Tuesday Take-Away: Google Apps as a SEO Tool

Search engine optimization (“SEO”) experts will tell you that to improve your “organic”, or unpaid, standing in search results, search engines need to see you web site as relevant.  A major factor for nearly all search engines is how many authoritative sites link to your web site and the amount of authoritative content is available at your site.

Enter Google Apps for Business

As you may or may not know, within Google Apps for Business, you have the ability share information publicly.  When you do this, you are instructing Google to index the information in the global search engine.  You are giving Google authoritative information.

Taking advantage of this feature can improve your SEO results.

Calendar Events:

If you have public events (webinars, seminars, speaking engagements, etc.), create a company events calendar in Google Apps for Business and create a calendar entry for each event.  You can also embed the calendar in your web site.

For each calendar entry, include links to relevant information on your web site such as data sheets or a more detailed description of the event.

Be sure to mark the event “Public” so that the event is indexed by Google.


Many web sites include documents — data sheets, white papers, etc. — in PDF format that visitors can download.

Instead of uploading these to your web server, save these in Google Docs and make them public.  Doing so pushes them into the Google search engine for indexing.

Within these documents, include live HTML links back to related content on you web site.  These can be to a product page, a contact us form, and your home page (of course).  Granted, individual that print the PDF files will not benefit from the links.  But those that view them on-screen, and the search engines, can follow those links to your site.

With URL mapping, your content appears to be under your domain and part of your website (i.e.,  In reality, the content is actually external to you web site.  Links from public information in Google Docs and Calendar provide are authoritative and will be indexed.

Friday Thought: Maybe the Backup Should Be The Primary

When Hurricane Irene seemed like a bigger threat to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, I started receiving emails with emergency contact information.  From non-profits I work with, organizations to which I belong, businesses I use, and event customers of Cumulus Global.  While some noted likely or planned closing, most were providing alternate means of communication “just in case” power outages caused their email server and phones to go down or be unreachable.

Every single one of these alternate emails ended in Go figure!  When businesses and non-profits need an email service that will be available during the storm and that can be accessed from phones and tablets as easily as from computers, they turn to Gmail.

In-house email servers are susceptible to power outages, Internet downtime, and other local or regional crises.  Gmail is not.  Gmail runs redundantly across many geographically dispersed data centers.  And while it is easy to seamlessly connect your iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, all you really need is an Internet connection and a browser.

For all of the organizations that went out of their way to tell me about their backup email service, the backup service is more reliable and effective than their in-house system.   Why then wouldn’t they switch?

I’m not talking about Gmail, either.  I’m talking about businesses and non-profits moving to Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education, respectively.

For 501c3 non-profits and schools, Google Apps of Education is free.  You get better service and save money.  And, we can help you migrate your data and your team.  Other non-profits are eligible for discounts, contact me and find out more.

For businesses, our Google Apps for Business packages, with end user support, start at less than the equivalent of $10 per user per month.

Think of the benefits of having your email on the most reliable, most accessible communication and collaboration platform available.  Think of your piece of mind know that your organization, its employees, its customers, and its constituents will be able to communicate without jumping through hoops.

Migration is quick and painless.  Email or call us toll free (866-356-1202).  Let’s discuss how we can help you.

Tuesday Take-Away: 6 Reasons to Upgrade to Google Apps for Business

We work with small businesses, including small office/home office businesses with 20, 10, 5, or fewer employees.  So, it is not uncommon for us to get questions about why they should pay for Google Apps for Business, when with 10 or fewer users, the free version is, well, free.

