Today Google announced the Premier Edition of their fine Google Apps bundle of programs aimed directly at the heart of Microsoft’s Office suite of applications.

I love Google Apps so much I’m writing a book about it for Thomson Publishing called Google Apps Administrator Guide. We have discussed Google’s plans for World Domination in helping you collaborate on the Internet and the Premier Edition of Google Apps for Your Domain is the next step in working together in new and spectacular ways. Here’s what the new Dashboard looks like:

Google Apps for your Domain Premier Edition!

I was thrilled to wake up this morning to find I can now offer a Google Personalized Start Page for Boles University and that thrill was provided by Google Apps for Your Domain! That means you can have a branded Google homepage for all your users. You begin the customization by changing the CNAME record for your domain. Then you can create a start page URL linked to your domain that might look something like this:

Now all your users can see their email and calendar on a Google start page! Here’s how you begin to change the CNAME record for your domain:

Google Personalized Start Page

Here’s where I added that CNAME entry for my domain hosting service Zone File:

Google Personalized Start Page

UPDATED: September 7, 2006 — Updates are in BOLD lettering. Google Apps for Your Domain is Google’s first step into offering a full-service suite of free, private-domain-specific, web applications:

Now you can offer private-labeled email, IM and calendar tools to all of your users for free*, so they can share ideas and get things done more effectively. You can design and publish your organization’s website, too. It’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software for you to install or maintain. (*Organizations accepted by Google during the Google Apps for Your Domain beta period are eligible for free service for their approved beta users even beyond the end of the beta period, as described in the Terms of Service.)