Google's campaign for Apps doesn't address the IT data elephant in the room

Summary:Updated: Google has launched a "Go Google" marketing push for Google Apps touting cost savings and recruiting users to spread the word. The campaign---modeled after Mozilla's Firefox marketing efforts---makes sense for browsers, but for skeptical IT buyers, Google drops the ball.

Updated: Google has launched a "Go Google" marketing push for Google Apps touting cost savings and recruiting users to spread the word. The campaign---modeled after Mozilla's Firefox marketing efforts---makes sense for browsers, but for skeptical IT buyers, Google drops the ball.

Why?

Google's campaign touts how more than 1.75 million businesses are switching to Google Apps. Google correctly targets the Exchange market. The pitch (Techmeme, Google announcement):

It's all hosted by Google, and designed with security and reliability in mind, saving your company the frustrations and hassles of managing traditional IT solutions yourself.

Well that's the problem. In fact, nothing in Google's marketing toolbox---the viral emails, the YouTube videos and the posters you can plaster near the water cooler---are going to change fact that your corporate data is hosted by Google. If Google really wants to entice the enterprise it should have skipped the YouTube videos and allowed companies to store some of their own data.

Oh sure, you can mock the concerns about Google hosting corporate data as overblown. But IT leaders don't have that luxury. Other companies such as Zoho already realize this and allow you to store your own data if you choose.

BusinessWeek recently addressed the corporate data concerns. GE is testing Google Apps, but also Zoho. Why the latter? Zoho allows you to host your data too. If you're in a heavily regulated industry you're not going to be emailing Google's helpdesk trying to track a 2006 email to satisfy a Sarbanes-Oxley requirement.

Microsoft is going to take those compliance worries and inability to store corporate data on premise and beat Google over the head with it. At Microsoft's investor meeting Kevin Turner, the software giant's chief operating officer, said:

Customers don't want 100 percent of every piece of data for every application managed in the Cloud. They simply don't. For some users, for some applications, for some competitive reasons or privacy reasons or security reasons, they want to control that and manage it.

Turner then touted moviemaker Lion's Gate, which tried Google Apps and then bailed. Turner said:

I know of a company that I personally visited called Lion's Gate, the film company, and we went in there. And Google had a big trial and they were rolling it out, and they were unhappy with the security issues, the privacy issues and the performance issues that you continue to read about in the press. In fact, that's one of my favorite ways to compete against this particular product. It's just go out on the Web and pull down the outages, the security issues and the privacy issues for the past 18 months and print them out, and you staple it. And it's about this thick. And you hand it to a CIO and say, "Let's go through this and really understand what you are getting into." And so it's an incredible opportunity for us, again, to get very competitive and to really compete to win in that particular space.

This trench warfare will continue, but Google could thwart much of Microsoft's pitch if it allowed companies to store some of their own data. No one wants to be all cloud all the time.

Overall though, Google's campaign has some interesting quirks. The email to your resident CIO is comical---especially since it opens up in Outlook.

However, these posters are annoying.

The CIO's reply to that poster will be: You need to get a clue about security, privacy and compliance. Simply put, nothing Google has addresses the security, support and compliance worries that IT leaders have to worry about. "Trust us" won't work. You need to be able to store your own data.

Also see:

Topics: Google, Cloud, Collaboration

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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