After months of testing, Google is ready to see whether businesses large and small are ready to pay to use its online suite of basic business applications, including spreadsheets, e-mail, word processing, calendars and instant messaging.
Google, which has steadily transformed itself from a search engine pioneer into a data access, Internet advertising and business application powerhouse, introduced on Feb. 22 its Google Apps Premier Edition at a cost of $50 per account per year.
The Premier Edition adds Google Docs and Spreadsheets; Gmail for mobile devices on BlackBerry; and application-level controls to Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Talk and Start Page applications that the company introduced as a free service starting in August 2006.
While the free applications were initially offered to serve small and midsize companies, the Premier Edition has collaboration and management features that will appeal to companies of all sizes, including large enterprises, said Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google’s enterprise group in Mountain View, Calif.
Google Docs and Spreadsheets allow multiple employees to work on the same document simultaneously and the applications keep track of all revisions and edits. The application-level control features allow administrators to set limits on how documents are shared inside and outside an organization.
Google is supporting the apps with a 99.9 percent update service-level agreement in which customers will receive credits for downtime. The company is also offering 10GB of storage per user, as well as application programming interfaces to enable data migration, user provisioning and single sign-on, along with mail gateways to allow businesses to customize their e-mail service.
These features are helping to draw interest from large organizations that “have a desire for choice,” Girouard said. Google is seeing a “higher level of interest from big company CIOs than we would have expected at the start,” he said.
Read the full story on eWeek: Google Apps Premier Edition Takes Aim at the Enterprise