This afternoon, I was in the process of trying to set up a new Google Hosted Apps account when I discovered something had changed. Apparently, Google is selecting people at random to try out a new verification method. In the past, your choices were:
Add a new CNAME record to your DNS zone file
Upload an HTML file to your server
Add a meta tag to your home page and/or site template
During the SXSW conference in Austin this week, Google held an all day hackathon event. The idea behind the hackathon is to allow developers to create applications in one day and also get help from Google employees on applications they are developing.
I recorded the session that discussed Google App Engine and the video is below. You can also download all of the “code labs” which are simple tutorials on how to use a variety of Google APIs and services including Google App Engine.
Recently, I discovered that while hosting your e-mail services on Google has its advantages, it also brings with it some minor inconveniences. When you use a script on most Web servers to send e-mail messages, if your e-mail is not hosted locally on that server, your e-mail messages will never arrive in your inbox. Instead, the mail gets delivered to an e-mail account on your Web server if there is one; if there isn’t, the message gets rejected and goes into a black hole.
The other day, I was talking with my friend Aaron (@riddlebrothers) about all of the various e-mail addresses we have and how we use them. At one point, after discussing the virtues of using Yahoo! Mail, I mentioned that the e-mail addresses I have hosted on my own servers are often unreliable. I told him that I rarely give out anything but my Yahoo! e-mail address, because a lot of messages get lost in cyberspace with my other accounts.
He asked me if I had looked into using Google Apps for my domain-based e-mail services. I honestly hadn’t thought about it before (in fact, I made a post a while back about how strange it was that everyone was moving to Gmail). However, his suggestion made sense. Following are some of the advantages I see in moving your e-mail over to Google Apps:
I’m noticing more and more that everyone seems to be abandoning the traditional e-mail server in favor of Google’s Gmail. My Internet Service Provider switched over a while ago. Recently, I also joined a consulting group, working on managing and maintaining their Web site (and doing side Web work for them), and found that their e-mail is completely managed through Gmail. That Web site is hosted by GoDaddy. After a bit of research, it seems that Google and GoDaddy have (and have had for a few years) some sort of agreement that allows users to sign up for Google Apps and GoDaddy hosting all rolled into one.
In addition, I have heard that many colleges are now switching their student e-mail servers over to use Gmail rather than the services they have used in the past. In fact, the entire state system under which I work has moved over to Gmail for the student e-mail system. While our support staff e-mail is still hosted locally on an Exchange server, all student e-mail now runs through Gmail.
Is the whole world switching over to Gmail? Is anyone still using their own mail servers to handle sending and receiving correspondence? Does it even make sense to use your own server anymore? Will the world come to a grinding halt if Google’s e-mail servers ever shut down for any reason?