Last few days I have spent almost my entire days migrating my personal email from Google Apps to Gmail. Now when I posted this news to my twitter, facebook and other social medias, I have been receiving tremendous amount of emails asking me why did I do that. Why I made this choice even though I know that my Gmail ID will not be as cooler as my Google Apps email. Today in this article I’m going to share my experience with Google Apps as a personal email service for past six years or more and the problem I had to live with just because I was using a Google Apps email and not a Gmail ID.
If you have ever seen the Google Apps advertisements on internet you would have seen that the way Google preach their paid Google Apps service is like you will get every Google services and features you are so familiar with like Gmail but with your own custom email ID as @yourdomain.gTLD. This is a big lie. This is no way near to the actual truth regardless of whether you are using a paid Google Apps account or an old Google Apps legacy account, the story remains same almost everywhere.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been conducting a series of experiments on Google Apps (both paid, legacy and education account) to see whether a person can truly enjoy all the Google benefits and features alongside with an email ID tailored to his need. Though I have faced quite a few hurdles at the initial time of my experiment but overtime things are just started getting worse and I can no longer use a Google Apps email as my primary email ID as I’m not getting any awesome features that Gmail users take advantage of daily without even understanding how much complicated their life would be if these features weren’t there to help them. I have also lost quite a lot of data and money over these experiments. If you are reading this article from a computer then you can see on the sidebar that I have ZERO Google+ followers now. That’s because when I moved from Google Apps to Gmail, I lost all of my Google+ followers too.
What do I mean by using Google Apps for personal email?
I used a Google Apps legacy account with my domain name and within the list of the emails there was one email ID associated with @isaumya.com which I used as my personal email. My friends send me email to this ID. I had many hangout connections to this ID. In fact, the smartphone I use on daily basis I used my Google Apps email as the primary email of that device and there was no other Gmail ID associated with that device.
Why you did such thing?
This is a great question to ask. You see, as I stated above, at the early days of Google Apps, Google used to preach their Google Apps service as a holy grail for users who cannot get their desired email ids because Gmail is so crowded and at the same time the business users who might need an extraordinary email service for their business. In both cases Google said that users will get all the Google service and features they are so familiar with on their custom emails.
So, I had to check it myself whether or not the claims made by Google is truly legit or just a false marketing gimmicks. Trust me I would not be this much frustrated with Google Apps if I would not have used one of its email ID as my primary email everywhere, including my smartphone. Using my other Google Apps email ids just for working purpose also made me a little hot heated sometimes but not as much as using it as my personal email.
What are the problems you have faced with Google Apps?
This is where things get interesting because the problem I’m going to state here might make some people angry on the other hand some might thing, I don’t care whether or not these things works because I never use them anyway. So, if you are a person of the second group, then you are good to go. But if you are a person from the first group, then I will highly suggest you to keep reading as you will understand what are the things you must need to compromise if you start using your Google Apps emails as a personal email everywhere. Here are the two main reasons:
1. Forget receiving new features by Google
When you start using Google Apps (for personal or business use), you need to let go of that feeling of yours which always crave for using the awesome new features Google publish frequently or maybe you read about it on a newspaper, magazine or website. Google will not push any awesome new features to their Google Apps users until it is extremely old or you don’t care for it anymore or maybe never. Don’t believe me? Great let’s share a few stories of them.
Google Keyboard User Dictionary Sync
If you have an android smartphone and you use Google Keyboard in it, then you know that one of the smartest feature of Google keyboard is to learn how the user type and then sync it with your Google account. So, if you buy a new android device and set it up with the same Google account of yours it will already know how you type and will not give you those annoying auto corrections when you are typing. This is a great feature and believe me or not it become really handy overtime if you do a lot of emails or messaging from your phone.
But on the other hand if you have set up your android device with your Google Apps account as your primary email ID, you cannot enable this user dictionary syncing option from the Google keyboard settings, because Google doesn’t allow their paid Google Apps users (not available in legacy, education or government account either) to enjoy this feature and has no ETA about when or even if it is ever going to be included in Google Apps.
