Thursday, July 05, 2007

Will Business users ever adopt Google's phone and web apps?

Google recently purchased unified-telephone service provider Grand Central for an awful lot of money. Grand Central allows users to take all of their phone #s and centralize them in one place, with one unified number. Grand Central offers a ton of features, including the ability to view voicemails as text on the web, to playback voicemails on the web, to customize greetings, ringback tones and much, much more from the control panel, which is now run by Google. It's in beta.

Google buys companies and then incorporates their services into their own free services as part of their advertising-supported ecosystem. They recently did this with Feedburner, who used to offer a "Pro" package of stats about your blog, for a nominal fee. Now that Google's in the house, everything is free.

Google offers free web-based word processing, spreadsheet, presentations and calendar apps. Right now it seems unlikely that many businesses will use that as their core business apps standard, but Google is betting they will at some point. Of course, Gmail is free and along with all the other apps, they can give Microsoft Office a run for the money, functionally. Plus, all work is saved on the web, accessible from anywhere you can log in.

Let's hypothesize a bit: say 20% of small businesses starting using Google Apps instead of MS Office. The primary reason may be to save money on MS licensing fees. They then would be very likely to use a telecom app from Google for the very same reason: not only will it be free, but also it will be integrated with the web apps they use. Address books will be shared, Voicemails and Emails together in one place.

It seems that if 20% of small businesses adopt the Google software-as-a-service model, eventually, mid-sized and even some larger sized companies may do the same, once they trust the security of the concept. Google's betting that if one of its' services is tried, it will only attract users and businesses to its' other services.

Did I forget to mention that Google has long been rumored to offer free wifi access? Can VoIP services ala Skype be far behind?

We've added a new poll asking "Will Businesses Ever Use Google Apps?". The poll is located in the sidebar, on the right ------>

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