Google Apps is growing 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). Better still, most of them are free.
myOneLogin by TriCipher represents a growing category of addons for Google Apps, those that give it enterprise class authentication. This particular app provides users with a single sign on, two factor authentication portal that is easy to set up and deploy for both internal and external web and other resources. What that means is the portal not only secures access to Google Apps Premier Edition, but can help users manage their passwords to any website that requires one.
In September, myOneLogin became integrated with VeriSign's Identity Protection Service, which issues one time password credentials. It adds three layers of security to Google Apps, the company says: A user selected security image and message for mutual authentication, a browser-based password, and roaming authentication with one time passwords for users on mobile phones. MyOneLogin integrates with Google Apps Premier Edition via SAML. A freebie version of the service is available, but so is a subscription version, offering more features, for $3 per user per month.
I know you aren't likely to yank out your corporate VPN and replace it with the peer to peer likes of Gbridge, but it is worth checking out all the same. It is a creative extension to Google GTalk that could be a useful tool for remote control access, or a nice low cost VPN for your teleworkers.
Gbridge is a P2P VPN that consists of bridges that connect multiple computers via encrypted links. Gbridge lets you sync folders, share files, chat and VNC. It offers four features. DesktopShare is remote control that can even pass through your Network Address Translation. SecureShare is a file sharing feature. AutoSync transfers large files and syncs folders. It offers upscale features like auto schedule and resume. EasyBackup lets you back up your files from one computer or Google Docs to a computer.
Gbridge supports Windows folder sharing and remote printing, and Windows Remote Desktop through the RDP protocol. Best of all is the price ... free.
gStepOne by WordWare is a wizard generator that helps you create a business process workflow that is tightly integrated with your Google Apps. Better still, it can also integrate with many other Google Services like YouTube, Picasa, Calendar, Gmail, Maps and Search. GStepOne helps you plan each step and track the progress of the task.
Once created, the wizard lets others easily perform the workflow operation. It has applications with training, collaboration ... anytime multiple steps are needed to perform a task by multiple people. Some examples include writing contracts or proposals, creating budgets, managing travel.
Commercial workflow and business process engineering applications used to cost corporations as much a million dollars back in the day. Apps like gStepOne show how much cloud computing, and in particular, Google's cloud services, have made such projects a thing of the past. Like many of the apps on this list, this tool is free.
ProjectGoo by by ManageScope is a cloud-based app that brings the collaboration features of Google Apps to Microsoft Project. While we're sure Microsoft is none too pleased with it, Project users should be thrilled.
Microsoft is working on its own cloud services based on Windows Live, but Windows Live is far behind Google Apps' collaboration features. It is always requiring users to log in, some of its apps quirkily prefer Internet Explorer, and so on. With this tool that bridges Microsoft Project to Google Apps, Project users don't have to wait on Microsoft to add internet-based collaboration to their Project documents.
Project managers upload 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 such as distributing assignments to the team through Google Apps, while maintaining data on issues and resolutions.
Project team members can view task assignments for each project, update their status, which in turns updates the project manager and appropriate MS Project task. Project Goo is free but requires user registration.