In no particular order, here is why Google Apps for Business is the right thing to do …

  • Space: Google Apps for Business increases your mailbox from 7.4GB to 25GB and gives you much more room for Google Docs and content in Google Sites.  Give your self room to grow.
  • Data Privacy: Google Apps for Business is free of advertisements.  Google does not have access to your data and your data privacy is backed by terms of service and your service level agreement.  While some businesses do not mind the content scanning for ad display in the free version, their customers might mind that their information is not fully private.
  • Email Security: Google Apps for Business includes enhanced spam protection, as well as virus protection and policy-based TLS encryption, with Google Message Security.  You can also add compliant archive/discovery services and message level encryption.
  • User Counts: Let your business grow without worrying that you will hit the 10 user limit in the free edition.  Google Apps for Business has no user limits, and lets you alias more domains and users.
  • More Features:
    • Resource Calendars for conference rooms, equipment, vehicles, etc.
    • User-Managed Groups for distribution lists, discussion forums, shared email folders
    • Better Integration with MS Office using OffiSync Premium
    • Google Apps Sync for MS Outlook for users that want to keep their familiar email client
    • Integration solutions that make Google Apps part of your IT ecosystem
  • Support: Cumulus Global offers complete packages for SoHo businesses that include end user support.

Need we say more?

Cumulus Global and Google Offer Webinar Series

WESTBOROUGH, MA – August 24, 2011 – Cumulus Global ( is pleased to announce ”The Google Apps Difference”, a series of webinars discussing how better communication and collaboration capabilities can improve profitability for small and mid-size businesses.  Hosted by Google and Cumulus Global, the webinars will present the perceptions and realities of moving to cloud computing for most organizations, and will explore the benefits beyond expected cost savings of moving to Google Apps for Business.  While targeting businesses in the New England and New York region with 50 to 250 employees, the webinar will prove useful for most businesses and non-profit organizations.


“We are honored to be selected by Google to participate in this joint education and marketing program”, noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Our selection reflects the expertise of our team, our relationship with Google, and the quality of service we offer our customers.”

The live webinars will be hosted by Falcon and members of the Google Enterprise team.  To accommodate demand, the webinar will be repeated live at several times.  The current schedule includes sessions on Tuesday August 30th at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, and on Thursday September 1st at 3:00 pm.  While planned for an hour, Cumulus and Google will stay on the line to answer any questions from attendees.

For more information, visit the News and Events page on the Cumulus Global website at:

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global, formerly Horizon Info Services, helps small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions thrive by delivering cloud computing solutions.  Serving clients from 1 to more than 1000 employees across numerous industries, we align technology with our clients’ goals, objectives, and bottom lines. We leverage our expertise, vendor relationships, and a diversified range of best-of-breed cloud services to create custom solutions with tangible value.



A New Look is Coming to Google Apps

Over the next months, Google is rolling out a new look and feel across its products, including Google Apps services such as Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Sites.

The new look is available in the following apps:

  • Gmail: Consumer, Rapid Release, and Scheduled Release users can preview through a special theme
  • Calendar: Consumer, Rapid Release, and Scheduled Release users can try out the new look
  • Documents List: Consumer and Rapid Release users can try out the new look


People Widget Gives Context to Email Senders

Email is not just a way to communicate … to send and receive messages.  Email can and should be a tool for collaborating.  A tool that places your communication within the context of your relationship with the senders and recipients.  A tool that makes it easier to move from sending/receiving to sharing.

People Widget

Over the next two weeks, Google is rolling out the People Widget across Google Apps platforms.  The widget highlights content and communications from colleagues, friends, and family, placing your communications within a broader context.

The widget, which will appear next to your inbox provides context for the sender of each email.  More than seeing who the sender is, the People Widget lists any recent email conversations and joint calendar events.  It also provides on-click access to chat, initiate a new email conversation, schedule a meeting, or update the sender’s information.

For more information, visit the Official Gmail Blog.

If you are interested in trying Google Apps, contact us or complete our 12 Minute Assessment.


New Feature Thursday: Discussions in Google Docs

Looking beyond basic comments within documents, Google Docs now features the ability to use comments for discussions with email integration.  Key aspects of this new feature include:

  • The ability to reply to comments written by others
  • Identity and ownership of all comments
  • The ability to resolve comments and discussions instead of deleting them.  You can review all discussions at any time.
  • Add somebody to a discussion thread using @mentions.  They get an email with your comment and a link so they can join in. Or, the individual can simply reply to the email
  • The ability to manage if and when you receive notifications for comments and discussions

Given the scope of the change, Discussions are only available for new documents.

For more information and a cool demo video, click here.

If you think this type of collaboration can help your business run more efficiently, please let us know.

