Microsoft Office is by far the most comprehensive suite of productivity services around, but what if you own a small business with bare-bones requirements for word processing and spread sheets? AllThingsD reports that HP is teaming up with Google to promote Google Apps as a free alternative for companies that don’t want to pay Microsoft fees to use Office. HP “will package [Google's] management tools with its PCs, printers and other IT gear” while helping companies ease into using Google Apps with an assist from its own management software, AllThingsD says. The move toward Google Apps comes at a time when HP has been inching away from Microsoft a bit, as this year the company has launched new devices based on Google’s Chrome and Android operating systems.
Google (GOOG) isn’t just be a consumer tech company anymore. Unnamed sources have told the Wall Street Journal that Google “generated around $1 billion from the sale of Google Apps and separate mapping software to businesses and governments” over the past year, signifying that Google has made significant progress in its push into the business technology market. The Journal notes that “more than five million businesses use Google Apps, though the vast majority have fewer than 10 users and thus use the free version” that Google has said it plans to drop. Needless to say, any incursion by Google into the business world is a direct shot across Microsoft’s (MSFT) bow, which might be one reason why Steve Ballmer and company have been ratcheting up the anti-Google rhetoric in recent marketing campaigns.
“What happens when the world’s largest advertising business tries to sell productivity software on the side?” Microsoft asks users in its new Googlighting video. “Beware the Googlighting Stranger.” In response to what is undoubtedly increased pressure from Google’s cloud-based productivity suite, Microsoft has launched an all-out assault on Google and its cloud-based Google Apps product. According to Microsoft, Google’s productivity suite is a joke — a sad side project where Google moonlights in its downtime and uses unwitting corporations as guinea pigs — and businesses would be crazy to play Google’s game. “Google Apps is an ever-changing solution with experimental features that can increase complexity and the need for change management and training,” Microsoft wrote on its Why Microsoft site. “When your business needs help, Google Apps support falls short of delivering the kind and level of support you demand.” So what exactly does your business need to thrive? Microsoft is glad you asked: “Your organization has diverse needs. With Microsoft, you can deliver the right set of tools for the right users—all with appropriate layers of security and compliance technologies.” Microsoft’s no holds barred anti-Google Apps video follows below. More →
New details emerged recently in the battle between Microsoft, Google, and the U.S. government’s choice of default software. Here’s the rub: Google filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in November 2010 alleging that the Department of Interior didn’t give its Google Apps Premier a fair shake before choosing to use Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal for all of its employees. That’s the tip of the iceberg, as the story gets a bit more complicated. See, in order for the software to be certified for government use, it needs to get a FISMA stamp from the General Services Administration (GSA). Google Apps Premier was certified in June 2010, but it appears that a subset “Google Apps for Government,” — introduced later — has yet to receive that certification. According to Business Insider, Google assumed that since its Google Apps for Government product was more secure the original FISMA certificate would fit the bill. Technically, it sounds like that alone is reason enough for the government to choose Microsoft’s suite, making Google’s entire lawsuit moot. But we’re sure we’ll hear more from the Google defense. Hit the jump for a testimony from the GSA’s David McClure while speaking to U.S. Senator Tom Carper. More →
Google has announced an update to its Google Mobile App for iOS that adds several new features and gives the application a shorter name. Henceforth to be known simply as Google Search, the new application adds Google Apps shortcuts, gesture support, and a new toolbar, that make hunting down that nugget of Internet gold even easier from your iPhone or iPod touch. The application is available for free in the App Store immediately. There is a video demoing some the new features after the break. More →
Google has stated that it is in the process of restoring data to accounts affected by a bug that wiped out email and chat history for some Gmail users. The number of user accounts wiped out by the bug has also been revised down again, this time from 0.08% of Gmail’s user base to 0.02%, or roughly 36,000 accounts. Google apologized for the mishap and the company insists that no data was lost as a result of the bug. Some user accounts have already been restored, the company said, and the remaining accounts should be back to normal soon. Google says the bug was caused by a storage software update it began deploying over the weekend. As soon as engineers were alerted of the issue, they stopped rolling out the update and reverted back to the old software. More →
Google confirmed on Sunday that a major bug has mysteriously deleted the entire contents from within roughly 150,000 Gmail accounts. Google initially reported the problem to be more widespread, but it revised its initial estimate down from 0.29% of total Gmail user accounts to 0.08%. According to user reports, email correspondence from within affected accounts was deleted earlier this past weekend. Affected users were initially unable to log in to their accounts, and then found that their data had been deleted once access to the accounts had been restored. Accounts were essentially reset, with years worth of emails and chats having seemingly been erased. Google appears confident that the lost data will be restored, however, and it notes that users will be unable to access their accounts while engineers address the issue. “Google engineers are working to restore full access,” Google noted on its Gmail status page. “Affected users will be temporarily unable to sign in while we repair their accounts.” More →
Forrester Research, “an independent technology and market research company,” surveyed 115 American and European companies, in an effort to create metrics of the office software landscape in enterprise. The results of the May 11th report are in, and the winner, by a landslide, is Microsoft Office 2007. Of the companies surveyed, 81% are currently using MS Office 2007 with with a lowly 4% using the free, online alternative Google Apps. Also of note: 78% of those running Microsoft Office 2007 indicated they utilize SharePoint for collaboration, with 33% responding in the “affirmative” when asked if they had plans to upgrade to Office 2010. Forrester’s conclusions:
The alternatives to Microsoft Office today do not meet the needs of the enterprises Forrester surveyed. Common end user barriers to adoption of alternatives include lack of required functionality, third-party integration requirements, user acceptance, lack of seamless interoperability with Office, and legacy content support needs. These gaps will be bridged in the coming years as Google, OpenOffice.org, and others mature.
