or not isn't really addressed. If you're dealing with trade secrets of other sensitive information an online or cloud computing service may not be the best choice.
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on March 30, 2009
Audience: Any Technical Individual interested in utilizing Google Apps as their "Cloud Computing" environment.
Skill: Some- Technical Knowledge Required
Readability: Fast Read
Information: Reference Material & How-to's

This is an excellent starter book for anyone interested in migrating a small organization to Google Apps. The book provides great reference sites and "real world" troubleshooting recommendations related to Google's Cloud Environment.

The book is divided in 7 parts:
Part 1: Getting Started with Google Apps
Part 2: Gmail
Part 3: Google Calendar
Part 4: Google Docs
Part 5: Google Sites
Part 6: The Other Services
Part 7: Appendices

The priceless parts/chapters of this book are:

Part 2: Gmail

Chapter 7-10:
These chapters will take you through a detailed overview of Gmail which includes integration and migration. It will also provide the reader with a solid understanding of troubleshooting common issues and maintaining your Gmail "Google Apps" Environment. These chapters are the "must-know" for any IT Staffer managing GMail via "Google Apps."

Part 3: Google Calendar

Chapter 11-13:
These chapters are the "must-know" for any IT Staffer managing Google Calendar via "Google Apps."

Part 6: The Other Services

Chapter 18-21:
These chapters pull together the many "Cloud Computing" resources out there in "Google Land" and aid the reader in consolidating "Cloud" technologies. Chapter 20 discusses "Things to Know About Using Message Security and Recovery"- This is a "must-know" for all IT Staffers seeking email security and recovery recommendation within "Google Apps."

If you are seeking migration tips for Google Docs- this is not the book for you. There is a chapter related to Google Docs but most of the information can be found on Google Forums or Groups. The subtitle of the book is, "Compute in the Cloud to Streamline Your Desktop"- in most general cases, Documents are included in that realm. This book does a poor job of promoting a migration solution to Google Doc.

Overall, this book is worth the price and is a "must-have" for any IT Staffer supporting a Google Apps Environment. I love the Martian novel references peppered throughout the book.

The author should consider putting together additional books titled:
"Google Apps Deciphered- Small Business Environments": with a focus on small business environments
"Google Apps Deciphered- Enterprise Business Environments": with a focus on enterprise business environments
"Google Apps Deciphered- API The Cloud Environment": High-Level Technical Resource with a focus on Google Gears integration and API's.
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on August 10, 2009
Google Apps is very much a work in progress, and the poor integration between Apps and other Google products only adds to the confusion. Scott Granneman did a good job of navigating these treacherous waters to produce a guide that is both as up-to-date as possible and useful for figuring out how to work around Apps' shortcomings. I found Appendix B (Dealing with Multiple Accounts) particularly useful. I also enjoyed Granneman's casual (and sometimes brutally honest, though overall optimistic) tone.

The downside is that he does a poor job of tying everything together. It also has a bit of a cookie-cutter feel, repeating boilerplate text and sometimes substantive content from chapter to chapter. While this makes the book thicker than necessary and more of a chore to wade through the first time, it may make it marginally more useful as a reference.

While this isn't an elegant book, it's the best I've seen so far on Google Apps. Until ongoing changes to the service make it obsolete, or a better book comes along, this is the one I recommend.
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on February 2, 2010
I am currently working on a Cloud Computing research paper for my Masters program. I came across Mr. Granneman's book in my local library and I was hopeful that I could find some useful information to help me with my research. While I commend the author on the job well done in describing Google apps in great detail, I have to say that I was not at all pleased with his one page assessment (pages 4-5)of the disadvantages of Cloud Computing. First of all, he conveniently leaves out some of the critical limitations of cloud technology. Also, he downplays the criticality of the two drawbacks he identifies. This gives me an impression that this 500-page book was written with one main agenda in mind and that is to advertise Google's cloud services.
I would have liked to see at least a section (or chapter) dedicated to cloud computing and identification of specific issues and limitations of Google Apps.
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on May 16, 2009
Any college-level library or computer collection strong in applications processing will relish an in-depth review of Google Apps, which offers business software free. From choosing the right edition of Google Apps to exporting calendars and emails to it, making it secure, blending it with other software and using its extensive features, GOOGLE APPS DECIPHERED: COMPUTE IN THE CLOUD TO STREAMLINE YOUR DESKTOP is an outstanding, thorough review.
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