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Google Apps Premier Edition Launches 261

prostoalex writes "Google Apps is adding a premium offering: a custom 10-GB Gmail box, Google Calendar, GTalk instant messenger, Writely, Google Pages, Google Custom home page iGoogle and Google SpreadSheets for $50 a year per employee. The NYTimes provides some details on competitive pricing: 'By comparison, businesses pay on average about $225 a person annually for Office and Exchange,... in addition to the costs of in-house management, customer support and hardware, according to the market research firm Gartner.' Boston.com quotes an analyst for Nucleus Research on Google's ease-of-use: '"What we see in the Google Apps is a real focus on making them easy to use and intuitive," she said. "And that's something that Microsoft has been unable to do in all of its years with Office."' But the same analyst is bearish on Google Apps' shortcomings relative to the mature Microsoft desktop products: 'Right now Google's going to give companies a better ability to negotiate with Microsoft.'"
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Google Apps Premier Edition Launches

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  • Instant messenger? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by solafide ( 845228 )
    Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that everyone except Google believes GChat to be a great time-waster, not something you'd offer to your corporate clients to increase productivity at work...?
    • by Constantine XVI ( 880691 ) <trash.eighty+slashdot@gmai l . c om> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:04AM (#18108542)
      Dont think of it as an instant messenger then. Think of it as a "textual telephone"* that goes over the Internet. I've seen a few businesses around here where IM has become as important as email and the telephone to keep in touch

      *Yes, I know, GTalk does voice also
    • by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:08AM (#18108588) Journal
      Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that everyone except Google believes GChat to be a great time-waster, not something you'd offer to your corporate clients to increase productivity at work...?

      I was about to moderate this discussion, but I had to respond to you. Instant Messaging, despite rumors to the contrary, can actually be a very productive tool at work. My company uses Lotus Sametime, and I have found it to be a very useful way to get responses to quick questions. No, you cannot hold major discussions over Instant Messaging. And, if you work in a small (

      IMHO, the productivity that is gained by Corporate IM easily outshines to potential pitfalls.

      • And, if you work in a small (

        Dammit. I put in the 'less than' sign and screwed up the HTML. I meant to say, an office of less than 100 people, Corporate IM is not a useful tool. But, if you co-worker is 300 miles away and you need them to jump on a conference call or you need them to answer a quick question, then corporate IM can be very helpful.

      • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:17AM (#18108694) Journal
        I agree, back when I was in the university I used to perform my programming projects with 2 other friends, we usually fired Windows Messenger + application sharing (word, notepad and other things) to share some code and the like. I am talking about 2001 or 2002. It was great, at least for us. I think one of the "secrets" is that
        1. All the members in the conversation *must* know how to touchtype (or at least write faaast).
        2. All the members in the conversation *must* agree to write 1 paragraph with one idea per "message" I\n, hate\n, when\n, people\n, writes\n, one\n, word\n, and\n ,press\n enter\n.

        It started as a "cool" experiment (to test the "new technology") but it was so helpful that we used it trough the remaining University time. This all was on 56k dialup, and yeah it was fast enough for us.

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
          This is why the unix machines at university, oh, 20 years ago now? had write, and talk installed.
          Talk is cool because you can see the characters as they are typed, you can see just how badly some people type as they make typos and then try to correct them!
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:35AM (#18109720)

          I think one of the "secrets" is that
          1. All the members in the conversation *must* know how to touchtype (or at least write faaast).
          2. All the members in the conversation *must* agree to write 1 paragraph with one idea per "message" I\n, hate\n, when\n, people\n, writes\n, one\n, word\n, and\n ,press\n enter\n.


