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Google needs to be more transparent about users of and usage of Google Apps in enterprises

by Tom Austin  |  January 23, 2009  |  Comments Off on Google needs to be more transparent about users of and usage of Google Apps in enterprises

Michael Arrington on TechCrunch just published a piece on Google cutting back on the number of free user accounts an enterprise can have, dropping the number of people within an enterprise that can be signed up for Google Apps Standard Edition from 200 to 50.

It’s not clear what the business implications – for Google or users of Google Apps – really is. We believe that at least 90 percent of Google Apps users in enterprises are using the truly free version, the one that doesn’t tie to your enterprise domain.

If we take Google’s numbers at face value, i.e., a million businesses and more than 10 million users, and begin to poke at them, it’s not clear what’s impacted here. Roughly half the businesses in the US are sole proprietorships and tiny firms with just a handful of people. They’re not impacted by this move. What no one (except Google) knows (and they might not have good demographics on casual users who use Google Docs at  google.com instead of at mydomain.com) is how many enterprises with more than 50 users have signed their users up for Google Apps Standard Edition. (And how many with more than 500 users, 1000 users and so forth.)

Google Docs have been around for more than two years now. Just how many enterprises with hundreds or thousands of users have standardized on gmail and Google Docs?

Google isn’t saying. They’re not being transparent . All of which either hurts them – because people want to know before investing; or it hides a weakness – if too few enterprise users are really using the product. The average enterprise IT shop is not naive. Trotting out Genentech over and over again isn’t enough.

If Google can’t provide a lot more data to establish their credibility in the enterprise space, enterprises won’t take them seriously.

What’s your take on Google Apps?

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Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio




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