Google has announced it plans to go after the likes of Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, and IBM with Google Apps Premier Edition, offering businesses ramped up versions of its Web-based Google applications with phone support, 10 GB of storage, and 99.9 percent uptime guarantees for $50/year per person.
Google Apps Premier Edition will roll together the company’s GMail email service, along with Google Calendar, Google Talk, the Web authoring tool Start Page, along with word processing and spreasheet features with Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Google also announced that GMail now supports Gmail for Blackberry mobile devices, widely deployed in enterprise and government settings.
“Businesses are looking for applications that are simple and intuitive for employees, but also offer the security, reliability and manageability their organizations require,” said Dave Girouard, Google Enterprise’s VP and general manager, in a statement. “With Google Apps, our customers can tap into an unprecedented stream of technology and innovation at a fraction of the cost of traditional installed solutions.”
Procter & Gamble Global Business Services is already on board as a charter customer, and partners Avaya and Postini are working with Google to builds Google Apps functionality int their own system using a ste of APIs which enable Premier Edition customers to offer data migration, single user-signon features, and mail gateways which customize Google Apps to their businesses. Advertising is optional in the Premier Edition: Google turns it off by default, but businesses can choose to turn on advertising in Google Apps if they like.
Interested parties can try Google Apps Premier Edition free through April 30, 2007; Google Apps and Google Apps Education Edition remain free offerings.
Google Apps Premier Edition represents the company’s first serious foray into desktop computing for enterprise. Although Google Apps have proven popular with small businesses and organizations looking for bare-bones functionality, larger enterprises have traditionally relied on vendors like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle to provide comprehensive solutions. Initially, Google seems to be targeting nimbler niches within larger organizations, as well as lower-level customer service, inventory, and point-of-sales positions where companies are traditionally reluctant to invest in enterprise-level computing solutions. It remains to be seen whether Google will make inroads into the enterprise market, but the company claims to be scaling to handle “millions and millions” of users, and anticipates it will eventually land some very large deals.