Could Google usurp Java frameworks for enterprise developers?

Google's enterprise ambitions with Google Docs and Gmail are well known, but the company also has the potential to land enterprise software developers going forward with hybrid cloud apps, according to a Forrester Research report.

Google's enterprise ambitions with Google Docs and Gmail are well known, but the company also has the potential to land enterprise software developers going forward, according to a Forrester Research report.

In a report, Jeffrey Hammond says that as open source gains in corporate IT, Google stands to dramatically benefit. The search giant could benefit so much that its open source "mall" app model could land a bevy of developers looking to exploit Web standards like HTML 5.

Hammond's bottom line goes like this:

Google has an application platform built for and of the Internet, and it is “good enough” for many apps that developers build today. Although Google has a lot to learn about serving enterprises, expect Java developers to gravitate toward Google’s mall as a path to the cloud.

Why the mall analogy? At a mall, tenants tap into common infrastructure and there's room for partners of all sizes. Eclipse and Apache are among the best known open source software malls. However, Google is building a lot of stuff for its own mall, according to Hammond, who made a similar argument in May. To wit:

  • Google is doing everything it can to make HTML 5 a cross browser platform.
  • Google is developing a software vendor network to push HTML 5. That task will be easier if Chrome gains ground (currently with 7 percent market share in the enterprise).
  • Google has an app store for Chrome that will be technology neutral and invite mixed source developers.
  • Google is likely to expand its Google Web Toolkit to other frameworks.

Meanwhile, all of these parts will connect to an alternative Java server platform. Google is focused on lean apps and hybrid on-premise/cloud deployments. Hammond argues that Google will partner with VMware's SpringSource to target enterprise Java developers. And it's already happening: A joint Google-SpringSource project called SpringRoo aims to build rich browser apps.

Add it up and Google's App Engine with some help from VMware could enable hybrid cloud apps. Today, these partners will just take the data center.

Hammond argues that all of these back-end efforts should pay off for one sole reason. The user already knows Google via search, Android and consumer/corporate services like Gmail.

Hammond writes:

If you’ve been in the enterprise IT space for any length of time, Google’s strategy should feel familiar to you; it’s right out of Microsoft’s playbook. As Google appeals to individual users, it opens up a pathway into enterprise IT budgets. And Google has a much stronger opportunity to win over individuals than Microsoft did in the ’80s, because today the Internet’s ubiquity makes it easier to provision software and services with minimal expense and at the same time gather information about users and adoption.

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