          I don't think that word means what you think it means.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          If you're looking for the state of the art today, take a look at the SubEthaEdit text editor for OS X. Basically, it is a text editor that can post a document on a LAN (autodiscovery via zeroconf) or on the internet if you know the hostname or IP and allow for collaborative editing. What is really nice is it has multiple, real time cursors so everyone can be typing at once with their own insertion point. It makes pair programming so much easier than hacked together solutions where giant chunks of text are s

      • by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <hiland@ g m a il.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:21AM (#18108746)
        We use a Jabber-based system at my office. If you are not on it at all times, the boss gets pissy. It's the primary way we communicate in-office. We mostly use it to send links to folders on the file server, or to get quick responses to questions.
        • by teh_chrizzle ( 963897 ) <kill-9@NOsPAm.hobbiton.org> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:13PM (#18111992) Homepage

          IM is way better than email for 90% of what people use email for.

          when i worked on a helpdesk, we were all on the phone all the time, and we used AIM and an AIM chatroom to IM with eachother about stuff like what systems were up, what was down, that sort of thing. you can talk on the phone (well, listen to an idiot yammer) and answer other people's questions pretty easily that way. plus, you can have several conversations going at once which is way more efficient than a single phone conversation. it's also a great way to move files between people you know since most corporate email systems strip the most interesting of attachments without some sort of manipulation.

          i would do personal stuff with it as well... IMing with my wife all day cuts down on the "how was your day/we never talk anymore" meme that cuts into precious evening game time... both mine and hers.

          my only beef with IM is that even with clients that let you have several "presences" (jabber/trillian) there aren't many that let you talk to people while they are in an MMORPG. asheron's call had a third party plugin system called DeCAL that let you run many things, including an IRC and aim client ingame which created an allegiance chat channel before one was added to the game in addition to being reachable while in game... but to my knowlege there is no way to reach someone with a default install of a given game without being logged into the game as well.

          it would be nice to be able to tell my little brother that he has a meat body somewhere outside of WOW that needs to eat dinner once in a while.

    • I used gTalk where I work to communicate with colleagues; I find it to be invaluable. Not only does it have real-time interaction which email lacks, but it also gives me a record of the conversation that I can refer to later if needed.

      It is hardly a time waster; IM has 'grown up' in a sense that it is no longer used just by the geek fringe and the younger generations. It is a very useful tool.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by proxy318 ( 944196 )
      When you configure Google Apps, you can pick and choose what you want your employees to be able to do. So if you feel gchat or the custom webpages are a waste of time, you're free to disable them.
  • obvious flaw? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@CHICAGOgmail.com minus city> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:00AM (#18108498) Homepage
    Needing to be connected to the web sucks for those who travel.

    Or am I the only one to have thought of that?

    Tom
    • Re:obvious flaw? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:07AM (#18108572)
      being able to access your data and apps anywhere is just as useful when your laptop gets stolen.

      In the en it is a mixed bag. Somethings will require local data. Other times i really miss having everything on the network. Finding a balance between the two will be the best bet.

      Besides a corporation or government who gives their employees data to take home is just asking for trouble. How much of ten's of thousands of customer personal data has been lost your way?

      I just am tired of waiting for corporations to stand up and upgrade their networks to even present standards. the USA doesn't even have 3G yet Japan and europe are working on going beyond that.
      • Some files, re: presentations and the like, need to be portable since if you call a meeting with 20 execs and can't present you get fired. Other things like a DB of credit card numbers shouldn't ever leave the server and wouldn't be something you store in Googles file store anyways.

        OpenOffice is free. Use that for your presentations/etc if you're worried about cost.

        Tom
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IAmTheDave ( 746256 )
          Agreed about OO.org. I use the "standard" edition of Google Apps which does offer for free the use of Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

          Docs is horribly uninteresting. FCKEditor [fckeditor.net] has more formatting options than Google Docs. It's not an office competitor in my mind.

          Spreadsheets is a bit better, but 2G is plenty of email space for my small business.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AvitarX ( 172628 )
            I agree.

            I looked at it, but for $50/account it is a lot of money ($1200 vs free) and I can't upgrade only select accounts.

            If it were $50/10GB I would get it, because I only have 2 accounts that need more space.

            Also, does anybody know if it lifts the tiny 10MB email limit? If I could send 50MB files it would be a lot more valuable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geoffspear ( 692508 )
      This is still a problem, but we're getting increasingly close to a world where you can go pretty much anywhere and still have net access. Converting an entire business with a lot of travelling employees to Google Apps instead of traditional apps that will work on a non-networked PC is probably still premature, but there may be businesses who don't rely as much on travel that might give it a try.
      • Re:obvious flaw? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot.firenz e e . com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:25AM (#18108798) Homepage
        I would use this, if google offered me the facility to install these apps on a server under my control.
        In a large office with hundreds of users, having all that traffic heading out through the wan interface would be prohibitive, it would be much easier to only have the few off-site workers traffic heading in through the wan interface instead.
        • In a large office with hundreds of users

          I don't think this is their target market (at least initially). The Google apps seem best suited for smaller offices that don't want to fuss with file server/exchange/etc and are running a dozen or two PCs with shared folders all plugged into a router on as little as a cable modem. This will probably suit their needs nicely.

