Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who "get it"

Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who "get it"

Summary: Google users are taking a cue from the Mac elite by adopting new technologies and proving that they "get it" when it comes to being open-minded about the power of something new.


There's a certain amount of arrogance that emits from Mac owners, those of us whose smug attitudes toward Windows users seems to just scream "I think I'm better than you." But I can honestly say that, as one of those obnoxious Mac guys, I don't think that we're better than Windows users. We just tend to "get it" a bit more.

OK, that sounds arrogant, too - but I'm not trying be that way about it. I've talked to many folks who've switched from Windows to the Mac and they all seem to say the same things - that the computing experience is superior and that they finally have come to the realization that many of us have known all along.

I don't write this to spark some sort of Apple-Microsoft debate. Instead, I bring this up as a way of illustrating how the tide seems to be shifting - evolving to the next stage of the debate between those who "get it' and those who don't. Apple fans still get it - and increasingly Google fans are right there with them.

Specifically, I'm talking about e-mail.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how Google was bent out of shape over a the e-mail contract for the state of California. The company didn't actually submit a formal bid for the state's business because it felt that the requirements of a new e-mail system were written specifically for Microsoft products. One of the highlighted examples was the state's requirement to be able to "sort" for e-mails.

Google cried foul and explained that its user interface didn't allow for sorting but instead used search technology to find messages - and then went into a rant about how search was a better way to find important messages within the inbox. In the end, the state refused to change the language for more than 100 different requirements and Google, feeling that it didn't stand a fair chance at winning the state's business, chose to not submit a formal bid.

You see, the state government of California doesn't "get it." It is stuck with a 1990s mindset, as it relates to e-mail. Sure, there are some legitimate reasons for California - or any local, state or federal government agency - to have concerns about security. We've been through that debate practically a million times already. But this particular argument has little to do with security concerns. This has more to do with people - in this case, state employees - resisting something new, an approach to email that might allow them to work more efficiently and increase productivity if they just gave it a chance.

Google Apps - the cloud-based e-mail and productivity software suite - has gained some ground with business customers. But it also has seen some potential customers - notably, the state of California - stay out of reach over the "get it" factor. Last week, I had a conversation with Michael Cohn, co-founder of Cloud Sherpas, one of the biggest Google Apps resellers in the country. The company finds itself on the front lines daily, helping business customers to understand and integrate Google Apps into their operations.

I talked to Cohn about the "get it" factor and he shared some of his own anecdotes about those who approach them with a strong understanding of the Google suite - largely because of their own personal experiences with GMail and Google Docs - and potential customers who are still kicking the tires. Those folks have heard about the cost savings by going with Google but still have some concerns.

What about those who are hung up on the ability to sort versus the search functionality offered within GMail? Cohn didn't hesitate with his response: "We just say thank you... We don't waste our time trying to win those guys over."

Why not? Because they don't "get it" yet.

Here at CBS Interactive, the parent company of ZDNet, we've recently switched to Google from Exchange, and I've encountered some resistance among colleagues on things such as threaded e-mails, no folders and, of course, the inability to sort messages.

Cohn explained that, with some companies, his team will survey a company's employees before deployment on how many of them are existing Gmail users as a way of gauging their comfort with the Gmail user interface. In a lot of companies, it's the executives and decision-makers, not the employees, who resist the change. The employees of some companies - especially those running older systems - are quick to welcome the change.

For some time now, I've been squawking about the inefficiency of e-mail and how products like Google Wave - a multi-faceted communications and collaboration platform that Google launched last year but killed earlier this month - are pushing us into a better way. Wave, which had a big learning curve, never got off the ground with user adoption. But Gmail, which has evolved as the company has rolled out small features one at a time, does have that user base.

Over time, Gmail users have come to appreciate the freedom of labels over the limited use of folders, archiving messages over deleting them and, of course, search over sort. It doesn't happen overnight - but eventually, they "get it."

Topics: Cloud, Browser, Collaboration, Google

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  • ZDNet editors are starting to not 'get it'

    • Larry and Sam really DO get it and are some top notch journalist.

      They do not pray to the Microsoft god though, nor anybody's god for that matter.
      • Fascinating. In this day and age when the majority of

        people understand that if a product is not well suited for their needs, the vendors and those who's lives will not be impacted by a bad decision assume it is they "who get-it", and not the end customer.

        it is quite obvious that "Larry and Sam" do not get it. Should Google Apps fail the end customer, how much of "Larry and Sam's" money is lost? None would be the logical assumption.

        In this case, Google does not get it either.
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

        Excuse me, pay to Microsoft? What do you call this, Apple and Google evangilism?

        Don't get me wrong I'm using a Mac since college what in my case means 20 year. My choice was the one of a free thinker at the time, what also resulting me moving to Mac for work about 8 years ago. However, what is described here is the typical arrogance of some one that does not get it.

        I use a computer for productivity to get stuff done, Apple is the only company that has chosen to turn on their users. With a closed platform and punishment associated. The same is true for Google, they have been using Open Source and contribute very little back, especially on the mobile platform.

        Both of these companies are doing this worse then Microsoft ever did. That is also the reason I have done a complete switch to Linux as it is obvious to me that Apple and Google don't get it!
      • Funny


        I'm now moving my 3rd client that I configured on Google Apps to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. And unlike you, I'll give reasons why it's not only better, but the reason the people are willing to pay more for it.

        1) Support. BPOS offers excellent support. I opened a ticket online on Monday, a very minor issue dealing with granting full mailbox permissions for one account to another user. Within 45 minutes someone was on the phone and had informed me you can now install the Online Services Powershell and use all your familiar Exchange commands to configure permissions, SendAs, etc etc, right from the local powershell without even involving support. How awesome is that? How would you grant full permissions to a mailbox on Gmail to another user? Believe it or not, a very important feature for many users.

