In the battle to get enterprise customers to switch to Gmail and the Google Apps software suite, Google has to meet higher expectations than existing business software vendors. While that might be unfair, it's their cross to bear for being such a powerhouse on the consumer Web and for all the high-profile media coverage the company receives.
Stories by C.G. Lynch
During the past year, many IT departments came to a grim conclusion: corporate intranets had become irrelevant and useless. In an attempt to depart from boring phone directories and web-pages that only IT could update, we saw an uptick in the corporate adoption of web-based social software such as wikis, blogs and social networking profiles, all brought in to make intranets better by empowering employees to contribute user generated content.
Gmail, Google's free consumer e-mail, added a unique new feature to the service Monday: Mail Goggles, which gives you the ability to double check whether you are really sure you want to send an e-mail message, particularly late at night. But the feature might also help business users of enterprise Gmail make better decisions about sending out vindictive or hastily-composed emails to co-workers.
The redesign of Facebook (now commonly known as the New Facebook) has been met with negative reviews from users and the mainstream press that have reported their grievances. There was even a sizable Facebook Group who petitioned the company to revert back to the Old Facebook (an exercise in futility, as the changes recently became permanent).
For all the talk of businesses embracing Web 2.0 and social software tools, most companies are still at the very early stages of adoption, says Jonathan Yarmis, an analyst at AMR Research who focuses on emerging technologies. In his latest research note on companies taking their first step into social media, he says that companies must avoid the "Kumbaya Zone" - the place where social media is ultimately a time-waster and has little business value.
IBM announced the opening of its Center for Social Software Wednesday, in a move Big Blue hopes will bring more of its Web 2.0 offerings to the enterprise and allow the vendor to solicit and exchange ideas with members of the business, technology and academic communities.
Facebook, since its mistakes with the Beacon advertising incident, has rolled out one of the most robust security systems for any social network, which allows users to control who sees what information about them with great specificity. Take a look at Facebook's privacy features and how to set yours.
The redesign of Facebook, which became permanent last week, has received some harsh reviews from the social network's users. But according to reports, one of the main objectives of the "new Facebook" was to improve users' privacy and security settings. Because the social network did this very well, people will remain loyal to the service over time.
As Google turned 10 this week, and the release of its Chrome web-browser gained generally favorable reviews, some began begging the question: has google spread itself too thin? Should a company that has made search and advertising its bread and butter product really be trying so hard compete with the likes of IBM and Microsoft in the enterprise computing space?
After spending last Thursday at the Office 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, I came to the conclusion it's time to move on from all things 2.0. Let's surrender enterprise 2.0, office 2.0, and maybe even Web 2.0 to the marketing, PR folks and journalists (present company included) who eviscerated and overused the terms, and let's work up a more honest term that describes these technologies more precisely.
Earlier this month, Gmail, the popular e-mail service provided by Google, experienced a service outage that left some users without their e-mail for 24 hours. Some of the users who were affected Aug. 15 included customers of Google Apps, Google's software as a service (SaaS) suite that includes Gmail, calendar, documents & spreadsheets, instant messaging and wikis.
As Wikipedia grew in popularity, becoming the eighth most visited site on the Web, many companies decided to purchase and build wikis internally to help enable better communication, knowledge sharing, collaboration and project management between employees.
Twitter, the microblogging service that allows users to post short status messages about themselves for people "following" them, has found its way onto the Web browsers and mobile phones of tech geeks all around the world. While I'm a fan and user of the service, I've come to believe there is very little chance it will catch on with a mainstream audience as a standalone application.
The rapid adoption of software as a service is fundamentally changing the makeup of today's IT departments.
Here's an interesting strategy for a new software company: create applications that place you squarely in the competitive sights of Google and Microsoft, bypass venture capital funding, and rebuff an acquisition offer from Salesforce.com, the surging software as a service (SaaS) company that delivers its products over the Web.