Much talk lately has been devoted to the “Let’s write off the web office suite” theory. To prove the naysayers wrong, Google is slowly signing up Internet service providers for a “white label” version of its offerings.
For instance, the company today said it has inked a deal with satellite Internet service provider Wildblue that will see Google power the WildBlue.net portal starting in the first quarter of 2008. Today the deal involves GMail, GCal, GTalk and Google Gadgets. Tomorrow it could be the Google Office suite. A few more deals with ISPs and suddenly a lot more people will have heard about Google Office. Think about that.
Bonus Link: Nick Carr on The Office Question
16 thoughts on “Google Taking Apps In The Sky”
Om, as usual the press is trying to find the “slam dunk” winner in this contest, but the market tends to gravitate away from the extremes. I would posit that over time, the adoption of “web office” will increase but driven by the advantages it provides over desktop office i.e. anywhere/any device access & seamless real time collaboration. The usage of desktop office will also continue based on the advantages it provides i.e. deep rich features, zero latency, rich responsive UI and rendering, ability to run 3rd party add-ins/macros/customizations and deep integration with other client applications.
With the emergence of “Web office” there will be price pressure on MSFT Office esp. on the lower end (Hence the emergence of the Student & Teacher edition of Office). This alternative will also give some enterprise players negotiation leverage with Microsoft. Microsoft should be worried about “Web Office” but it needs a smart way to segment the market so that it can continue to sell both – this is not an easy task within its current organization structure.
People in tech were going on and on for years about VoIP before it started to get any real traction (and it’s still got a long way to go for full mainstream adoption). I expect the same pattern to hold for web-based office apps.
Besides the rich UI/latency/offline usability concerns associated with “web office” and other types of SAAS there are major issues with security. Most directly authentication security. A corporation can force their users to authenticate in strong ways with things like smart cards. On the web, stronger authentication isn’t even an option. It’s username and passwords. Which leads to problems like, http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2007/11/salesforcecom_acknowledges_dat.html
The web community as a whole needs to move beyond usernames and passwords as the primary authentication mechanism. Think of the possibilities for the web if everyone had corporate grade authentication.
More thoughts here:
“The usage of desktop office will also continue based on the advantages it provides i.e. deep rich features, zero latency, rich responsive UI and rendering, ability to run 3rd party add-ins/macros/customizations and deep integration with other client applications.”
Some thoughts at:
It’s endlessly amusing to watch Om and all the pseudo-analysts on Techmeme play businessman and try to guess who’ll live and who won’t.
Do you think Google is really trolling blogs for business ideas? When did this become a pastime?
Om your right Google Apps is great for personal users or Small bussiness but a company that has to comply with various laws and regulations regarding record keeping and privacy might have troule using a web based service .
Also what happens when the internet goes down at work .
Sure Google promised Gears would work and openoffice has a Google docs plugin but seriously enterprise needs a stable offline solution .
I use Google Apps (or the collection of services called google apps)for all my stuff .
I really don’t get your comment. Care to elaborate. Because what I reported was news and how Google was slowly making progress in its efforts.
@ Matt_said: I think you have hit the nail on the head and Google has (and will have to) address this question of privacy in the near future. Similarly for now I use my Microsoft apps, but when it comes to collaborating with others, I use Google Apps. The document sharing is by far the easiest and simplest as far as I am concerned.
@ Luke…. that is a solid post your wrote. Hat tip.
In Poland MSFT now sells “Family edition” of Office for less than 100 USD (around 80 to be exact) – which I expect to be a serious killer for OpenOffice related companies (boxed OO shipped for over 100 usually).
I understand privacy concerns, but to be honest, if you’re a small company that wants to cooperate on simple documents like marketing briefs, project backlogs or simple P&L – online apps is THE choice. It’s not a substitute of Office, it’s just for different tasks. Also, small companies don’t have such a ‘valuable data’ to protect, after all who cares what my numbers are?
Google, Zoho and others are now at the very begginig of market development – it WILL take years before online apps are widely adopted, but (in my opinion) it’s a matter of time.
I think not only companies have to think twice about using Google Docs. On Google Docs a user can not completely delete his own documents/data. At least embedded images in Docs and Presentations remain on the Google servers even after the user deleted a document. Details: http://www.line-of-reasoning.com/issues/privacy-issue-google-docs-seems-to-not-delete-but-only-hide-documents-when-the-trash-is-emptied/
Maybe also private usage scenarios of Google Docs should be discussed twice taking into account that this issue has been reported to Google 5 months ago and nothing has happened since then.
“Besides the rich UI/latency/offline usability concerns associated with “web office””
these are one of my main concerns when using google docs for collaborative purposes. the question is what direction will google take? enriching and speeding up their apps or keeping things simple and just focusing on the collaborative side or “price pressure on MSFT Office” might be one case or if you look at some of google’s popular apps that have now been ‘incorporated’ into vista as system functionality (search, calendar, picture organizer, desktop widget) it might lead to MS to put more effort in ther collaborative office app which is now being built.
for now I need to keep my excel spreadsheet really simple if I want to upload it to gapps to start working on it…
Google’s web office suite can’t be written off just because the stats say most people still haven’t heard about it or use it. Google’s hugely successful advertising platform incents it to give everything including the kitchen sink and word processing software away for free so long as it can place ads and drive traffic – giving it an edge over everyone who makes money the old fashion way (actually charging people). The question is whether Google can develop powerful apps faster than Microsoft can develop a powerful ad platform. Another question for Google is whether ads will really stick on apps.