Dead-finger tech: Google Apps

Dead-finger tech: Google Apps

Summary: When our editor asked the motley crew of ZDNet bloggers if we had a particular item that we'd consider "dead finger tech" (i.e.


When our editor asked the motley crew of ZDNet bloggers if we had a particular item that we'd consider "dead finger tech" (i.e., a bit of technological goodness that you'd only take from us by prying it from our cold, dead fingers), I immediately thought of my BlackBerry. I love my BlackBerry. A lot. My wife would say I love it a little too much.

Of course, fellow blogger, Jason Perlow, took a little different approach. When I thought about it a bit more, though, I realized it wasn't so much the BlackBerry I loved. If you traded me an Android phone or even an iPhone, I probably wouldn't fight you to the death. It's the content and varied means of communications I can access. Nowadays, most of that content/communication comes through Google Apps.

Now that we've moved our whole district to Google's Educational Apps and even my Luddite wife accesses my schedule through a shared Google calendar, I use Google Apps constantly. I even uninstalled OpenOffice, in favor of keeping 90% of my work in the cloud, accessible from said BlackBerry or any computer at which I happen to be sitting. The other 10% is the stuff for which I would have used Word or Excel anyway.

While I still use the built in messaging/mail application on my BlackBerry since it does such a nice job of managing SMS, phone, and email, I increasingly use the Google Mobile App. At a couple hundred emails a day into both my personal and school accounts, as well as easy access to personal and school calendars and personal and school documents, the effortless search capabilities built in make it a no-brainer.

Of course, this means that when I leave work, there isn't much separation between my personal and work life. I'm still working, emailing, and communicating when I'm out of the office. What that means, though, is that Google Apps allows me to be very flexible in my schedule and very responsive to the people I support.

You can have my BlackBerry, but Google Apps has become essential to the way I work and communicate, both in and out of work. By using Google Apps for our educational domain in conjunction with the Google Apps associated with my own Gmail account, I'm a Google-guy. It'll be the smartphone with Google Mobile Apps installed that you'll be prying from my cold dead fingers, regardless of the manufacturer.

Topics: Apps, Cloud, Google, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google Apps are the best thing since sliced bread

    The theatre company I work for has been using the Education version of Google Apps for almost two years, they're free to not-for-profit organizations just like they are to schools, and they are a great way to share calendars and all sorts of information in the cloud. My favorite App is Sites. We have multiple sites set up. Our main "intranet" which allows staff members to access company info from any where is great for staff communication. We also have many individual sites for each of our shows which allows our guest artists to log in and share info from anywhere and at anytime. Instead of collaborating with email we share info on a Site. No more trying to remember which email contained what new piece of info, everything is centralized on it's specific Google site, a great help for phone meetings between people in different parts of the country, each person can be signed in to a site and talk about the same info contained there. Super useful. You're right, Google apps are great, it would be hard for me to give up using Google Apps. Ps. Thanks, because I believe I learned about Google Apps from your blog way back when.
  • Google will chew you up

    and spit you out. It is inconceivable to me how so many people have become Google fanboys knowing that all their information is being stored and used to market to them. Perhaps we are moving to a society where there will be no private information, but it will be over my dead body.

    Call it Dead-body tech!
    • Believe what you like

      Google is in the final stages of FISMA certification, and subject to very intense privacy and security scrutiny. Fine it's over your dead body. Other individuals and enterprises are reaping the benefits. You make your choice.
      • Believe what you like

        FISMA protects info from others not from Google using it to market to you, they want to rule the world and with people like you promoting their tactics they soon will
  • It's a Google world...

    I can't imagine living without Google.

    Not that there is anything wrong with Microsoft. I doubt whether I would trade in Windows for Chrome OS. In short, nothing beats a good Windows-based PC (especially Win7) combined with a lot of Google stuff and a few other things (OpenOffice remains nice, as well as other - free - software.)
    Daniel Breslauer
  • It works great until it doesn't

    What happens when Google Apps are unavailable for some reason beyond your control? What happens when the vendor loses your data. It can happen.
    • But but...

      I can still access my MS Word doc without internet connection! Something is wrong here, no way to bash Microsoft!
    • That is what Google Gears is for

      You can work offline on your docs with Google Gears, when service is restored it will synchronise your apps. As for losing data, I would much rather my data be in a Google server farm with multiple redundancies than on a single HD at home.
    • It can hppen

      It can happen in any large enterprise data center. Lightning can strike as you walk out to the parking lot. But it usually doesn't.
      • Or the CPU cooler socket can crack...

        ...causing the heatsink to fall off and the machine to shut down. If you have Google Apps, you can go to the closest public library and retrieve the document you were just working on (the one that is due before EoD), or even get it from your BlackBerry. Or, if you don't, you can always pull out your hard drive and take it to a friend's house, hoping he has the same version of OS as you and the file system mounts correctly...

        If you are a corporate user, I suspect you would be saving a backup to a convenient server as you go along, but for individuals and small organizations I say "Go Google!"
  • The Do No Evil Guys

    Do no evil? Why wouldn't a company who advertises itself as good and advertise it's products as free not share the kicker? Nothing is free... Just like buying something that's sold, using GoogleDocs, Google Search, Google Chrome, and next to come, Google Wave, you pay in your privacy.

    Less privacy = more $$$ for Google

    What frightens me most is Google is pushing new technology that basically shows/records text of any kind prior to actually clicking enter/submit. All the while they gather up your information and sell it to advertisers. They are interested in perfecting the perfect targeted ads to end users... what risk is that to you you ask? All your private life is in their servers, all your documents are in their server, anything you put there is there for for them an their esteemed marketing partners to see...


    A company that has access to over 80% of the search and inquiries has the capability to steer the very vibe of the web one way or another... sure they use slogans like, "do no evil" but com'on... buying Doubleclick, ignoring the HIPAA laws, partnering with CVS to sell your information loaded to Google Health... all that doesn't sound like, "do no evil."
    • Not to mention China

      Google DID turn over the ID of several Chinese Dissidents.
      TO the Chinese Government.
      ALL these Chinese Dissidents are now in Chinese (gag) jails.

      Just so Google could make MORE PROFIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Do No Evil.... YA right....
      And you (reading this) support Google for what reason?
      • the price of being a global company...

        is that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • RE: Dead-finger tech: Google Apps

    There is no way I'll trust anything of mine solely to an on-line company. You can keep the "cloud," along with Facebook, Twitter, My-space and all the other privacy stealing websites. The closest thing to it I use is a Yahoo E-mail address which is actually a third string address I use when I don't want to give out my home or work e-mail address.
    • Substituting dead data

      for dead-finger tech. Curious, but if it's your choice...
  • So what's next a clay tablet and a stick?

    Not content with stopping students from using modern MS software, you're now taking away even the bad copies of 20C software?

    Now they have to use slow cloud based beta stuff that looks like it was designed in the 1970s?

    I suppose paper and charcoal are next?
  • My choice would be my oven.

    It's pretty hard to cook dinner on a blackberry. It just
    doesn't get hot enough.
    • Another reason to switch to the iPhone

      • iphone

    • pretty hard to cook dinner on a blackberry

      Try an iPod.