        2) Mail sync. Many people still want to use Outlook over the Gmail web interface. They may even want to use those in conjunction. If you setup GMail in Outlook using IMAP and you delete a message in Outlook, it comes right back the next time you sync. And yes, I want to DELETE e-mails, not just ignore them.

        3) Sort. Yes, Outlook has a very, very robust search feature, as does Outlook Web App, but that is in addition to sorting mail. This is a very important feature. Many users aren't interested in adapting to search despite my best efforts.

        4) SharePoint Online. Sorry, Google's document system is absolutely terrible when compared to Office + SharePoint. Is it more expensive? Much, much more expensive. But when someone is willing to spend $270 on software + more on the subscription, Microsoft is doing something right.

        Oh, one other thing. If Google is going to try to position themselves as a "business solution provider" as an alternative to Microsoft with Exchange/SharePoint, maybe they should work on their error messages. I installed the Google Apps shortcuts on a desktop and hadn't yet installed Chrome. I double clicked the shortcut and guess what happened? An error popped up, which I'm okay with, it was the actual text of the message I had a severe issue with. The error title was "Aww Snap!" with the text in the message stating, "You don't have Chrome installed." What self respecting business is going to use "Aww Snap!" as an error message? What the f@$%! Google?
    • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

      I tide fashion

      Good-looking, not expensive
    • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

      Interesting reading at the moment from Neuromarketing :" Revealed: How Steve Jobs Turns Customers into Fanatics " .
    • Surefire lures and hooks - he got it

      [i]ZDNet editors are starting to not 'get it'[/i]

      Actually with all the surefire lures and hooks laced within, and beyond the grins they elicited, I thought it was a pretty read. After all, even the author admits the socialist republic of Cali doesn't "get it" (and let me add, in more ways than one).

      As for Googs, I still like their basic search portal | approach more than anything else they've produced (and they produce a number of interesting things, that is, when they're not busy eavesdropping on every nook and cranny of Terra Mater).
  • TROLLS !!!!

    bwa ha ha ha ha

    Good one. The only thing you get with Google is monetized.
    • Don't forget to mention


      Privacy issues ;)

      "Do No Evil" - Biggest load of bull I have ever heard.

      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

        I am a firm believer that Google IS evil.
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who


        I'm sorry to say I agree.

        Google should have stayed with search instead of 'embrace, extend, extinguish'.
  • Man, do you not get it.

    "Most Mac users don't know the specifications of their computers !!!"

    Wow, way to prove larry's point. That's just it, it's not about the spec's, it's about the user experience. It's about people not trying new things because of familiarity of the old, not because the old works better. Many of these people just don't "get it". There are better ways out there if people would just open their minds to them.
    A Grain of Salt
    • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

      @A Grain of Salt
      No you don't get it yourself it is not about knowing the specs for the sake of it, it is about the fact that people should know some basic informations about their machine and start to learn how stuffs work so they can in the end make informed decisions....
      The author confounds fanboyism with elitism which is a typical Mac user behaviour ! The so-called user experience is more of a marketing term than anything else , I am an avid user of Google products but I will never trash myself down in fanboyism . Google represents a real danger to the software companies and to the end-users themselves in particular. The monopoly it is building is really threatening but MR fanboy can not see this ...
      Maybe he can tell us what part people DID GET WELL when they joined Google Wave ???
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

        >The author confounds fanboyism with elitism which is a typical
        >Mac user behaviour

        1) I didn't quite get it which one is typical behaviour: fanboyism or elitism?
        2) Just out of curiosity, could you provide a link to dependable research which proves that fanboyism/elitism is a typical Mac user behaviour, thanks.
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

        @Vonbrucken I could give a rat's petuty about the gauge wire used in my toaster or how many amps it uses. Neither do I care to know the load of the motor in my refrigerator. I don't need to know any specs about my 'computer'. It is a toaster, an appliance. I only need to know that it works. Of the tens of millions of computers being used daily in the US do you think that more than one in tens of thousands has a clue what RAM is? The speed of their hard drive? Data transfer rates? They are ubiquitous. Toasters. Does it work? Does it do the job I bought it for? Specs? Give me a break and come into the consumer world of the 21st century.
      • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

        @Vonbrucken I actually agree with you Vonbrucken... The concept of computer users needing to better understand the products (hardware and software) they are using is really important--that's how people like the lawyer suing over "zombie cookies" are able to create sensationalist scares over internet privacy. Just because you can turn a computer on and open a browser window, does not mean you know how your machine, much less the internet, works.
    • Vonbrucken: They just need a computer that works and is easy to use. They

      do not need to know how much memory or which processor, or the speed of the processor. <br><br>YOU do not get it at all.
      • That is the most illogical response I have seen this day.

        It would be safe to assume that out of many people here, you do not get it at all.

        One has to understand what they have if they are to know how to use it correctlly, and to it's maximum potential, otherwise they may purchase a substandard netbook with ChromeOS, expecting it to run the software they need to complete their tasks.
        Tim Cook
    • RE: Google fans are the new Mac elite, the users who

      @Donnieboy [i]They do not need to know how much memory or which processor, or the speed of the processor.[/i]

      Until something they want to install says "Requires [i]n[/i] amount of [i]x[/i]". But no.. you're right, they don't actually need to know that. They could look it up online, as a "Genius"... etc.. etc.. I suppose Knowledge isn't power anymore, right?