10 Great Google Apps Add-Ons for the Enterprise

Apps to make Google's office wares more appealing for the enterprise.

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Credit: http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2009/101409-google-apps-for-enterprise-google-subnet.html
Google Apps grows up

Over the past six months, dozens of developers have built apps to make Google's office wares (Apps, Docs, Gmail, Calendar) more appealing for the enterprise. The following is a selection of these apps. They range from the practical (backups) to the creative (a freebie VPN replacement based on Google Talk).

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myOneLogin: by TriCipher represents a growing category of add-ons for Google Apps: enterprise-class authentication. For businesses with Google Apps Premier Edition, myOneLogin offers a two-factor authentication portal that doesn't just log them onto Apps, but to any Web that requires a password. In September, myOneLogin became integrated with VeriSign's Identity Protection Service, which issues one-time-password credentials. This service can be had for free, too.

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Gbridge is a free, P2P VPN-like service that lets you sync folders, share files, chat and VNC securely between two or more computers. OK, so you aren't likely to yank out the corporate VPN and replace it with the peer-to-peer likes of Gbridge. But this service is still a highly creative example of what can be done by extending Google's wares, in this case Google Talk, that is sure to warm any network professional's heart. Plus, it can be a useful tool for remote control access for troubleshooting, or a low-cost VPN for teleworkers in tiny remote offices. Gbridge supports all sorts of applications.

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gStepOne by WordWare is a wizard generator. It represents a growing category of Apps add-ons designed to do workflow to automate business processes. With this tool, you map your business processes, integrating them with relevant Google Docs, videos, pictures and maps, and the tool creates a wizard that makes lets users replicate the process. Wizards can be created for anything, invoice approvals, expense reports, etc. Plus, the price is right, free.

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ProjectGoo by ManageScope is a cloud-based app that adds the collaboration features of Google Docs and Google Calendar to Microsoft Project. Project managers upload said documents to Google Docs and then determine which project team members should have access to them. Once the documents are uploaded, team members can perform a variety of project management tasks with them.

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Google Docs Backup by L-Tech does what its name implies — provides an easy way to backup your company's cloud documents. Administrators of Google Apps Premier and Education Editions can use it to download documents to a local directory while maintaining the folder structure used in Docs. Local documents can be accessed if an Internet connection goes down. Backups can be automated and set for single users or whole domains.

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Another backup app is CloudSave for Google Docs by Salvair. In addition to giving you enterprise-class backup and long-term archival, CloudSave offers eDiscovery features. This tool is interesting in part because the company has a longer-than-most history of making enterprise tools for Google Apps. The company specializes in migrating businesses from legacy office, e-mail systems to Google.

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OffiSync is an cool little application that embeds access to Google Docs and the Google search engine from within Microsoft Office. Click a button and your MS Word or Excel doc is saved into your Google Docs workspace, and, if you so wish, shared to your Google contacts. The tool offers the best of both worlds — users keep access to the richer, local Microsoft Office client but they don't have to mess with the harder-to-use and no-one-is-on-it Windows Live to collaborate. Even better is the tool's price - free!

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The enterprise content management gadget from Sword Group illustrates just how far Google Apps has come as a potential tool for the enterprise. The gadget slaps a Google Apps front end onto on-premises enterprise document systems that remain securely behind the firewall, such as EMC Documentum and IBM Filenet. The gadget was built on Google's Secure Data Connector. When using it, any Web-enabled device can get access to ECM documents, even smartphones.

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Companies that use CAD to design products or create construction plans have been held hostage for years to high-end software and expensive online collaboration portals. AfterCAD Online is a software-as-a-service from Renderjam that aims to change that. Its CAD files can be seen, edited, manipulated completely through the browser, with no client software needed ... not even so much as ActiveX or Java. AfterCAD Online can be used on its own but is also integrated with Google Apps for document sharing.

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Tungle is one of those applications that its users quickly say they could never again live without. It allows people on Google Calendar to share scheduling and calendar data with folks on Outlook, iCal or Entourage. Scheduling between calendars does not require non-Tungle users to sign up to Tungle, either. Tungle allows others to see your free/busy info, just as if you were all on the same calendar system, and it integrates with Gmail and Google Maps. Tungle also links users to their social networking sites.

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