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Small.biz flocks to Google Apps

Some biggies, too

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Interop Rapid innovation, not big R&D dollars, is driving adoption of Google apps at 1,500 new small-to-medium business customer sites per day and a few big companies such as Proctor & Gamble and GE.

That's the message from Matthew Glotzbach, head of products at Google Enterprise, who during his Interop keynote ignored the existence of Microsoft Office Live Services. Instead he pointed to more than 100 new features added to his company's business software services since they debuted in February.

On Tuesday, Google added its latest new feature -- Gmail's support for IMAP – which allows business customers to use Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird or Mac Mail as the front end to their Gmail mailbox on the cloud, Glotzbach said.

Such rapid innovation – and its partnerships with Cap Gemini and others – is accelerating the rate of adoption and acceptance of Google applications in business settings as a successor to – and not replacement for – Microsoft Office, he said.

"We don't think of it as much as we can replace Office or Microsoft and do what they did. The game is changing and the current set of productivity tools are really built around personal productivity. The game has really changed," Glotzbach replied, when asked about Google's much ballyhooed battle to wrest control of Microsoft's monopoly on the business applications market.

"We've moved to a network world where everything is online all the time and it's a huge advantage," he said. "It's not as much about how we beat Microsoft and replace office with this. It's more about where organizations want to go in collaborative, connected environment. Google apps are there today."

In addition to IMAP support to Gmail, Google also recently announced new features to its Google Analytics web service, including site search reporting and event tracking.

Seems like the big bucks could be helping a bit: Google reported $4.2bn in revenues for its last quarter ended September 30. ®

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