What's the difference between a Google account and a Google Apps account?

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a suite of Google applications that brings together essential services to help your business. This is a hosted service that lets businesses, schools, and institutions use a variety of Google products -- including Email, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Google Talk -- on a unique domain (e.g., www.yourcompany.com).

For instance, if you own the domain example.com and you sign up for Google Apps services, everyone at your organization will get:

  • A custom email address (user@example.com)
  • Tools for word processing
  • Spreadsheets and presentations
  • A shared calendaring system
  • Tools for creating web pages and sites for your business
  • Access to a flexible intranet system
  • And much, much more!

How is a Google Account different from a Google Apps account?

Although Google Apps and Google Accounts allow you to access several of the same Google products, they're different types of accounts. A Google Account is a unified sign-in system that provides access to a variety of free Google consumer products -- such as Gmail, Google Groups, Google Shopping List, Picasa, Web History, iGoogle, and Google Checkout -- administered by Google. Google Apps provides access to products powered by Google but administered by your organization.

Not sure what kind of account you have?

If you’re able to edit your account recovery options, new window then you have a Google Account. If you sign in to your account to the account recovery options page new window and receive a message with details to contact your administrator, then you have a Google Apps account.

The Google Apps transition

We’ve recently transitioned Google Apps accounts to a new account infrastructure such that Google Apps accounts are able to access the majority of Google products, just like a Google Account.

Google Accounts are subject to the terms and conditions set by Google as agreed to when you created your account. However, if you have a Google Apps account, the services you use on your account are also subject to the terms and conditions of your organization. Furthermore, access to services powered by Google are in the control of your administrator, so you may have limited functionality when using a Google Apps account when compared to a Google Account.