Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock today, everyone knows that Google has rolled out a Premier Edition of their Google Apps service.
So this is going to be a bit of a rant. Bear with me.
Looking at some of the responses around the web, some folks think companies won’t use it because of privacy issues.
What?!? Is it 1998 again? Privacy?!?
Companies try to outsource everything. Everything. Call centers. Product development. Payroll. HR benefits. CRM. Hosting. Everything.
And companies won’t outsource email? Yeah, right.
Do people realize that companies do a background check when a person is being offered a job? Private information is being handed over to a third party on purpose. Take a look at your paychecks. If you work in the private sector, employee paychecks are usually not being handled by your employer. A third party has your social security number and knows your salary information. Got insurance? More and more companies are handing over management of all that to human resource BPOs. So these BPOs have access to your SSN, probably your spouse’s SSN, and your kids’ SSN. Awesome.
Product development. Do it in India, its cheaper. Its halfway around the world. We’ve never met any of them, but I’m sure they’ll keep everything nice and secure. Uh huh. Right.
Some people think Outlook is better than Gmail. Seriously, I understand personal preferences. But there is no way on earth Outlook is better than Gmail. The fact that the Google Desktop Outlook search works better than Outlook’s own search should tell you something.
People really mean to say that Exchange is better than the POP/IMAP standards. I don’t agree, but Exchange’s ability to schedule meetings is very nice. Also, once an account is added to Exchange, everyone who has access to the Exchange server can easily communicate with the new user. It doesn’t seem like Gmail Apps has really dealt with either of these issues.
Some users think Google Apps guarantee of 99.9% uptime isn’t good enough. That means it will be down 8.76 hours per year. Sure, it would be bad if all that 8.76 hours came in the same day and the whole company email system was down for the day. But its not likely to happen that way. 8.76 hours per year can also mean that it will be down 1 hour every 5.9 weeks. Hello! I can pretty much guarantee no matter how impressive your Microsoft Exchange Engineers are, your system is bound to be unavailable for an hour every six weeks so they can wipe out all the spam that users get.
Am I missing something? Where do these illusions of privacy come from? Companies have absolutely no problem with sharing information with third parties if it saves them money. Why is email any different? What is this allegiance to Microsoft products? This is from a company that believes the user should pay for plugging holes that the company mistakenly made in the first place.
Update: A reader pointed out that Google lists “shared calendar resources” as a feature of the Premier Edition. Not sure what that means exactly. There is also a reference to an user directory API which may be accessible through a Google partner.