Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Migrating to Google Apps

I've been considering a move to Google Apps for some time now. This week I finally took the step. Along with many others, I really like the gmail interface for several reasons. I've been using gmail since early 2005.

I registered the domain [redacted].co.za, which costs R150 a year, and now our whole family has name@[redacted].co.za addresses. Setup was fairly straight forward, considering that the complexity of editing CNAME and MX records is out of Google's hands. And need I mention Google Apps is a free service!

The one thing I found to be lacking was migration tools. I'm slowly migrating completely from my current gmail address to this new one. They're both essentially gmail and Google are trying to promote Google Apps, so what better thing to do than ease the migration between the two? Once they've come to realise that's crucial in converting users then easing the migration from other mail services would be awesome. They offer partial migration help as mentioned here, however, as the comments state transferring from gmail to apps isn't supported so I haven't explored it that much.

I then came across a wonderful 3rd party gadget, gXFER, that does as much as is probably possible using the gmail API. It migrates mail, labels, filter, contacts and calendars and also applies the filters to migrated mail. Mail migration is done by using the recent POP3 mail download feature, which takes a very long time if your mailbox is full. My mail is busy being transferred and it doesn't appear as though it's going to copy sent mail across, which would be a pity. It also doesn't maintain labels for emails that were manually labeled, which I suppose only Google can implement.

So far I'm happy with Google Apps. There's not much noticeable difference to a normal gmail account, but I feel it's nice having a more personalised email address while still making using of the wondrous free gmail service. I've also confused several people when they received a gtalk invite from a non-gmail address. :P

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