Today Google introduced a new service called Google Message Continuity, which Microsoft must be incredibly thrilled about. The service, powered by Postini, is described as a way to bring "Gmail's reliability to Microsoft Exchange".
"If you run Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007, Google Message Continuity is a new email continuity service that can help you ensure that your users never lose access to email during a Microsoft Exchange outage, whether planned or unplanned," explains Google Enterprise Product Manager Matthew O'Connor. "By synchronizing your on-premises accounts with Google’s cloud, Google Message Continuity gives you access to your up-to-date email inboxes (through the Gmail interface) no matter what happens to your on-premises servers. And once your servers come back up after an outage, messages sent and received, plus message state changes (like deletions and folder assignments) that are recorded by Google Message Continuity during the outage, are then synchronized with your servers, allowing users to seamlessly transition from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail, then back to Microsoft Exchange.
The company also describes the service as a way to help provide a "smooth bridge to the cloud" for organizations, an effort the company is strongly hoping will also be helped with the release of Chrome OS next year. The company finally unveiled its new web-based operating system this week, and has already started shipping test models for a Pilot Program, with Acer and Samsung offering consumer models next year.
The company played up the operating system for enterprise use heavily in its presentation, citing security and convenience for system administrators as big selling points. Given that the entire operating system is cloud-based, you can see the company's real intentions. Combine that with Google expanding Google Apps to include most of its products, and it all adds up to a huge push to get businesses using Google Apps over competitors (like Microsoft).
Last month Google launched another "bridge to the cloud" (at least for some early testers) with Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office.
Google Message Continuity costs $25 per user per year for new customers or an additional $13 per user per year for current Postini customers.