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5/9/2012
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Q&A: Google's Jonathan Rochelle Talks Enterprise Strategy

Google Apps group product manager Jonathan Rochelle goes one-on-one with InformationWeek's Paul McDougall at Interop 2012.

IW: So Microsoft's move into the cloud doesn't concern you at all?

JR: Certainly they've got incumbency on their side. It's easier to get someone to switch from one thing to another of that same style, particularly from a licensing perspective, and installation perspective, and inertia.

IW: What's the biggest impediment to the adoption of cloud apps? When customers say no thanks, what are the reasons?

JR: I don't think there is a single thing. The product set is very broad. But I'm not in sales, so I don't have a good answer. With collaboration products, it's typically because they have people in the organization who still need Office and they're not making the connection that they can use both. The question they should be asking is whether 80% of their people can be more productive using our product. The answer usually is yes. Office is very specialized software, and it's awesome, but it's not for everybody.

IW: Is there a services opportunity for Google around cloud integration?

JR: I think there is. We're keeping our investment right now in the core, and we're actually enjoying the fact that people like CloudLock and others are benefitting from the gaps that we leave. We like to see that happen.

IW: Microsoft spent $8.5 billion to acquire Skype, and is integrating real-time video across their product set. How does Google respond?

JR: We will counter that. Video is already core to Google+, and Google+ will become core to Google Apps. Multi-way video to us is core. We don't have a when yet, but it will be an integration of Google+ in a way that [allows] the admins of the domain [to] control the sharing of Google+. Today a Hangout can be shared with anyone. If you share the link, they can get in. We need to protect that; we need to add the access control list. IW: On the client side, Microsoft is looking to make Windows 8 an OS that can stretch across PCs, tablets, and smartphones to deliver a consistent experience. At some point does Google plan to merge Chromium and Android?

JR: There's probably some advantage to that. There's a beta version of Chrome on Android. I use it constantly and it's incredible. I think Chrome has pushed the limits of browsers and has done a great thing for the industry in a lot of ways, and I think for Android it's also going to be a benefit. I don't know if at the next level down, Chromium plus Android, will come together. I'm not close enough to say that. I see it as Chrome being a great browser for the Android operating system.

IW: Google Apps was built for browsers, but many people believe we're entering the post-browser age. Any thoughts on that?

JR: It's funny. In the past I always would have talked about the benefit of delivering through the browser--the multi-platform aspect. It's hard to deliver on Linux and Sun and whatever else. It was really a beautiful thing to only worry about the browser. But now that we've got mobile platforms, iOS and Android specifically, we kind of see the value of that, particularly with offline apps. So we've got Android apps that are out there; we've got an announcement that Drive is going to be delivered on iOS; and there [are] going to be native apps again, definitely.

When it all comes together in the cloud and you're still accessing the same data, everything conforms to the cloud at least. That's a huge benefit. It's just the development cost that's really the unfortunate part.

IW: What's next for Google Apps?

JR: We could add a lot. Internally we have people who want to do a Microsoft Project-like product. We could, but we would rather do what we did with the Drive platform and open it up so that other tools can exist. Once you have a strong organizational capability on the content, and single sign-on, and some kind of access control, you put that together and suddenly you can use almost any product that's a Drive app. And you can track it and control it. There are a lot of opportunities that we won't necessarily fill.

IW: What else is in the pipeline?

JR: More mobility, the integration of social, and the ability to get our products to work offline is something we've been doing a lot of.

See the future of business technology at Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10. It's the best place to learn how cloud computing, mobile, video, virtualization, and other key technologies work together to drive business. Register today with priority code CPQCNL07 to get a free Expo Pass or to save 25% on Flex and Conference passes..

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