On the stage this afternoon at Google Atmosphere, the company welcomed to executives who clearly have an interest in cloud computing, among them Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff.
Benioff talked about change - specifically the move from Cloud 1 to Cloud 2. The idea is that the future is here now. Sure, there are those who still haven't jumped on board with the first round of cloud computing - but that won't slow the technology from evolving.
Case in point: ten years ago, the message around the cloud included things like "multi-tenant shared systems," terminology that tried to get people to understand what it was. Today, the talking points are centered around Facebook, mobile devices, real-time collaboration.
Think about how far we've come. A decade ago, computing involved mouse-clicking a desktop that was largely tied to a single location. Today, touch screen mobile phones and tablet PCs come equipped with wireless connections to the Internet and allow us to not only tap into some work e-mail but also interact with a network of friends, co-workers and family members via Facebook, Twitter and so on.
Salesforce, with a major upgrade expected later this year, is integrating social network type of tools into its cloud offerings. Why? Because that's what tomorrow's workforce and innovators - the kids who are in college (and younger) - are comfortable with. In some cases, kids today look at e-mail as their parents way of communicating online. And its effective at building on real-time collaboration - built on tools like IM and text messaging, which were adopted first by young people.
For a company like Salesforce, which is built on the idea of breaking away from traditional ways of doing business, the push into tomorrow's tools is almost a gimme. The message to the CIOs in the audience was simple: these tools help business because they keep everyone informed, in real-time. The sneak peek at what Salesforce is doing is impressive.
The social layer that will launch later this year will be automatically turned on.