Their free Gmail users are always stay first in the line of enjoying every great new features Google publish, but their paid users don’t even have an option to opt for these new features. So, long story short if you set up your android smartphone with Google Apps account as primary email ID, you have to live your entire life connecting auto corrections as the keyboard’s ability to learn how you type is forcefully disabled by Google. I have tried to contact them many times to enable this feature but they have no eta whatsoever.
No ability to use Google Now fully
Again if your set your android device with your Google Apps email as primary email of that device, many Google now features and devices will be disabled for you and there is no way to enable them. Like for example, if you go to your Google now page and tap on the whether, for Gmail users it will ask you whether or not you want to add a shortcut icon of the Google weather to your home screen. But on the other hand if your primary email is a Google Apps email, well guess what this option will never show up for you.
Also if the primary email of your android device has been set with a Gmail ID, Google Now will show you your pending bills if you receive any bills on your email ID. But again if the primary email of your android device is a Google Apps email, you need to have faith in your memory and not Google Now.
Now all these behaviors I’ve mentioned above, you will see this only with Google Apps paid account and Google Apps legacy account. But if you have an email ID which is associated with Google Apps for education or Google Apps for government, guess what you won’t even get the tiny bit of features that paid and legacy users avail. Like for example, Google Now will work even worse, Now on Tap will not work at all etc.
When I contacted Google for an explanation of all these weirdness, this is what they said:
Due to American privacy laws we are bound not to gather any data for any account associated with any educational institutions i.e. Google Apps for Education accounts or any Government organizations i.e. Google Apps for Government. So, as we are not authorized to gather any data from these accounts, we cannot provide these AI based services.
So, in simple words it means that, Google will only provide you their awesome service if you allow them to take every single data of yours and if you don’t then they will provide you a service then you used to get in the year 2005. Also if that is the case then why not Google clearly mention these on their Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Government pages that these are the list of services you won’t be getting with this account or these services may not work properly with this kind of account.
Also let’s forget about the education and government account, Google gathers all the data from their Google Apps legacy and paid users, then why don’t they provide the similar quality Google Now service to their Google Apps users like they provide to their free Gmail users, no one knows.
Extremely Bad Data Migration Options
Whether you are a Gmail or Google Apps user, you are already familiar with Google Takeout, an export service provided by Google to export all of your data associated with almost every Google service. But there is an awesome data migration tool for Gmail users to migrate not only Gmail or contacts data but also all data associated with other Google services. But when you try this tool on a Google Apps to Google Apps or Google Apps to Gmail migration you can only migrate a hand few things like AdSense, Analytics, Adwords, Google Webmaster Tools data. That’s it. Rest of the data won’t be migrated. You either have to migrate them manually (which allowed it) or you have to lose those data.
Also there is a migration tool inside Google Apps admin panel (only for paid, education and government users) which will allow you to migrate your emails to Google Apps from other Google Apps or Gmail account but not the other way around. Also for the Google Calendar & Contacts you need to do manual migration.
No way to participate in the cool features Google introduce
Google has a reputation of providing cool gigs and features time to time. Like for example when the Star Wars move came few months back Google allowed their users to join “Dark Side” or “Light Side” based on their choice. Based on what side you chose; your Gmail loading bar design will be changed. I know this is a small thing, nothing which hamper our work life, true but these small fun stuffs are which makes Google a separate entity from other similar companies. But the thing is Google Apps users were casted out of this fun and only Gmail users could participate in it. Being a Star Wars fan, it really felt bad to me that I’m participate in this fun thing because I’m using the same service Gmail guys are using with a different name and my custom email ID.
Also the story doesn’t end here. A few months back Google launched an awesome service for Gmail called Mic Drop which is currently taken down due to some annoying bug. But the reason it was amazing is because it will let you send a one sided email. So, even if the receiver of that email reply to you, you won’t get it. It is immensely helpful in the hatred, annoying family or work email situations. Though Gmail users had a chance to enjoy this new features for couple of weeks, Google Apps users never even gotten the chance. But the funny thing is this feature would have been the most popular feature among Google Apps users as the number of hatred email on a working environment is very high everywhere.
