Judging by the investments that developers -- both well-established and start-ups -- are making in the collaboration market, software vendors are paying more than lip service to the adage that no man is an island. Certainly, businesses are investigating -- and investing in -- tools that help employees brainstorm, locate each other, schedule meetings, and communicate via social networks. Collaboration technology itself covers a broad spectrum of devices, from instant messaging and email, to cell
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Touted as easy to use, Google Groups for Business gives users access to email, documents, folders, calendar, and videos. Unlike the free standard edition of Google Apps, Groups for Business costs about $50 per user per year, and may include a set-up fee. But the business edition also provides an uptime guarantee, either via Google or an authorized reseller. Companies also can disable ads in the Web interface; Google offers a free trial. "Google Apps saves us millions of dollars over five years over any of the alternatives that we looked at and provides us with worldwide disaster recovery, unprecedented integration, and device independence," said customer Todd Pierce, vice president of IT at Genentech, in a video.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
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