Google to Microsoft Office: Search box trumps folders

Google CEO Eric Schmidt may publicly claim Google Apps are not designed as a 'replacement for (Microsoft) Office,' but in the go-to-market trenches, Google Enterprise is calling for nothing less than 'Death to the (Microsoft) hierarchy!'

Google CEO Eric Schmidt may publicly claim Google Apps are not designed as a “replacement for (Microsoft) Office,” but in the go-to-market trenches, Google Enterprise is calling for nothing less than “Death to the (Microsoft) hierarchy!”

A top Google Enterprise exec regaled NYC corporate technology buyers yesterday with amusing road warrior tales of how GMail trumps Outlook to conclude with the Google Enterprise sales call to action: “You don’t put email in folders!”

As I report in “Google Enterprise strategy: ‘Death to the hierarchy’” Michael Lock, Director of North American Sales for Google Enterprise, made the Google Enterprise case at Google NYC headquarters, it is an anti-Microsoft case. 

Schmidt told the Web 2.0 conference audience last week, however, that Google does not view its office productivity applications “as a replacement of Office,” as cited by PC Magazine:

The argument goes like this: For many people, it would be just as easy to have the computer in the cloud store the information that you use everyday. Furthermore, if you have that model, it should enable very rapid sharing so we embarked on a strategy more than a year ago to build applications that are focused on sharing and collaboration. The sum of that is a different way of managing information and we don't position it as an office suite. We position it as something you'd use everyday in everyday life…

We don't see it as a replacement of Office. The focus we have is not the focus they (Microsoft) have. Our focus is on casual sharing and casual collaboration.

Schmidt’s public facing “we (Google and Microsoft) can all get along” stance contrasts starkly with Google Enterprise’s behind the scenes “we’re (Google) better than them (Microsoft)” pitch.

Google is not simply making an enterprise case for why Google applications in the cloud are better then Microsoft applications on the desktop. Google is on an all-out enterprise mission to displace the Microsoft folder dynasty with the Google search box, as I put forth in “Google Enterprise strategy: ‘Death to the hierarchy’”:

Given the “explosion” of unstructured data in the enterprise, “old methods of information management don’t work,” Lock asserted. He also offered a remedy:  “Death to the hierarchy!”

Lock entertainingly, but pointedly, emphasized that Google solutions do not demand what he portrayed as labor intensive and inadequate user categorization via hierarchical folder structures. Lock then used his own GMail account to illustrate what he believes is the superiority of implicit organization via a single, intuitive search box.

I asked Lock for a projection of when Google will succeed in bringing “Death to the hierarchy,” but no specific date for an absolute demise of the "hierarchy" was provided.

Google’s approach to the enterprise is simple: The Google single box, search interface is the answer, the only answer.

Lock proudly told NYC Google Enterprise prospective clients that thanks to Google, he has liberated himself from hierarchical categorization demands and has shed hundreds of Microsoft folders.

Google now claims more than 5000 enterprise clients. Google has a dedicated team of 250 focusing on persuading thousands more to free themselves from hierarchical categorization by ridding their organizations of Microsoft folders.

ALSO: "Google to Microsoft: Wolf in sheep's clothing?"