Since Gmail’s birth in 2004, Google has steadily built a powerful cloud-based email platform that’s chock full of innovative features including offline access, chat, search, mobile access and more. Google saw the opportunity to integrate Gmail and apps, like docs and calendar features, into the enterprise space and rolled out premier editions of Apps catering to the business community. Today, Google announced that it has struck a partnership with Valeo, an automotive components manufacturer, to deploy Google Apps on the company’s entire global workforce, which totals about 30,000 internet-using employees.
“The cost savings and innovation made possible by cloud computing help businesses better respond to a global and mobile workforce – especially in today’s difficult economic environment,” said Dave Girouard, President, Google Enterprise. “We’re thrilled Valeo has selected Google.
Google says more than a million businesses and ten million users are implementing the Google Apps suite currently but to date, the Valeo partnership is the largest single enterprise deployment. Genentech may be the second largest, with 20,000 users. Valeo is moving to the cloud with the support of technology consulting firm Capgemini.
When Google Apps first launched in 2006, it was free. Since then Google introduced a new model, where the free Google Apps account could be used by 50 users and the premier edition of the service, which as more storage and an uptime guarantee, costs $50 per user.
Google Apps is not directly competitive to MS Office (Google Apps is cloud based), but could be disruptive to Microsoft’s office suite, especially as Google continues to adds features to its own suite and builds on real-time collaborative features Office still doesn’t have.