          For larger clients, Google's exposing APIs, so it's only a matter of time till we start seeing Google Apps --> OOo connectors and sync ap

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mgv ( 198488 )
        Converting an entire business with a lot of travelling employees to Google Apps instead of traditional apps that will work on a non-networked PC is probably still premature,

        Yes, as as user of google apps, I can say its not ready yet...

        For example, maintaining email lists for mail outs isn't really working yet. Even though you can redirect your gmail to another address, if you try and put that address into the email list for a group mail out it can fail. Specifically, if the address uses characters that ar
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Needing to be connected to the web sucks for those who travel

      Depends. Back in the day (when the bartenders at the US Air Club knew my name AND what my preferred drink was), I rarely did work on an airplane. Why? Not because I didn't have work to do, but because I viewed the couple of hours of quiet time as a chance to relax and read a good book.

      I have seen dozens of people pounding away on their keyboards on different flights and I have always wondered how is those people were so unproductive that th

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by vgaphil ( 449000 )
      You can sync GCal with Outlook/Blackberry/whatever with this -> http://www.companionlink.com/products/companionlin kforgoogle.html [companionlink.com]
      You can also enable POP3 with Gmail.
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:01AM (#18108514)
    I use the google apps at home, even though I have a licensed copy of office, cause I like to access it easily from work and home.. However, the one very limiting factor is the spreadsheets won't connect to databases. Lots of businesses have excel doing simple DB reporting, and this just won't work with the spreadsheet app. (yet??)
    • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <mindstalker@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:06AM (#18108560) Journal
      As well the loss of mail merge style features in Doc (people are still calling it writely??).

      I never really expect to see full macro capabilities, but a simple mail merge, even from google speadsheet would be nice.
    • by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:11AM (#18108650) Homepage Journal
      I anticipate the Google apps are going to continue to improve. Since last night they have added fonts (was a very basic selection before), added the docs and spreadsheet into the domain settings so that things are easier to share within-company.

      Also, after they bought Writely and the spreadsheet company they also baught a second spreadsheet company. Reviewing their product I noticed it had a much more complete set of Excel features. How hard would it be for them to tack an SQL service to this? My guess: Not too hard at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Timesprout ( 579035 )

        How hard would it be for them to tack an SQL service to this? My guess: Not too hard at all.
        You probably guess correctly. But how hard will it be for Google to persuade companies to upload their databases to Google servers? My guess: Seriously difficult to sell.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gkhan1 ( 886823 )
          That's not necessary, is it? The company could have its own SQL server requiring a username and password that the google app could connect to and present the results in whatever way they want. And besides, Google isn't going to start being a free database host, that's just crazy! It wouldn't be feasible.
        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          I'm thinking users would have to authorize some client code to run on their side of system to access local DBs. This could open up some security problems.

          As a side note, it's important to see that this system is not the be-all and end-all of these kinds of applications. Furthermore, I'd hate for my company to come to it's knees while Google handles a DOS attack or something.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#18108768)
      Or the fact that, currently, Writely doesn't even have the most basic functionality like utilizing the INSERT key on the keyboard?

      Sorry, but it's not going to replace any Microsoft Office product until the program works like *every other* word process on the most basic level.
      • Hmm. My keyboard doesn't have an insert key. I hadn't noticed that until your post. Mind you, I use vim for pretty much everything I write; word just isn't a very good text editor.
      • Or the fact that, currently, Writely doesn't even have the most basic functionality like utilizing the INSERT key on the keyboard?

        Sorry, but it's not going to replace any Microsoft Office product until the program works like *every other* word process on the most basic level.

