Will Gmail snafus delay Google Apps Enterprise launch?

Almost three years, and perhaps millions of 'by invitation only' Gmail users, Google still labels Gmail a 'beta' product.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

“Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail” is how Google begins its “Welcome to Gmail” overview:

A Google approach to email. Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want. The key features are:

Search, don't sort,
Don't throw anything away,
Keep it all in context,
No pop-up ads. No untargeted banners.”

Google’s “approach to email” touts Gmail user features and storage, not “security.”

On April 14, 2004, Google announced:

it is testing a preview release of Gmail – a free search-based webmail service…Google will make the preview test version of Gmail available to a small number of email aficionados. With luck, Gmail will prove popular to them…

Almost three years, and perhaps millions of “by invitation only” Gmail users, Google still labels Gmail a “beta” product.

Google’s Gmail “beta” status was underscored last week with reports of security breaches.

Gmail is provided free of charge to consumers and it is still labeled a “beta” product. Google has big plans, however, for its “search-based webmail service,” and they are enterprise plans.

I had a rare inside look at Google’s enterprise strategy for 2007 last November; Gmail has a starring role, as I report and analyze in “Google: Who needs advertising?” and  "Google Enterprise strategy: ‘Death to the hierarchy.”

Google Apps for Your Domain Enterprise Edition is targeted for a launch in this first quarter of the year:

Google Apps for Your Domain offers private-labeled email, IM and calendar tools, so your organization can get things done more efficiently…and it's all hosted by Google.

The Google Enterprise sales pitch to organizations targets Microsoft, as I put forth in  “Google to Microsoft Office: Search box trumps folders”:

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.

I heard Michael Lock, Director of North American Sales for Google Enterprise, entertain about 200 corporate, not-for-profit and government technology decision makers at the NYC Googleplex with personal tales of how “you don’t put email in folders” to declare Gmail the victor over Outlook.

Lock spoke of the old (pre-Gmail) Outlook days when he would “look forward” to his transcontinental commutes for six hours of time to “categorize email.”

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. Lock proudly concluded that he has left behind hundreds of Outlook folders.

Google Apps for Your Domain Enterprise Edition will be a for fee service and it will target security conscious large businesses; Given the recent security snafus with the core Gmail product, the target Q1 launch date may not be realized.

ALSO: Microsoft, Google battle for the inbox

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