One of the frustrations of Google Apps accounts in the past has been that many of the great offerings available on individual accounts weren't available through Google Apps. Earlier this month Google at long last opened up the full slate of Google web applications for use with Google Apps. For many people, this just makes it easier to consolidate these accounts under one roof (for example, Less Annoying Software previously had a series of individual accounts as well as an Apps account in order to use all the services we needed), but if you've only used Google Apps so far, now is a great chance to try out some of the other Google services such as Voice, AdWords, and Reader. Assuming you've already set up a Google Apps account, the full set of Google apps should be accessible from your account now. Here are a few service worth checking out:
Google Voice (www.google.com/voice)
We briefly touched on Google Voice in a previous post, but it's worth mentioning again, as it can be of particular use in a business setting. Basically, Google Voice sets up a new phone number through which you can route phone calls. We use this at Less Annoying Software to provide a single phone number that both Tyler and I can answer and call from (despite living on different coasts). Google Voice also transcribes voicemails, manages text messages, and provides advanced filtering options based on incoming phone numbers. It was a big pain in the past to have to manage separate sets of contacts for Voice and Gmail, so this is a welcome addition.
We talked a while ago about search-based advertising through Adwords, and a ton of businesses both online and off use the service to drive targeted traffic to their websites. Given this, it has always seemed odd that Google Apps accounts didn't have access to the service. Chances are that you've already set up an account elsewhere, but if not, the new Apps integration is a great reason to get started with a campaign.
Google Reader (www.google.com/reader)
We've mentioned how useful RSS feeds can be in the past, and Google Reader is one of our favorites. Again, the segmentation from Google Apps was probably never a huge deal for RSS, but the new integration will make a few things easier. For example, if you want to share stories within your company, either directly through Reader, or via email or other services, having your RSS tied in to your Apps account can simplify things.
Dealing with other changes
While the merging of Google apps and individual accounts is definitely a big step forward, the process of managing separate Google accounts has gotten a little trickier. Previously, you could generally log in to individual accounts and Apps accounts at the same time without any major headaches, but that is no longer the case. You'll instead need to switch between accounts if you want to use both of them. We've talked in the past about a way around this using by giving chrome application shortcuts their own profile (here's how to create application shortcuts on a Mac). With this setup, you'll be able to manage separate logins by running separate profiles in Chrome, rather than switching back and forth.
In any event, while it may not be life changing to have access to all these applications through Google Apps accounts, it can definitely simplify and consolidate some of your online accounts. Let us know if you find any other great services that have recently been opened up.