        I'm pretty sure that feature won't be a deal breaker anywhere. Most people regard that as more of an annoyance, because insert is too close to delete. For that matter, no feature that small will ever be a deal breaker when there is this much cash at stake. Such a feature is too easy to add if it becomes a big issue. And if you think every other word processor works the same way on a low level, you must have a very narrow definition of "word processor". Besides, any company that is open to the idea of an on

    • Word and Excel won't be going web based. Outlook on the other hand...
    • Nor Word... (Score:2, Informative)

      by encoderer ( 1060616 )
      Google Documents is still very much in it's infancy as well, and not at all ready for wide-spread business use. I was stunned when i tried it out last week that there are a ton of warnings when trying to do something as simple as Find and Replace.

      Among other things, that very basic and relied-upon feature is listed as "Experimental," it doesn't offer a "Replace" option, but only a "Replace All" and it is not able to be Un-Done.

      That told me volumes about just how far this application has to go.

      Just because i
  • Fair Comparison? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:01AM (#18108518) Homepage Journal

    [Google Office Stuff] for $50 a year per employee. By comparison, businesses pay on average about $225 a person annually for Office and Exchange

    Is that really a fair comparison, though? Google's email is great, but their Spreadsheet and Word Processor solutions are nowhere near as sophisticated as MS Office. And in an office environment, many of those differences do matter.

    I haven't played with Google Calendar enough, but would it be a workable replacement for the Outlook calendar? i.e. Can you schedule meetings with a simple invite rather than telling everyone to put it on their calendar? Can other users see your unavailable periods when scheduling?

    I hate to give Microsoft props, but there are features that are critical to the office use of software. If Google doesn't provide those features, they will not be able to compete at all. Which means that the supposed "leverage" with Microsoft would be nothing more than hogwash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by marcog123 ( 969158 )

      > Is that really a fair comparison, though? Google's email is great, but their Spreadsheet and Word Processor solutions are nowhere near as sophisticated as MS Office. And in an office environment, many of those differences do matter.

      For simple documents and spreadsheets, Google's office apps are sufficient. And I would say at least 75% of documents are simple enough to fall into this category. I certainly wouldn't call it a replacement though, but rather it works well besides MS Office especially with

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        I'd like to point out that while some features (SQL access, as mentioned in other posts, for one) aren't available, most of those "features" people use are because they are there, not because they need them.

        If people stuck to simply formatted documents, I wouldn't have such a nightmare reading Word attachments in OpenOffice. For whatever reason, though, many people where I work have enough time to totally mangle the formatting while adding useless background images and so forth.

        A memo doesn't need, and sho
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MindStalker ( 22827 )
      Yea you can send invites in google calendar, but the "availability" features aren't there yet. BUT in their "compare editions" page http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/editio ns.html [google.com]
      it states that "Shared Calendar Resources" are available in the purchased edition. I havn't tried it so I can't really comment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ElleyKitten ( 715519 )

        Yea you can send invites in google calendar, but the "availability" features aren't there yet. BUT in their "compare editions" page http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/editio [google.com] ns.html [google.com] it states that "Shared Calendar Resources" are available in the purchased edition. I havn't tried it so I can't really comment.

        In the free edition, you can share calendars with eachother and then they can see what you're doing. I'm not sure if there's a specific busy or available feature, but if you see

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 )
      Google calendar is pretty decent. It's main drawback is the lack of an easy way to sync to your cell/pda, but i'm sure they'll provide a mobile client that will reduce that need.

      I've done some stuff with Google Spreadsheet and it's surprisingly useful. Sure it doesn't support all the power features of excel, but when you need to throw together a simple sheet (particularly if it involves collaboration between individuals) it works surprisingly well.

      I'd love to see some analysis about which excel features act
      • I'd love to see some analysis about which excel features actually get used. I think PivotTables are fantastic, but I'd be surprised if 5% of the installs of excel have ever been used to make or view one.

        It's funny, because I don't use PivotTables all that much. However, I do use charting. And I use the data import/export abilities. I deal in incredibly large reports on a regular basis. (Too much data for Google's solution to handle.) I occasionally do database imports. (Though I find OpenOffice to be more u

        • by cmacb ( 547347 )
          "It's funny, because I don't use PivotTables all that much. However, I do use charting. And I use the data import/export abilities. I deal in incredibly large reports on a regular basis. (Too much data for Google's solution to handle.)"