There are so many stories like this, I just shared a few of them above.
2. Extreme delayed release of new Google products/apps
This is another pain in the butt of being a Google Apps user. Every time Google releases some new application or products it will only be for Gmail users, seems like Google Apps users are the most sinner people that is why they are not allowed to use it at the same time with Gmail users. This is a trend that Google always follows for their every single product.
f**k off, you are a Google Apps users and you are not allowed to have fun with our new products unless we say so. 🖕🖕🖕
For an example let’s take Inbox by Google. When Inbox was first launched it was an invitation based system for Gmail users only. So, even if you had a friend using the new Inbox and telling you how awesome and far superior it is that Gmail, maybe also send you an invitation to your Google Apps personal email, when you try to use it for the first time on your phone you will be greeted with an error message whose short version is “f**k off, you are a Google Apps users and you are not allowed to have fun with our new products unless we say so”. 🖕🖕🖕
Google Apps users literally had to wait for months before Google decided to give the Google Apps users a chance to enjoy the new Inbox, but at that point the excitement was already gone. Though Google released this new Inbox by Gmail for certain Google Apps users (legacy and paid users only) others (education and government) are still screaming about getting Inbox on their Google Apps account after all this months of releasing Inbox.
Though there are plenty examples like this and as Inbox is also become an old news let me tell you a story about a new app Google released recently and as the tradition follows it doesn’t work with any Google Apps account (yet). Google also haven’t given any date of its Google Apps release and this is what made me realize – enough is enough, I can no longer take it anymore. No matter how bad my Gmail address looks, I’m going to Gmail. I can’t handle this disgust anymore. The name of this app is Spaces.
If you are not familiar with what spaces is, it is a new app that will allow you to create small groups for various different reasons of your life and you can invite people with many different means to join that group. Within that group you guys can chat, share contents and do many other cool stuffs. Though spaces is an awesome looking app with great benefits, but if you try to login with your Google Apps account, it will show that your account is not supported for this. WTF!
Now I can share many other stories like this about many other products but the moral remains same in every one of them.
So why Google does this to the Google Apps users?
Now this is the most important question to ask that why Google does this. You see when Google Apps was first introduced mostly small and medium businesses were interested about it. Individuals were happy with their Gmail account. Fast forward 10 years and now we have bloggers, youtubers, photographers and many other casual as well as professional people who owns a domain now. So, these individuals opt for Google Apps in hope that they will have a sexy looking email with their domain name in it. So, these tech enthusiasts and individuals are always craving for using the new features and products.
But Google’s vision towards Google Apps users remains same how it was 10 years before. Google thinks only business should be using Google Apps, not individuals or tech enthusiasts. In case of business environment only extremely stable products can be used. So, if Google provide a feature or product which is still under development or testing, their business customers might freak out.
Also in almost every business environment people generally don’t like don’t things in a new way even if it is faster. That is why Google took almost a year to push the new Google Contacts material design UI for Google Apps users. So, in business environment why fix something if it is not broken. That is why Google doesn’t bother much for releasing new cool features for Google Apps.
When it comes to using your Google Apps email as a primary email on your android device, Google’s thought in this should be – you should not do this unless that is a phone provided by your company to work on it, in that case you are supposed to do only work on that device not fun; for fun use your own device which is associated with a Gmail account.
Also I think the team that work of product/features associated with Gmail accounts has very bad coordination with the team work on Google Apps account. They really need to sync properly.
How this can be fixed by Google?
You see Google has to really change their mindset about their Google Apps accounts tremendously. They have to understand that now many individuals and tech enthusiast also use Google Apps just like the way they might be using a Gmail account and these people expect every single features that are available to Gmail users also gets available to Google Apps users at the same time.
