Google is taking one of its biggest steps to showcase the power of a trend known as the "consumerization of IT."
Today, the company will begin unlocking more than 60 applications for its Google Apps customers. These apps, however, aren't new. They are the same ones that consumers with Google accounts have been using for years - apps like Google Voice, Blogger, Picasa and Google Reader.
Of course, like any other app that runs through the Google Apps suites for business customers, Google simply unlocks the apps while IT administrators hold the key to activating them on employee accounts.
The company said that the unlocking of existing apps for business customers was the result of feedback on a site called Product Ideas, where the company solicits feedback from users on what they would like to see added to the suite. The overwhelming demand for existing consumer tools to be added to the corporate offerings is a testament to the popularity of the services.
The company also renamed the four offerings of its Apps suite.
- The Standard Edition, the free service targeted at entrepreneurs and groups with up to 50 users, has been renamed Google Apps.
- The Premier Edition, which offers 25 GB of email storage and other tools and features for $50 per user per year, has been renamed Google Apps for Business.
- The Government Edition, a FISMA-certified version targeted at local, state and federal agencies, has been renamed Google Apps for Government.
- The Education Edition, a free version for schools, universities and non-profits, has been renamed Google Apps for Education.