That means people who pay for Google Apps for Your Domain (now referred to as simply Google Apps) can now host Google Voice, Google Reader and some 60 other cloud-based applications and services, giving admins a way to integrate just about all of Google into their own custom domains.
While Google Apps users have long had integrated Gmail, Docs, Calendar and Contacts, other popular services like Reader, Picasa and Google Voice have been off limits. All of these free Google services have remained available to anyone with a free Google account — but not the Google Apps hosted service, which allows users to tie Gmail, Calendar notifications, document sharing and their contacts database to their own, custom domain name. Google’s paid Apps service starts at $50 per user per year.
The workaround for most people so far has been to sign up for, say, a Picasa account, using a regular Google Apps e-mail address. While that works, it lacks the tight integration you get with the rest of your Google Apps — namely shared contact lists, settings and links to other apps within each app.
If you’ve got administrator access to a Google Apps account, starting today you should see a message on the main Google Apps admin page that will walk you through the setup and allow you to chose which services you’d like to enable. If you don’t see the message, keep checking, Google is rolling out the new features to everyone over the next few weeks.
There is of course a catch. If you’ve already set up accounts with any of the newly available services using your Google Apps e-mail address (the old workaround described above), you may get a message saying that your account can’t be upgraded. The problem is that your old account is conflicting with the new one.
This problem doesn’t affect all Google services, and according to the Google Help Center, the company is “currently in the process of wrapping up some necessary infrastructure work to ensure that the transition for those users will be a seamless process.” In other words, you’re going to have to wait.