Can Postini legitimize Google's enterprise ambitions?

Summary:Google has been thundering into the SaaS space with their broadening "application-of-the-day" suite. Google has portrayed themselves as a productivity suite contender in the enterprise space, which supports today's announced plan to acquire messaging security provider Postini.

Google has been thundering into the SaaS space with their broadening "application-of-the-day" suite. Google has portrayed themselves as a productivity suite contender in the enterprise space, which supports today's announced plan to acquire messaging security provider Postini. However, they face a Mount Everest-like uphill climb. Google needs to shed their pure-play consumer image, in favor of a provider for consumer and enterprise services. As my ZDNet colleagues, Dan Farber and Larry Dignan, point out in their post today:

With Postini, as well as its recent partnership with Salesforce, it’s clear that Google sees itself as an on-demand enterprise applications provider. The big question is whether enterprises will see Google that way.

Google's venture into the enterprise space is further burdened by highly publicized privacy issues. In 2004, Gartner was one of the first to raise privacy concerns when Google released Gmail.  In 2007 alone, Google has completed 11 acquisitions, plus two more that are pending. Each acquired company carries its own privacy baggage. For example, Google's StreetView infringed on the privacy of Monty the cat. Last week's report from watchdog Privacy International assigned Google its lowest possible grade. While Monty may have enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, enterprises can't afford any privacy infringements. What concerns me is the lack of a privacy policy on Google apps enterprise pages (though the policy could be part of their enterprise Premier "terms of service").  I do hope that Google clarifies their enterprise apps privacy policy in plain view on their site.

Google's enterprise ambitions are well served with the Postini acquisition -- and Google will ultimately leverage much of the Postini technology to manage many of the applications in their enterprise -- and consumer portfolios.

Topics: Google

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