When you think about all of the market segments that Google has its hand in - mobile, operating systems, browsers, and, of course, search and advertising - the push into the enterprise has to be one of those that gets a consistent amount of attention from the executive offices.
The company regularly makes efforts to chip away at the barriers that large enterprises might be facing in deciding whether or not to "Go Google." Just in the past few months, Google has added a free cloud backup service, launched a major update to Google Docs intended to bridge the gap between Docs and Microsoft Office and rolled out Google Apps Marketplace, a place for companies to “discover, buy and install” third-party business apps.
Today, during the opening keynote at Google I/O, the company ups the stakes again with two announcements. The first is the introduction of Google App Engine for Business, an offering targeted at business customers to allow them to build their own custom apps for Google's cloud infrastructure. The second is a partnership with VMware that allows enterprise customers to build cloud apps and then, through cloud portablity, choose where their apps will run.
The VMware partnership is especially interesting because it leverages what it means to be open. The partnership is meant to give businesses increased flexibility while also freeing the apps. From a post on the company's enterprise blog:
...we’re working with VMware, an industry leader in virtualization, to make it easy and fast to build apps and deploy them to either Google App Engine for Business, a VMware environment (your vSphere infrastructure, your choice of vCloud partners, or VMforce), or other infrastructure such as Amazon EC2. VMware’s SpringSource Tool Suite and Spring Roo now provide an integrated development experience with Google Web Toolkit and Speed Tracer, enabling enterprise Java developers to quickly build rich web applications, including new data presentation widgets that run on all devices, from phones to tablets to desktops. By enabling portability between on-premise and multiple cloud environments, we’re giving our customers more choice in how and where they run their apps, and making it easier for enterprises to embrace cloud technology.
The other part of the announcement is also a push forward because it allows developers the freedom to build custom apps and determine where those apps will run. Increasingly, as businesses look to spread their wings and try new things in the data center, the IT department and the cloud, that sort of flexibility - to build and buy and sell and move - is something that is sure to catch the attention of companies and developers and maybe make them think twice about the Google option.