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10 Steps To Move Your Office Apps to Google
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By Rich Karpinski

Chances are you use it every day to search the Web. You might even use Gmail for your email. And surely you spend some time wasting time on MyTube, which it purchased last year.

But is your small business ready for Google to take over your desktop and office apps as well?

If youíre intrigued, we offer below one path to potential Web office nirvana: ten steps to moving your small business office and productivity apps onto the Googleplex.

The upside: free apps; free online storage (no more losing data to system crashes); the ability to work on multiple computers; strong collaboration tools, such as document co-editing; and improving integration among its various products. These are all features and capabilities that could bring new efficiency to your small business.

And did we mention free?

Letís get started.

Step 1: Take a close look at your current office suite. Most likely itís a version of Microsoft Office. Just as likely itís an old version of Office. Are there features you canít live without? Are you a heavy spreadsheet user, with tons of formulas written and a several sheets you run your business on? Are you a writer or publisher, and need to format documents for print? Do you live and breathe in Outlook, maybe using it to synch to a Treo or Blackberry attached to your hip.

If this sounds like you, stick with Office. If not, keep readingÖ

Step 2: What Google apps are you already using? How dependent are you on Google already? If your small business is Web-based, you might already be a big AdWords buyer or Google Analytics user. Or if you do tons of research, you might live on Google search. Some advanced users count on Google for email (Gmail) or RSS reading (Google Reader). If this sounds like you, you might already live part of your online life under the Google banner and be comfortable using online services. If so, carry onÖ.

Step 3: Google-ize Your Start Page What do you see when you open up your browser? The MSN home page? AOL.com? The Firefox download page? Maybe itís time to build yourself a Web Start Page. While there are some very cool alternatives for building a start pageócheck out NetVibes, PageFlakes or Protopage ó Google has a great alternative as well with iGoogle.


An iGoogle Weather Gadget (click to enlarge)


These pages, also known as AJAX desktops or aggregated start pages, allow users to assemble and move around application widgets on a page. You can create and add an app to read news headlines, get the weather, keep up with your email, build a simple to-do-list, watch videos, and much more. You can also use it to build a really nice launchpad for Googleís office-style applications, make iGoogle a great way to break into the world of Google apps.

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