Alright corporate drones, what are you using in your office? Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Google Apps, other?
There are two sides to the proverbial “cloud coin” for small business owners. You can view cloud services, like Google Apps, as a time and money saver, allowing you to focus on your core business as opposed to IT needs. Or, you can view them as your worst nightmare, and shun the thought of having all your business data stored on third-party servers. For those whose views align more closely with the former perspective, Google wants to offer you greater flexibility and options for your cloud data. Yesterday, Google announced that Google Apps customers will have the ability to purchase and use third-party tools in their Google Apps cloud deployments. The Apps Marketplace has over 50 applications ranging from payroll and tax software to project management and development tools. “The Google Apps Marketplace eliminates the worry about software updates, keeping track of different passwords and manual syncing and sharing of data, thereby increasing business productivity and lessening frustrations for users and IT administrators alike,” writes Google. Quickly running through the new Apps Marketplace we think this could be a pretty big hit for Google’s Apps service. We’ve got the launch video queued up for you after the break. More →
Technology companies are scrambling to jump on the application store bandwagon which has blossomed in the mobile arena and is now moving into the netbook and desktop computing realm. The latest app store venture may be originating from Google, which is rumored to be developing its own suite of business applications designed to compliment its Google Apps service. Google already offers a solutions marketplace with tools and add-ons for Google Apps, but this new business pursuit would expand upon this solutions marketplace and offer applications from Google’s software partners in an attempt to deliver its partner’s products and additional services more easily to paying Google App customers. Business productivity would be the focus of this venture and its crosshair would be aimed squarely at Microsoft. More →
For some, there is quite a bit of anxiety involved in switching from one email system to another. What will become of all your old emails from family/friends, your precious email attachments containing hundreds of hours of video featuring LOLCats, or the 400 copies of that one chain letter your partially senile grandfather forwards you every two weeks? Well, it looks like if you’re a Mac user ready to jump over to Google Apps, there is no need to panic, because the Big G is looking to alleviate this anxiety for you. Recently, Google released a migration tool that will allow users of Apple Mail, Thunderbird, or Eudora to upload all their email to Google Apps and seamlessly make the switch. The tool, which already has a Windows counterpart, will only work with Google Apps and not with the more popular gmail.com or googlemail.com services. Hit up the official press release for all the details. More →
First announced at WES 2009, Google’s Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server has finally gone live after missing its promised July launch. Free to Google Apps Premier and Education Edition users, Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server allows Google Apps to integrate with BES while eliminating the need for Exchange. Here are the highlights:
- Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
- Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- Emails archived/starred on your BlackBerry are archived/starred in Gmail, and vice-versa.
- BlackBerry folders are synchronized with labels in Gmail.
- You can search for contact information of coworkers from the global address list on your BlackBerry.
- Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.
- You can view your Google Calendar schedule with the native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device. Two-way calendar sync with the ability to accept, decline and schedule meetings from your BlackBerry device is not available with this release but we are working on it.
- Administrators can use the management and security tools that are part of BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
All in all, Google Apps Connector seems to be a solid Exchange alternative — though we would definitely have a very, very hard time parting with Microsoft’s tried and true solution. Plenty of companies are doing it however, so this is big news for them. Us? We’ll stick to Exchange.
Up until this morning, we would have confidently put big money on Gmail maintaining its beta status for the next hundred years. Seriously… Has a more widely used and reliable service ever held onto its beta tag for so long (that was rhetorical)? To our shock and amazement however, Google has officially removed Gmail from beta status along with Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk. Both consumer and enterprise Google Apps categories are now out of beta in fact, and the latter is certainly the motivation for the change. With 1.75 million companies currently utilizing Google Apps, the beta tag seemed a bit ridiculous at this point and Google finally concurred. Are there any exciting new features to report along with this news? Nope, but you know how Google loves to churn out new features and we doubt the absence of “beta” will slow the company down a bit.