No Google Apps for me
I am a huge Google fan and especially love GMail. I have been a member from very early on and gone through all their improvements. Currently there is a mail archive of about 1GB in my account, going back to February of 2005.
Recently my friend and colleague Udo made me aware of the fact that Google Apps for your domain offers a free standard edition for up to 50 users. That seemed to be the perfect solution for me, because I figured that would allow me to use a custom sender address when sending mail from my iPad or iPod Touch instead of my @gmail.com address. Right now, if you want push notifications for new mail, you need to set up an Exchange account for GMail on the iOS device, but this will not allow for custom sender addresses. In the end I am not even sure this would have worked, but for other reasons I decided to abort the setup half way through for a IMHO very stupid limitation.
But let's start from the beginning.
To set up Google Apps for your domain, you need to first verify that you actually own the domain you want to prepare. You can do so in multiple ways - put an HTML file up there or add a DNS record. Since my provider allows for completely custom DNS configurations I opted for a TXT record with a Google provided identifier value.
Once that had propagated the Google Apps setup wizard let me continue to set up the different services like Google Calendar and Google Mail. For each I set up the user accounts, a CNAME and the MX DNS records as per Google's instructions.
Some time (and DNS propagation) later I found my new inbox ready to use, but empty of course. So next I went ahead and looked for instructions on how to migrate my existing GMail archive from the regular GMail site to my custom domain...
At first I thought I was just overlooking something, but after a little searching around it dawned on me that there is no way to do that! There are workarounds described all over the place using POP3 fetching, but that could take days and sometimes abort with timeouts etc. - nothing I was too eager to try.
In the end I reverted all my DNS changes and deleted the Google Apps account without ever really using it for the sole reason that Google seems to be unable - or perhaps unwilling? - to transfer an existing account from GMail to GMail... Anyone care to explain this to me?