You are hereGoogle Apps Released
Google Apps Released
Today, Google announced the public release of Google Apps. Google Apps now offers a "Premier Edition" which is a subscription based online Office suite. At a cost of $50 per user per year, Google Apps Premier Edition offers users Google Calendar, Gmail (with 10GBs of storage), extended business hours tech support, VoIP through Google Talk, web page creation through Page Creator, Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets. This cost per user greatly undercuts the licensing fees required to own and utilize Microsoft Office so this marks one of the biggest efforts by a Google to capture a piece of Microsoft's market share. Several large companies have already signed on to use Google Apps Premier in attempts to lower their IT infrastructure costs. It will be interesting to hear any case studies that emerge from these larger companies over the next few years in terms of productivity, data security, downtime, technical support and user satisfaction.
Anyone who has used Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, GTalk, etc.) usually ends up loving the applications built by Google. However, the prevailing industry opinion was exactly how "online Office applications" would function in the real-world corporate environment. The obvious risk is downtime where your workers will generally be unproductive - even in a usable offline mode. A second efficiency factor stems from all your files now being "remote shares". Although you will most likely be saving your files on a remote file server, those file servers usually sit somewhere on your LAN as opposed to sitting on a WAN where connection speeds are generally slower. This causes a major concern especially when dealing with larger files because downloading and accessing large amounts of data over a WAN pipe could end up being very inefficient. Only time will tell if online office applications will succeed in the corporate environment.