          Maybe someone else can remember the name, but after Google bought the company that they are using for the spreadsheet application they bought a SECOND company, lesser known, with a spreadsheet offering of their own. I got to try it about a day before they shut it down and i
    • Re:Fair Comparison? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ip_vjl ( 410654 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:15AM (#18108688) Homepage
      As of right now (at least with the free version) the integration of calendar and mail is lightweight. You can send invitations from your calendar, but if you receive ical (*.ics) attachments from others, they just appear as attachments and don't have any quick way of getting the info into your calendar. You have to save the attachment, then go into calendar and do an import, but I haven't had that always work - especially with something like a cancellation.

    • Is that really a fair comparison, though? Google's email is great, but their Spreadsheet and Word Processor solutions are nowhere near as sophisticated as MS Office. And in an office environment, many of those differences do matter.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. You're correct that Google's offerings are not as featureful. They also require Web access at all times to use (for now) which is a huge drawback for many people. Also, sending confidential over the network is a security no-no for a lot of organizations.

      Google's offering has some real advantages too. You can access it from any machine, including one at work and home or one at home and school and the library. Google's offering runs on any OS, a big p

      • featureful

        You work in a marketing department, don't you?

        • featureful

          "Featureful" is a perfectly cromulent word.

          You work in a marketing department, don't you?

          Nope, engineering, but I have helped out with white papers and technical reviews of marketing materials. I was told just the other day that marketers are allowed and encouraged to increase the English lexicon with wonderful new terms.

    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:47AM (#18109900) Homepage Journal

      Is that really a fair comparison, though? Google's email is great, but their Spreadsheet and Word Processor solutions are nowhere near as sophisticated as MS Office. And in an office environment, many of those differences do matter.

      Yes this stuff is obviously not going to be as good as a full MS Office install. That doesn't really matter though, because this clearly isn't intended to be an Office "killer" or whatever you want to call it. Google is going after the low hanging fruit - people who have relatively simple needs and would prefer a cheap option, particularly one that has the benefits of offsite backup and accessibility from everywhere. That's not everyone, indeed it is a small market segment, so its hardly going to put a dent in MS Office's market share. On the other hand it is, aparently, a big enough market segment that Google thinks they cna make money at it - and I would tend to agree with them. MS Office is overkill for a lot of small companies, and those same companies tend to be the ones that are less inclined to have full time IT staff to manage file servers, backups, and so on. Just because the product isn't perfect for everyone doesn't mean there isn't a market big enough to exploit. Not everything has to be about total market domination.
  • Doesn't make it better.
    I really don't see google apps being a threat to office anytime soon. I used their spreadsheet program last night for the first time to plot some data for simple graph. The reason google apps is simple and easy to use is that it doesn't do much, like graphs and charts. Also preforming simple tasks can take a while for the the spreadsheet to update. Their are plenty of other options that are easy to use and easy to find both of Office and Open Office. I just don't see the reason to pa
  • All the Google products are nice as far as they go, but I can't see how they can replace full-featured apps like Office and Exchange in the "enterprise". Maybe for personal and mom-pop business, but can they do what most major businesses need? I don't think so. Yet.
    • It doesn't matter that the apps aren't as full featured as MS apps. The real question will be whether they have enough features for a significant number of users. For example, in my last position, I used MS Word and MS Excel. But I'm not and did not need to be a power user -- I used only the basic functions. Would it have been cost effective to have me using Google's apps instead? Possibly.

      Of course, at some point you have to throw in Open Office as well, and ask which of the three is the best solution
  • Why? One simple reason, if I use an MS solution I am the sole caretaker and gatekeeper of my data and information. If I use Google they have everything and can and will copy and use it to their benefit, and perhaps your competitors benefit.
    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
      No, if you use an MS solution then Microsoft are the gatekeeper, while you are the caretaker.
      Microsoft can revoke your license to use the software, and then your data becomes inaccessible because it's locked in to their proprietary formats.
      Not saying that google is any better in this regard, but it's still something to watch out for.
      However, if google were to provide this service as an appliance you could run on site, and which stores the data in an open format all these problems would go away.
      • by throx ( 42621 )
        That makes the assumption that you are storing the documents in once of Microsoft's closed formats, which isn't necessarily the case. Until there's a way to manage all the data locally and run disconnected from the internet, Google's solutions aren't going to be useful for your average business.