Google Apps Helpful Hint: 5 Things You Can Do With Attachments

With constant and continuous updates, it is easy to miss some of the ‘small’ enhancements that make using Google Apps easier.  Our Google Apps Helpful Hints series features some of these new capabilities.

Today, we look at 5 new features around Gmail attachments.

1. Drag attachments in and out

In: Simply drag files from your desktop right into the message you’re composing and they’ll upload from there. (Make sure you’re using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox 3.6 or Safari 5 for this to work.)

Out: Simply drag the icon for a Gmail attachment to your desktop. (Note that dragging attachments out is only supported in Google Chrome for now.)

2. Select multiple attachments

Attaching multiple files one by one is no fun. Instead, just multi-select the files you want to attach by holding down the Ctrl key (or Command on a Mac) and clicking on each file you want to attach. Holding down the shift key will select a continuous list of files.

3. Never forget an attachment again

Gmail looks for phrases in your email that suggest you meant to attach a file (things like “I’ve attached” or “see attachment”) and warns you if it looks like you forgot to do so. Every day, this saves many people the embarrassment of having to send a follow up email with the file actually attached.

4. View attachments online

When you receive an attachment, sometimes you just want to view it and there’s no need to download or save it to your desktop. The Google Docs viewer allows you to view .pdf, .ppt, .tiff, .doc and .docx files in your browser. Just click the ‘View’ link at the bottom of the message.

5. Find that long-lost attachment

If you’re looking for an attachment someone has sent to you, Gmail’s advanced search operators can help you find what you’re looking for quickly and accurately e.g. ‘has:attachment pdf’.

Delegate Google Apps Administration

While most computer environments have at least one network administration account with unrestricted access, many administrators have moved to segment administrative responsibilities across different individuals and departments.

Last week, this capability was added to Google Apps control panel.

Google Apps now has two (2) levels of administrators:

Super Administrators have complete access to the Google Apps administrator control panel and can perform all administrator actions.

Restricted Administrators are given the ability to manage specific tabs in the control panel.  For each tab, you can allow/restrict certain administrative functions.

Both Super and Restricted Administrators have the ability to:

  • The ability to view and edit other users’ Google Sites
  • Rights to use the Google Apps administrative APIs, such as the Provisioning API
  • The ability to log into the Google Apps administrator control panel

Details of the available admin functions and how you can restrict functions can be found here.

Please note that distribution of administrative capabilities is not available by organization unit at this time. Administrators granted access to a control panel tab have the ability to manage those functions for all users.

IT Departments can now segment administrative responsibilities by function, providing many organizations with the ability to segment responsibilities.  The change also supports common division of responsibilities between Help Desk and “Tier 2” support staff.   Help desk staff can not be empowered to change passwords, for example, without giving them the ability to create new users.

The impact of this change is significant as this capability has been often requested by mid-size and enterprise IT departments.

Businesses Go from Ground to Cloud in 30 Days

Nationally recognized cloud solutions provider Horizon Info Services announced a new program for helping small and mid-size business move into cloud computing with less risk and at lower costs. Horizon’s FasTrack Services provide rapid deployment of Google Apps for Business for companies with up to 250 employees, giving companies quick access to the integrated suite of email, calendar, and collaboration tools. Depending on each customer’s needs, Horizon helps customers through setup, migration, and user education, completing deployments in 1 to 5 weeks.

“For businesses with IT staff looking to move to the cloud, we offer the expertise needed for a quick, successful migration,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Horizon. “We nearly eliminate the learning curve, transferring knowledge and minimizing risk.”

FasTrack services provide customers with a project kick-off meeting and a customized, best-practice project plan, technical guidance and assistance throughout the project, status calls and updates, and template user communications. Core FasTrack Services are fixed-price, offering savings over most per-user and full service options.

“We also offer a many value add services and technologies,” notes Falcon. “These solutions facilitate data migrations, improve integration between Google Apps and existing technologies, and, most importantly, enhance the end users’ experience using Google Apps”

Businesses can learn more about Horizon’s FasTrack Services at a dedicated web site, Companies that complete the 12 minute assessment will receive a free analysis of their potential migration to Google Apps.