[KLUG Advocacy] Gmail for domains - review.

Bruce Smith bruce at armintl.com
Wed Apr 5 09:58:57 EDT 2006

This isn't directly Linux related, so I'm sending to advocacy.

I've been reading about the google beta to host email for domains.  And
after reading this review:  http://utlemming.blogstream.com/
I applied for my personal domain's email to be hosted on google.

Google seems to be aiming this at businesses, in fact I couldn't get
past the application form without filling in the "business name" field.

I entered "n/a" for the name of my business and explained in the
comments that this was my personal domain used only by my family.  I
also mentioned that I'm a sysadmin and may consider google email hosting
in the future, depending on my personal experience with it.

I didn't expect to hear back from google since my domain is personal,
but a couple days later I was notified that my application was accepted
and ready to go!

I logged on to my admin screen, created a couple email accounts, created
a bunch of "aliases" to point to one or both of these accounts, and then
all I had to do was change my DNS so the MX records pointed to google's
servers.  After my TTL, I was receiving all of my domain's email on the
google servers!

The web interface is gmail.  This is part of the reason I applied, I
love gmail!  I actually prefer the gmail web interface to standard
clients (like evolution) for many types of email traffic, like busy
mailing lists, because of the way it handles threads.  I'm also
impressed with the accuracy of gmail's spam filter, and I like their
approach to "folders", which they call "labels".

Google gave me 25 accounts, each with a 2GB storage limit.

User accounts can be set as "standard" or "administrator" (the ability
to maintain accounts, aliases, etc.).  There is a batch upload ability
for mass creation of new accounts (CSV file).  You can upload your own
graphic to be displayed on all of the screens.  Secure POP3 and
secure/authenticated SMTP services are provided.

Google is copied (mandatory) on the "postmaster" and "abuse" addresses,
to enforce you're not violating their terms of service (spam, illegal).

The main disadvantage I see is they don't [currently?] offer IMAP, but
this may not be that big of deal, due to gmail's philosophy of archiving
your email instead of deleting it.  You can configure gmail to archive,
instead of delete, your email as it's downloaded via POP3.

Google would also have to offer "domain aliases" (pointing multiple
domains to the same email accounts), before I could use it to host my
employer's email, but this is the early stages of the beta program, and
I have great expectations for this new service!

Also, in case google is listening, authentication to a LDAP server would
be a nice addition.   :-)

 - BS

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