Google Adds Set-up Wizard for Apps

Google, which has been sharply focused on strengthening its Apps suite for large enterprises, has introduced a set-up wizard that seems aimed primarily at small organizations with limited IT resources.

After signing up for Apps, administrators now will encounter the wizard's interface offering to guide them step-by-step through the implementation and configuration process.

Although Apps, a hosted collaboration and communication suite, was designed from the start for self-service setup, Google expects this new wizard to simplify even further the adoption of the suite, the company said.

"The interactive guide can walk you through all the key configuration options, from creating user accounts to activating email, migrating your existing data to Google Apps and configuring mobile devices," wrote Heather Folsom, a Google product manager, in a blog post.

As far as IT administration tools, the more the merrier for Google Apps, said analyst Rebecca Wettemann from Nucleus Research.

"But beyond administrative tools, Google also needs a product roadmap, product and training documentation, and other enterprise-class communications for Google Apps that show [that] decision makers can depend on them, on an ongoing basis, for predictable, non-disruptive enterprise tools," Wettemann said via e-mail.

Apps components include hosted e-mail, calendar, IM, a Web site builder and office productivity applications. The basic suite version is free, as is the edition for academic institutions, while Apps for Business costs US$50 per user per year.

Apps competes against a variety of hosted collaboration and communication suites from vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Zoho, Novell and Cisco.

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