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Google's push for business

google businessGoogle has a lot to offer a business. The bread and butter of their B2B offerings would have to be the Google search appliances, in full and mini configurations. I'm sure that makes a little cash for the Goog, when the Desktop and Toolbar for Enterprise do relatively little. There are a few software tools for business, like the Video tool for buying videos online, or (most notably) AdSense, which allows you to monetize web traffic— to an extent. But with all this talk about a Google-born WebOS, what if we're looking in the wrong direction?

Google's beta products, too numerous to list here, make the beginnings of a powerful business suite. Google Analytics obviously provides great data. Google Base? Maybe there's something useful in there... But look at how Gmail and Google's Calendar app have begun working together. Using Google Pages, a busy secretary can easily make a web page. Or Blogger could allow a team to establish a quick way to share topical conversations. But the acquisition of Writely, and it's delay in migration, underscore a growing problem with Google: disconnection. One thing Microsoft has been working on for a decade now: integration. If Google can get their applications tied together more cohesively, they may yet make inroads into the office environment.

The Google workflow? I'll give an example. Mayor McCheez decides he wants to build a better web page for his company's product. He creates a "vision" page using Pages. Using his integrated Google Desktop, he schedules a meeting with the appropriate people, all of whom are on Gmail, and builds a blog (integrated into his Page) for discussion. During the week between his call and the actual meeting (which will be held using GTalk), he gathers data using Analytics, collects and sorts data using a Base-like tool and his online storage, Gdrive. He drafts a formal proposal using Writely, and again posts it online. During the meeting, everyone collaborates on the documentation, pulling images out of Picassa or data from online... There are lots of other possibilities, but you get the idea. There's a lot of fantasy in there, yet some workable tools already exist. Frankly, it'll be interesting to see what betas come out of Google next, if only to ponder what possible real business use they might have. Office on the web? It just might happen, and Google might be the one to get there...

Tags: opinion