Google working to add 'every damn' service to Apps

The president of company's enterprise group revealed its future plans on Twitter.

Google is going to make sure users of its Apps productivity and collaboration software can tap all of the company's services, according to Dave Girouard, president of the company's enterprise group, in a colorful tweet on Twitter.

"We're working to give you access to every damn Google service with a Google Apps account -- yep every damn one of them. Um, maybe not Lively," he wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday, referring at the end to Lively, the 3-D virtual world service Google shuttered recently.

In an e-mailed statement, Girouard said he has been "exploring Twitter as a different way to engage with our users and partners," but did not directly address the Tuesday post.

Asked if Girouard's tweet should be taken seriously, a Google spokesman said via e-mail that he "would not call it a joke."

Google has a range of services that could be natural extensions for current customers of its enterprise Apps service, particularly social-networking tools such as Blogger and Orkut. In addition, Google's FeedBurner application could be adopted for enterprise RSS (real simple syndication), and its Groups forum-building platform would also seem to make sense.

But Girouard's decision to tweet about Google's plans is probably not the right method of reaching the average corporate IT buyer, according to one observer.

"I don't know of many other software executives that are providing information about future product direction on Twitter," said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research, Nucleus Research. "If it's a message to the enterprise decision-maker, he's missed his mark."

Such individuals are looking for a "broad, thoughtful and articulate strategy about how great technology gets better and is delivered in a manageable way to the enterprise," she added. That includes tools and guidance for system administrators, as well as training "for those users who may not have grown up in the Google environment."

While there are lots of potentially interesting integrations between Google's products, if they are not rolled out as part of a formal business framework then they could just be a distraction, she added.

Beyond social-networking tools, Girouard could also be referring to services such as Google Checkout, which could be "great for a small business looking to do a little e-commerce," said Burton Group analyst Guy Creese via e-mail. Other services with relevance for business are Website Optimizer, Translate and Notebook, he added.

But Creese echoed Wettemann in saying that Google can't simply add more bells and whistles to Apps if it wants to court large companies.

"While this strategy creates a certain 'shock and awe' factor in the developer and geek world, this still leaves certain large enterprise requirements unanswered, such as role-based administration and records management capabilities," he said. "I think this strategy strengthens Google Apps within its core constituency -- the SMB market. SMBs will love the increasingly Swiss Army knife capabilities of Google Apps.

"However, this strategy doesn't get Google closer to sweeping the enterprise market, which is looking for certain base capabilities. And with [Microsoft] Office 14 now in alpha testing, I think Google's disruption window is starting to close," Creese added.

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