Who puts in a 9-5 day anymore? Or works on their own? The demands on our time are multiplying, information is increasing exponentially, and there are still only 24 hours in a day. So when you go to work, you don’t want to step back 15 years and use outdated tools that slow you down.
With Google Apps we want to free you from the weight of technology and help you work smarter. We want to help you better manage your time, find new ways to discover and share knowledge within your business, and collaborate with others more effectively.
We’re pursuing those goals by focusing on three areas: cloud, mobile and social. As 2011 draws to a close, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on our plans for each in the year ahead.
Cloud: The movement of computing to the web is inevitable and will only accelerate in 2012 as many large businesses join Fortune 500 companies like Guardian Life, MeadWestvaco, and Sanmina-SCI in the cloud. We also expect that 2012 will be a huge year in the cloud for small businesses, which represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers, yet only 10% of SMBs have deployed cloud technologies.
Our computing experience is designed for today’s world and built with entirely modern technologies far more powerful than the PC -- from apps to browser to OS to device -- to benefit businesses of all sizes. Our 100% web focus lets us innovate faster while delivering best-in-class reliability, security and support. In 2011 alone, we added more than 175 new features to Google Apps, while still delivering 99.99% reliability in Gmail.
Going forward, we’ll further integrate the products in the Apps suite to make the experience more seamless, and we’ll accelerate our efforts to make them even faster and more responsive. Our cloud services are another important area of investment, and they will make it easier for you to build scalable web apps and draw trends from huge amounts of data to make better informed decisions. More than 400,000 active applications already run on App Engine, an increase of more than 70% in the last year alone.
Mobile: Increasing numbers of employees are bringing personal devices to work, and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all enterprise mobile plan. Forrester Research predicts that in 2012 more than 77% of organizations will support Android and iOS devices.* Looking at our own customers, more than 90% of Google Apps for Business users have deployed or are interested in using Android devices in their organization, and for good reason; Android version 4.0, called Ice Cream Sandwich, includes powerful enterprise features such as on-device encryption, VPN and Global Address List (GAL) support.
Managing all of these new devices can be very costly. But the cloud democratizes expensive enterprise software, making it affordable and easy to use for businesses of all sizes. We’ve integrated web-based mobile device management capabilities into Google Apps and recently introduced new features to help you grapple with growing mobile demands.
The best thing about mobile devices is fast and intuitive applications. Our ‘mobile-first’ strategy means our apps will work first and best across different mobile platforms and allow you to be productive from anywhere. Last year we improved our Gmail mobile web app, brought a Gmail app to iOS, introduced a Docs app for Android phones and tablets, and there’s more to come. We’ll continue to invest heavily in mobile and soon you’ll see the products you love work even better on your smartphones and tablets. Beyond our own apps, we foresee many developers increasing their focus on building mobile apps for businesses.
Social: We’ve made strong progress in bringing some of the best consumer technology to business in areas like email, documents, video and mobile devices. But there’s been a glaring exception: social. This despite the fact that businesses are inherently about people and relationships, and the web is ideally suited to groups collaborating together.
That’s changing in a big way. Over the last year we added features like rich discussions in Docs, and made Google+ available to Apps customers. Google+ is our effort to center our products around the hundreds of millions of people who use them every day. It promises reshape all of the services we offer. It’s already changing the way people share knowledge in companies like Journal Communications, which is using Hangouts to train employees on new software.
Our efforts will focus on two areas in the year ahead. First, on continuing the blistering pace of innovation that is bringing multiple improvements to Google+ every week, while also wrapping Google+ with the controls needed for broader use in large enterprises. Just last week we rolled out a number of improvements that make it even easier to connect to your colleagues, customers and business partners face-to-face-to-face via Hangouts and there’s much more to come. Second, on bringing Google+ to the rest of our products: incorporating features that make it easier to connect, share, and integrate with the wider world. The Google+ integrations with Gmail and contacts are one small example of our work to create a seamless and intuitive experience across Google.
Cloud, mobile, social. Fast, lightweight applications that makes it easier to work with others from anywhere. Those are the areas driving our investments for 2012, and transforming the way we work. Join us at www.google.com/apps
* Forrester Research, How to Connect your Mobile Workforce to Cloud-Based Email, December 12, 2011, by Christopher Voce and Christian Kane with Doug Washburn, Ted Schadler, and Lindsey Kempton