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Google Apps: The Missing Manual Paperback – Jun 6 2008
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About the Author
Nancy Conner has a PhD in English from Brown University and has taught writing, including technical writing, to college students for more than a dozen years. She is currently a freelance copyeditor, specializing in technical books covering topics ranging from the MS Office suite to programming languages to advanced network security.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This Google apps book has more of a user focus and a bit more hand-holding than other Google app books I have taken a look at lately. (Google Apps Hacks)
The 13 chapters are divided into 4 parts:
1) Setting up with Google and using the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation creation software.
2) Using Google e-mail, communication and calendar applications.
3) Customizing the Google home page and creating Web pages without HTML knowledge with the new Page Creator.
4) Using Google applications within organizations. This last section went into administering users and facilitating team collaboration. This was interesting and something I had not seen in other books.
This "Missing Manual" is pretty thorough and has a good index. If your goal is to *use* Google applications (rather than program them), this book is an excellent reference and guide.
This book WOULD have been an easy 5 stars but the lack of color really hurts this release, so much so I dropped a star off. I don't understand why some books that need color are denied this at pre-release time while other books that don't need it get the full treatment.
Great book, just could have been even THAT much better.
**** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A book about Google Apps is bound to be awkward, because they are not a single subject and are aimed at several different audiences. In general this book assumes the reader is already familiar with the type of application being discussed, and just needs to learn how to use the Google version. In particular the presentation focuses on individual features and doesn't say much about workflow. For example, although Google's spreadsheets are simple, and well-described here, I don't believe anyone who was unfamiliar with spreadsheets would be able to figure out how to use Google Doc Spreadsheets from this book.
The section on Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheet, slideshows) goes fairly quickly through the available editing functions. It goes into more detail on the collaboration functions (since documents are stored on the web, you can collaborate with anyone else who can get on Google), version history, and reconciling online and offline edits. This section of the book works well.
The section on Communications (email, talk, calendar) really does start at the beginning and assumes you've never done this before. This also works well, although it is a little overwhelming for Gmail because there are so many features.
The web design section is confusing, not least because it combines two very dissimilar apps without telling you what they are for, or what the difference is. iGoogle, which has a very complex discussion, merely creates a custom start page. Page Creator, although it does create pages, is in fact a complete web publishing system, but you don't find this out until late in the chapter (Google lets you have a limited amount of web space and bandwidth for free on googlepages.com). These two chapters are basically OK, but they need more extensive introductions to orient the reader.
The last section deals with Google Apps for organizations. Google offers an enterprise-level version of the same apps discussed earlier in the book. These are basically the same as the individual versions, but they provide a way to control the sharing and customization for the whole enterprise. This section of the book deals with the system administrator's job in managing all this. The book admits on p. 482 that the remainder of the book is "aimed at techie types". It assumes the reader is already administering the enterprise's computers, and describes all the admin steps for Google apps. These chapters look plausible to me, but I don't know enough about that kind of operation to evaluate them in depth.
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