        Like you said - having an appliance would fix this, but I wouldn't hold my breath. That's not Google's model and they're unlikely to transition into an appliance vendor any time soon.
    • How is this different from having a Outlook Web Access on unencrypted http, sending mails without encryption, exchanging almost all documents via email - oh and let users forward their incoming messages to almost any email address, used by many employees to forward to their private address (on google, msn or yahoo)?
      Aka the "situation normal, all fucked up" found in most companies?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anml4ixoye ( 264762 )
      True, but I wonder how long it will be before Google provides an appliance like their search one to provide this, while keeping everything inside the company firewall...
  • Great marketing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bflynn ( 992777 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:11AM (#18108642)
    From a marketing standpoint, this initially looks to be pretty strong. Google is hitting the white space, but I still have to question it - is the white space there because nobody moved into it or is there because it represents a non-viable product mix?

    I once heard networking defined as being in a room, having your data located 200 feet down the hallway and believing that it is a good thing. I think the ASP model is flawed in providing the needs for large organizations. There are issues surrounding security of data and uptime availability that probably outweigh the cost savings. Security is huge, especially given Google's stated mission to make ALL information available to the world. Do I want to give them my confidential sales information? Not.

    The cost savings isn't what its cracked up to be either, since the cost is $50 per employee, per year. It seems like Microsoft is about 4-5 years between major releases, so your cost is $200-$250 per seat for 4-5 years.

    Overall, I'll pass for now.
  • by smcdow ( 114828 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:14AM (#18108676) Homepage
    My company has been interested in Google Apps for a while, but we won't touch it until we can buy an Google Apps appliance machine and install it in our own facility.

    We're not holding our breath.
    • Exactly. At work we have looked into switching to Gmail, but the lack of IMAP and not having control over our own data made the choice rather easy.
    • by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:26AM (#18108802)
      Agree, absolutely. Love the software, but like hell are we hosting key services elsewhere. With Google hosting the apps, if we lose Internet access, and we might as well close up and go home.

      Personally, I'm amazed there isn't an appliance version of GMail available yet. Although I suppose they'd have to get it out of beta first...
    • I like the idea of a local appliance, and indeed, G already offers one for their search engine. I wouldn't be suprised if they do the same for the office tools eventually. But the icing on the cake would be a local appliance that not only keeps local copies of everything, but also backs it up in somewhat real time to G.
  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101.gmail@com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:16AM (#18108692) Homepage Journal

    "What we see in the Google Apps is a real focus on making them easy to use and intuitive," she said. "And that's something that Microsoft has been unable to do in all of its years with Office."

    It's easy to make something easy and intuitive when they have almost no capability. Let's see Google make it a lot easier and intuitive AND have the same functionality.

  • One of the major things that prevents us from going Gmail is the lack of imap support. I can't force my users to give up whatever email app they currently like. Gmail is a great product, but without some flexibility there, it can't catch on where IT does not have an iron grip, especially at the executive level.

    PS Pop is -not- Imap. :)
  • ..... A few chairs will go flying in Redmond over this.
  • by gsyswerda ( 550684 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:19AM (#18108722)
    Why would a company entrust Google with all their corporate emails, and many of their files as well?
    • For many many small companies going to Google hosted email/apps would be an improvement. Look at all the little service companies like mechanics and plumbers, etc. They really don't have any sensitive information in their emails. Most of them don't even have their own domain, and if they even have a local network, a fileserver crash is more likely than an internet connection being dropped.
    • So they can test Google Global Domination *Beta* and have a say on which features get added next.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      For the same reason they entrust Microsoft software with them?
    • Why would a company entrust Google with all their corporate emails, and many of their files as well?
      What's the difference between using Google and any other email hosting company? GMail is miles more useful and feature rich than a lot of the half-baked web mail interfaces I've seen from other outfits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion ( 181285 )
      Large users likely won't trust Google. Before I trust google with anything, I would want to know a bit more how they will use the data, how it will be archived, and if it will be deleted everywhere at some point after I delete a file.

      OTOH, for small businesses that want to keep costs down, this will be useful. One will not need as powerful computers, one will not need in house servers, or rented off site servers, and one will not need to generate a backup plan. I recall at one point when I was backing

    • by AeroIllini ( 726211 ) <{aeroillini} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:10PM (#18110200)
      Why would a company entrust an IT department with all of their corporate emails, and many of their files as well?