I understand some corporations might wanna stick with the old ways of doing things as they hate change, but that doesn’t mean every Google Apps users has to believe in “don’t fix unless it’s broken” moto. There are thousands and thousands Google Apps users who wants to use these new product/features at the same time with Gmail users, so don’t ignore them.
I truly understand that most of these new product/features are in the early stages and may contain many bugs, so Google just wanna product their Google Apps users those products/features which are almost 90% or more stable. But this doesn’t make any sense. Instead what Google should be doing is, put some sort of checkbox within Google Apps admin panel and let they super admins decide whether they want to opt for these new product/features as soon as they get released for Gmail users acknowledging that these products /features might be buggy so, they should be using it on their own risk.
This is how things needs to be done. Google should put the choice on the user’s hand, whether they wanna opt for these new product/features on the first day knowing that they may contain bug or should they like to wait for these apps to be stable enough so that Google push it themselves. But I know Google not gonna do that ever as it will need tremendous coding work from the ground up in Google Apps section as well as an extreme harmony between the Gmail and Google Apps team.
After doing experiments with Google Apps for years and using Google Apps email as my personal email I will not suggest anyone to use a Google Apps emails to use as a personal email or may be adding a Google Apps email as a primary email of your android device (unless it’s a company phone). Because if you do so, you will be losing a lot of features and benefits. Google Apps is still a long way from being used as a personal primary email address and personally I don’t think it will ever be ready. I will suggest you to always use a Gmail address as your personal primary email and then if you want add your Google Apps emails as separate addresses but never as a personal primary email.
But if these problems don’t create any problem for you as you never should have used these services on the first place (I highly doubt that) then fell free to use your Google Apps email address as your personal primary email. As I don’t fall into that category and I know there are many people like me, I will suggest everyone to think 1000 times before making your Google Apps emails as your personal primary email.
Trust me if you realize in future what a huge mistake you have done by choose your Google Apps email as your personal primary email, it would need days of headache (telling from my own experience) to again migrate back to Gmail as your personal primary email. Migrating a personal email is even harder than changing a house also not to mention the countless data and money you will lose. Because all of your Google Play Store purchases are gone now, you need to re-purchase everything with your new Gmail account. That is why think 1000 times before making your Google Apps email as your personal primary email. Always use them as secondary inbox but I will never suggest them to use as primary mailbox.
- Google Apps for Work is good for business or work use but not for personal primary mailbox
- If you use Google Apps email service as your personal primary mailbox, you will loose any cool Google Services like Google Keyboard Sync, partial Google Now, Star Wars choose side etc.
- Google releases their new products very slowly for Google Apps for Work users. So you cannot use the coolest new Google Apps on the first day. Like for example, Google Inbox took months before coming to some Google Apps version. Still there are many Google Apps version (Education & Government) that can’t use Google Inbox still. Same thing happened to Google Whether shortcut menu on android, Google Spaces and many other Google Products. they are still not available in Google Apps.
- Migration System of Google Apps is also not very good. Using the Google Apps migration tool inside the Apps Admin, you can only migrate email & contacts. There is still no good way to migrate all Google service data like (Drive, AdSense, Analytics, Google +, YouTube etc.) from one Apps account to another or one Apps account to Gmail.
- If you use your Google Apps email as personal primary mailbox and add that email to your android device as your primary email, you will not be able to enjoy many features completely on that device as Google Apps doesn’t support them properly.
- Google takes very slow and sloth approach to release new feature and products for Google Apps users. Gmail users will always gets the first priority in Google’s eye for few feature, product or services.
What do you think guys? Do you agree with my findings? Do you also have any painful story like this to share? Do you also use your Google Apps email as your personal primary mailbox? I would love to hear your thoughts about Gmail vs Google Apps and which one you think is superior as personal primary email in the comment section below. Let’s carry on this conversation there.
You can also connect with me via twitter @iSaumya. If you like this post, please don’t forget to share it with others who might enjoy reading it. Also if you have any other ideas or request about future posts, you can let me know in the comment section below or via twitter.