Google launches paid-for business software model

23 Feb 2007

Search giant Google has continued in its quest to trump Microsoft by introducing a paid-for version of its hosted business software for €38 a year. The company has already signed up major conglomerates Procter & Gamble and General Electric as customers.

Google, which is in the process of expanding its Irish headcount to 1,400, said that already 100,000 small businesses and hundreds of universities now use its business software.

Google last night introduced Google Apps Premier Edition, which will be available for US$50 (€38.11) per year and includes phone support, storage and a new set of administration and business integration capabilities.

Google Apps was launched as a free service last August and includes Gmail webmail services, Google Calendar, shared calendaring, Google Talk instant messaging and voice over IP and the Start Page feature for creating a customisable home page on a specified domain.

The company said that its Google Apps Standard Edition and Google Apps Education Edition will continue to be offered for free.

Google also revealed that it has forged a relationship with Procter & Gamble Global Business Services as a charter enterprise customer of Google Apps.

“Procter &Gamble will work closely with Google in shaping enterprise characteristics and requirements for these popular tools,” said Laurie Heltsley, director of Procter & Gamble Global Business Services.

As well as this, General Electric says it is evaluating Google Apps because of the easy access it provides as well as the ability to help people to work together through the internet. “So much of business now relies on people being able to communicate and collaborate effectively,” said Gregory Simpson, CTO for General Electric.

Google revealed that all editions of Google Applications now include Google Docs & Spreadsheets and support Gmail for mobile on BlackBerry devices.

“Businesses are looking for applications that are simple and intuitive for employees but also offer the security, reliability and manageability their organisations require,” said Dave Girouard, vice-president and general manager, Google Enterprise.

“With Google Apps, our customers can tap into an unprecedented stream of technology and innovation at a fraction of the cost of traditional installed solutions,” Girouard said.

By John Kennedy