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Google Apps No Microsoft Threat Yet

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Google debuted its Apps for Your Domain as a hosted communications option for domain owners, and it is being touted in some places as a gauntlet being tossed down in challenge to Microsoft.

The headlines say it, so it must be true. Google has taken the fight directly to Microsoft on the software front. Here are a trio of headlines sounding the call to arms:

Google to target software market, BBC News
Google plans new challenge to Microsoft, MarketWatch
Google takes aim at Microsoft with apps bundle, Houston Chronicle

Yes, the headline copywriters are having an absolute field day with Google Apps for Your Domain, a mostly communication-oriented bundling of services that can be branded and managed for a domain from a web-based administration interface. Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and the Google Page Creator comprise the free service.

This gives a domain owner a way to get a group of people connected with email and instant messaging, It offers a method of keeping track of what everyone is doing on a given day. For domains that lack a website, the Page Creator provides an easy way to place some pages online.

All of the parts of the Apps package work very well, and Gmail has been especially popular. The services all feature very clean designs that focus on utility and usability. About the closest Google gets to frills is the feed display appearing in Gmail that scrolls through various customizable news items.

For startups or established businesses that do not want to incur the cost of either a Microsoft Exchange and Outlook installation, or to pay for hosted services delivering that type of functionality, Google Apps can provide similar functionality for free.

Similar, but not equal. For Google Apps to really be a contender on the enterprise messaging side, even for a small company, Gmail needs a little tighter integration with Calendar than just the ability to add events from the Gmail inbox to it.

Google does have a few other pieces of the productivity suite puzzle available. The Writely word processor recently opened registration to anyone who is interested. Google’s Spreadsheets can do sorting and formulas, but not macros.

One part of Google’s announcement has made a lot of tech writers very excited, though. From the statement: “A premium version of the product is being developed for organizations with more advanced needs. More information, including details on pricing, will be available soon.”

In other words, stay tuned. Maybe the Microsoft Office competitor is just around the corner.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Google Apps No Microsoft Threat Yet
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