To those who doesn't know, Google is starting to campaign more in providing services in the business market, in particular their mail and other web-based services. Google then put all those services into what they call Google Apps.
Google Apps basically is a stream-lined way of managing mail and site services for your domain. The basic services integrated into Google Apps are Gmail, Gtalk, Google Calendars, Google Docs, and Google Sites. To put it simply, Google Apps is somewhat a mail-hosting service for your domain, with a lot more of services to offer.
The main difference of Google Apps with other mail-hosting services available, as well as compared to having your own mail-client server, is the accessibility of it simply through the internet and the integration of all those features together that can be of great use in communication and sharing of various information.
You can easily share and collaborate the work with your co-workers with the help of the services that Google Apps provide like calendar schedules, documents and such amongst the employees or members within that subscribed domain. At the same time, this can easily be managed by their IT personnel because it all boils down to just management of accounts and restriction policies for each employees. No need to maintain a troublesome actual server because Google will take care of it with you, with a 99.9% SLA and 24/7 mail or contact support in case of difficulties.
There is of course a free version of Google Apps, called the standard edition, and you only need a domain in order to register for one (either you have your own domain that doesn't have mail exchange settings, or you could buy one from Google if you don't have one). It provides all the basic features that you and your group will need with a limited number of user accounts that can be created. The mail has the typical 7+ GB storage similar to the regular Gmail, and the typical features goes for the other services.
However, if you need more user accounts and to utilize it more to suit your company's need, like mail filtering and larger storage capacities, purchasing the premier edition is the way to go. Upon purchasing the premier edition, you will gain a mail storage upgrade to 25GB, additional option to create resources (rooms, projectors, etc) that can be assigned in the entries managed through Google Calendar, Postini mail-filtering services, enabling of API functionality, LDAP and RADIUS authentication redirection for those who have existing systems that manage user authentication, synchronization features with Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. There are still other features that you will gain upon purchasing the premier edition.
To interested parties located within the Philippines, the office where I am currently working provides services in helping interested parties in planning, purchasing and managing their Google Apps premier edition. Just visit our website to check out our company or contact us here if you wish to ask any question with regards to Google Apps services for your company.
For more info on what is Google Apps, visit Google's website for this here.