      Google becomes an IT supplier with this scheme, and contracts will be written that stipulate confidentiality and security. This is no different than hiring an outside consultancy to run your own company owned servers. Cries of "OMG Gooogle will pwn us all!!!1!one!!" are simply not justified. It's a business relationship, same as any other.
  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#18108772)
    The people that really need to watch out are Lotus. I've been admining a Domino server for about 8 years now and let me tell you, it's the second biggest pain in the ass that I have to deal with. Google's solution would fully replace Lotus for all the things we use it for and actually do it better.
  • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:39AM (#18108950)
    They're focusing on the $225 vs $50 per employee per year, but $225 isn't the TCO number. You also have to calculate the salaries of the IT staff who maintain the company email server and such, or the hosting for the same. I expect that pushes the number far higher. I'm assuming that Google will also see better uptime than the typical small-company email server, and it's probably smaller companies who will find this most attractive. If I were starting my own company, today, I'd go with this. If I started up with 10 people, I'm looking at $500 per year for full mail hosting and document storage as well as infrastructure for collaboration. I also won't have to buy a single server for anything. I don't have to worry about documents getting lost.

    For what you get, and for everything that you *don't* have to buy, that's idiotically cheap.

    • They're focusing on the $225 vs $50 per employee per year, but $225 isn't the TCO number. You also have to calculate the salaries of the IT staff who maintain the company email server and such, or the hosting for the same.

      Don't forget fileservers for the data and backup of it and administration costs for those. Also don't forget the cost of installing and maintaining licensing for office applications as well as the danger of accidentally installing too many copies of office for your licenses. Don't forget the cost of direct phone support.

      That said, this would not fly at my company for two reasons. One, although several browsers are working on it, running apps like this when the internet connection is down is not feasible

  • Other considerations (Score:4, Informative)

    by Twillerror ( 536681 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @10:44AM (#18109042) Homepage Journal
    Back when we where considering going from Exchange 5.5 to 2003 ( a huge pain in the butt ) I considered moving us to an online alternative. intranets.com now WebOffice ( webex umbrella ) provided somewhat of an alternative at that point. Now they are even better that they offer email hosting, with your domain not "gmail.com".

    Several factors stopped me from being able to make that jump.

    1) Legacy...everyone was using Exchange and we had tons of email in it that would be a pain to copy into folders.
    2) Regulation. How does google keep all company emails in one place that can be archived and backed up. I'm sure Google won't loose someone's email anytime soon ( less likely then us ), but how do you document their backup procedures.
    3) Current email addresses. No one wanted to give them up.
    4) Internet bandwidth and reliance. People tend to think of the internet like electricity, but we are not there yet. It is funny that I get a faster connection at my house with a cable modem then our dual t1s provide...and a lot cheaper. This is another post, but unless you are in a big data center getting a decent sized pipe at a reasonable price is still overpriced.
    5) Gateway level controls. We wanted to see every email that came in. We run a spam firewall, but if it blocks errantly we have a log. If Google blocks and email?
    6) Customer support emails. We have tons of email addresses for our clients/etc that would probably be a pain to setup.
    7) Fax support. We have to integrate with a fax server...yep it sucks.
    8) Public folders ( ie email boxes accessible by more then one person )...ties in with 6.

    To name a few.

    If I was starting up a small software company I'd be all over this. As far as for enterprise uses...I think Google has a long road ahead of them...but they are speeding car.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FrankNputer ( 141316 )
      One thing - they wouldn't have gmail.com addresses. Google already offers custom domain email accounts. FTA:

      Companies can customize the Gmail accounts to reflect their workers and firms (worker@firm.com).

      Many of your other stated concerns are somewhat generic to any change in mail services - I encountered several of them by moving our employees to an in-house mail server from a myriad of outside services. IMHO:

      1. Always a problem with changes in service. Users have to decide what's important in their ma

  • by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:07AM (#18109342)
    and you would overhear many MS employees' lunch meetings around here. As early as 3-4 years ago, there was a lot of buzz about starting projects like what Google's doing now. The "Live" initiative will supposedly eventually convince people to submit micro-payments to use Office products. ($0.25 per Word doc creation, $0.50 per printing, etc.) The MS people who were talking about this acted like it was the best thing since sliced bread and that it will cure cancer. It'll probably be deployed around 2015.
  • This almost makes the Microsoft solution seem reasonable: "By comparison, businesses pay on average about $225 a person annually for Office and Exchange".

