Google Apps administrators can now set different usage policies for groups within their organization’s domains, a feature that many IT departments have requested Google add to this hosted collaboration and communication suite.
With this new capability, Apps administrators can divide their user base into groups, each with a specific set of access rights for the suite’s applications, which include e-mail, instant messaging, calendar, office productivity software, discussion forums and Web site building tools.
For example, a company’s marketing department may be allowed access to certain applications and not others, while the customer service group may be given permission to a different combination of applications.
An organization may also create an ad-hoc group of employees from various departments so that they can pilot test a certain application, before rolling it out more widely.
“The ability to toggle services on or off for groups of users can also help customers transition to Google Apps from on-premise environments,” wrote Google Apps Product Manager Adam Dawes in a blog post on Tuesday.
This feature is available for organizations that use the Premier and Education versions of Apps, which are more sophisticated and have a broader feature set than the free Standard edition, whose domains can’t have more than 50 users.
The Premier edition, which costs $50 per user per year, and the Education Edition, which is free, are currently in use by organizations with thousands and tens of thousands of users and feature a variety of IT management controls and capabilities.