Oct 152010
 

Yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and switch 6by9.net to Google Apps. I’d been mulling it over for a while, mostly because I was worried about the hassle and headaches associated with transferring all my settings and data. Just a day later, it’s almost completely done and I’m very pleased.

The biggest change is that now all my mail is handled by Google’s GMail. But it also means that I have almost all of Google’s services associated with 6by9.net, including Analytics, Calendar, Docs, Google Voice, Reader, etc. I made the decision that it would be more efficient to stop running my own mail server and spam filters when there was a much more efficient service available for free. Additionally, I no longer have to worry about multiple accounts – one for 6by9.net and one for Google’s services.

I was thrilled with the speed and ease of the transition – particularly for mail service. Google has done a fantastic job with Google Apps, and I would strongly recommend the service to other webmasters. I chose not to move all my old mail onto the Google servers, primarily because I rarely access it and the upload process would have taken a *long* time. But configuring Kmail to access my GMail accounts via IMAP was seamless and allowed me to easily transfer a few important messages.

Aside from mail, I needed to transfer all my other Google services to my Google Apps account. These took a bit more work, particularly because many of the services only have beta support for Google Apps (full support will be available before the end of the year). When you take the plunge into Google Apps, keep these useful resources handy – you’ll be able to transition even more smoothly than I did:

  • Google Analytics:
    http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=72273
  • Google Calendar
    http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=78739
    I chose to export and import from ICAL files, but it took a bit of time. In your new Calendar account, you’ll have to recreate each calendar and then import the ICAL file into that calendar. Be sure to set up your preferred reminder settings as defaults for that calendar before running the import.
  • Google Contacts
    Contact export and import worked flawlessly, including all my custom contact groups.
  • Google GMail
    Painless and straightforward, especially if you don’t need to move all your old mail into the new account. Using IMAP to transfer mails works well if necessary:
    http://blogs.howtogeek.com/jatecblog/posts/use-g-mails-imap-feature-with-kmail
    http://www.linewbie.com/2007/11/howto-configuring-kmail-with-gmail-imap-and-disconnected-imap.html

    I’m also very happy that Google Apps provides a “catch-all” e-mail address for the domain name. This means I can continue to spontaneously invent e-mail addresses to give to spammy corporations. I never give out the same address twice, and I know exactly why I’m getting the mail I do.

  • Google Reader:
    Export and import of subscriptions worked well, although I had to re-sort them all. Thankfully, the subscriptions did stay in the proper folders. To transfer all your starred items, follow these instructions:
    http://www.realityloop.com/blog/2009/07/04/how-transfer-new-google-reader-account-including-your-starred-items
    The same steps will work for Shared Items, too! I wasn’t able to find a way to transition Liked items, but I don’t believe that will be a big problem.
  • Google Voice:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cjlWRDFTWERkZEIxUzVjSmNsN0ExU1E6MA
    This process is actually manual, so my request hasn’t gone through yet. Update: finished 10/18/2010
  • You may need to tweak GMailThis! for Google Apps, but it’s worked alright for me. If not, take a look at http://www.juliakm.com/gmailthis-google-apps

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