    Well shoot, is that all? Sounds like a deal to me. That is, what, about .6% of your average office user's salary? And not that I'm a fan of Microsoft or anything, but I have to admit that Office and Exchange are pretty featureful. And lets face it, even if half the employees don't utilize the features, there's always a handful who need the advanced feature
  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:22AM (#18109554)
    Google is using Microsoft's own tactic against them--use one strong revenue stream to subsidize aggressive underselling in another. Almost all of Microsoft's profit comes from their Windows/Office/Exchange product lines--they then use this profit to offset heavy losses as they attack new markets (like--Internet advertising). Google is simply executing the reverse--using their strong ad revenue to subsidize an attack on Microsoft's office turf. Even if few companies actually sign on with Google, they're all going to use Google's offering to negotiate lower pricing with Microsoft, thereby hurting a key revenue stream--mission accomplished.

    Microsoft's battle against GO Penpoint is instructive because it's well documented from both sides. The GO side is covered in the famous book Startup, and the Microsoft side is covered in the book Barbarians Led by Bill Gates. In that book the GO chapter ends with the death of Microsoft Pen Windows and a revelation from one of the managers--that the goal was not to sell Pen Windows, but simply to block GO's success in the marketplace---"Block the kick," not score the touchdown.
  • ZDNet UK's got a video interview with Google about Web Apps Premier. In it Google's European enterprise director, Roberto Solimene, promises that the product offers 'seamless integration' between the various applications. He also claims that Google's "hundreds of thousands of servers worldwide" will help it compete against Microsoft.

    You can see it here [zdnet.co.uk].

  • by peterbiltman ( 1059884 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @11:40AM (#18109792) Homepage
    In this day and age of lawsuits and corporate rules and regulations I can't see any large company using hosted services where their data resides on other servers. That would open up a whole can of legal problems, especially if that data was compromised. Another example is say that Google kept backup tapes for 10 years, but company was policy was no backups for more than 6 months. A lawsuit comes along and the lawyer for the other side realizes you use Google and subpoeanas the backup tapes from Google and finds the evidence they want.
  • They Fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:00PM (#18110080) Homepage Journal
    Here is where they just FAIL trapped in the warp of their own success not knowing the failure that waits for them behind the next door.

    I like google, gmail, etc, etc., etc..

    All I wanted was to get some extra space in my inbox since the free space isnt' enough for me..

    To use this service you need to have a domain name...
    I own serveral but I don't want my email @ my domain name

    All of that is a minor point, just well something that I want...

    Here is why they fail...

    I can't contact them... there isn't an easy simple way to reach them and find out if there is an alternative..

    When you click through into their help system you get into page after page of "try this and try that..."

    It's one thing to offer free stuff for FREE and skimp on the help...

    When your trying to sell something.. you need to be able to help people...

    Not that my problem is such a big deal, but each group of people signing up will have their own problems, and the biggest one is that they can't get anyone on the phone or in email, without jumping through so many hoops, pages, forms and FAQs that well, it's like talking to a wall...

  • by suggsjc ( 726146 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:16PM (#18110292) Homepage
    gMail is pop. As slick as the interface is, I really like working with IMAP or even Exchange servers. It is nice for all of my devices to be in sync. I hate checking email on my phone, then getting back to gMail and everything I did is (to some extent) lost.

    If gMail implements IMAP, *THEN* they will have a much more competitive offereing, at least on the email side of things.
  • Welcome back to 1975 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @01:14PM (#18111146)
    Welcome back to 1975, where mainframes and 'pay as you go' computing ruled the day.

    The Personal Computer, if google/microsoft have their way, will cease to exist. Welcome back the dumb terminal.

    Let google/microsoft store all your data, for a low monthly fee.

    Use all your favorite applications, for a low monthly fee.

    It's the old micropayment bullshit, disguised as a new 'pay as you go' initiative. Same shit, different smell.

    1975 called, it wants its 'micropayment' system back.

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