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'Gone Google' Campaign Goes Global

Stepping up its efforts to woo business users, Google will begin marketing Google Apps in five international cities.

Google on Monday plans to take its "Gone Google" ad campaign global by expanding its marketing efforts to London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, and Singapore.

The campaign expansion comes just days before Microsoft, Google's nemesis, begins a massive marketing push to promote the October 22nd launch of Windows 7.

Asked whether the timing of the announcement was influenced by Microsoft's Windows 7 plans, Tom Oliveri, marketing director for Google's enterprise division, said that Google's enterprise marketing initiative began this summer and that Google always intended to take its enterprise message beyond the U.S.

"That said, certainly we're excited to make sure everyone is aware of the choices they have for their information systems," said Oliveri.

Google launched the "Gone Google" campaign in August in four U.S. cities -- San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Boston -- to promote its growing enterprise business and its efforts appear to have produced results.

During Google's Q3 2009 earnings conference call on Thursday, CEO Eric Schmidt said that the company's enterprise business is accelerating and that customer feedback has been strong. He acknowledged that product shortcomings need to be addressed and he suggested that Google is considering the acquisition of small companies that could enhance Google's enterprise offerings.

Google doesn't break out its enterprise revenue but spokesperson Andrew Kovacs said the company's enterprise business generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually and is profitable. Google Apps now has 20 million users, up from 15 million in June, he said, adding that 2 million businesses are using Google Apps.

Google on Monday plans to announce a new business customer that will bring 17,000 new Google Apps users: Virginia-based global packaging company MeadWestVaco. Other companies that have recently "Gone Google" include Konica Minolta (7,000 users) and Rentokil Initial (35,000 users).

Google has augmented its marketing pitch with software designed to make it easier to migrate from other companies' platforms, such as Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook.

An IDC poll of 262 corporate executives conducted in July found that almost 20% of those responding to the survey reported using Google Docs, up from 6% in October 2007. Melissa Webster, program VP at IDC for content and digital media technologies, characterized the increase as "impressive" but noted that Microsoft Office, used by 97% of respondents, had not become less popular as a result of Google's rise. Ongoing Google gains, however, she suggested could threaten Microsoft's Office 2010 revenue.

InformationWeek and Dr. Dobb's have published an in-depth report on how Web application development is moving to online platforms. Download the report here (registration required).

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