Internet giant Google recently announced that it will offer a free beta version of its Google Apps for Your Domain suite aimed at organizations. The move is designed to push the company further into the enterprise space, which will put it in direct competition with Microsoft and its array of desktop applications.
The standard beta package — which includes Gmail (Google’s e-mail and instant-messaging program) with 2 gigabytes of storage, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Page Creator — eventually will be a customizable interface for clients and a Web-based control panel to manage user accounts and distribution lists. The company also plans to release a premium edition, which will be offered for a fee, with customer support and greater storage capacity toward the end of the year.
Analysts think this is just a taste of things to come from Google. Some predictions floating around include that the company eventually will develop spreadsheets, word processors and even an operating system. With no official confirmation from Google officials on these potential offerings, however, they remain pure speculation. Still, it’s a pretty good bet that this is the strategy the company intends to follow.
One advantage Google has in pushing out its Apps for Your Domain suite is the fact that it can easily market the suite directly to users without having to go through any vendors. A large customer base, however, might not be immediately forthcoming.
According to research firm Gartner, the early adopters probably will be enterprises that don’t require a great deal of functionality in applications and don’t have much in their IT budgets. Also, Google’s approach to issues such as service-level agreements (SLAs), security and technical support will be vital to overall success.
Still, looking long term, this move could produce something of a shake-up in the market, one that Microsoft won’t take lying down.
Gartner said, “We believe Microsoft is likely to respond aggressively. The rivalry between Google and other vendors like Microsoft will probably confuse the market by producing overlapping business models and unintegrated, competing products but could benefit users of both
For more information, see https://www.google.com/a.