The software allows Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for e-mail, contacts, and calendar data, as well as helping Google nibble away at Microsoft's enterprise contracts.
Google is getting more aggressive about eroding Microsoft's dominance in the enterprise and taking away the software maker's business customers.
The stance was very apparent during a media event in San Francisco on Tuesday, where Google's enterprise group assembled a group of technology journalists and presented an update on its enterprise business.
The theme of the event was "going Google," and not only did Google invite several CIOs and IT directors to talk about their religious conversion from on-premises IT to Google-style cloud computing, but it also introduced new software for its paying enterprise customers to make "going Google" easier for Microsoft loyalists.
Google introduced Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, which allows Outlook users to connect to Google Apps for e-mail, contacts, and calendar data. Think of it as Microsoft on the outside and Google on the inside.
Dave Girouard, head of Google's enterprise group, hedged on whether Google would develop similar tools to integrate other Microsoft Office apps with Google on the back end. "Office has its role and it's a great set of products for a great set of things," he said. "But users ought to have more choice."
The choice Google chose to highlight was "going Google," and as might be expected, Google's chosen converts had nice things to say.
"We've had a very fruitful experience with Google," said Chris O'Connor, IT director at Genentech, one of the largest companies to switch to using Google Apps. "What started out as an experiment culminated in moving everyone in our company. We now see Google as one of our five strategic IT platforms."
Bob Rudy, VP and CIO at Avago Technologies, dismissed worries that giving Google control over so much of corporate IT might dilute the "secret sauce," the strategic value of IT. "My secret sauce is better, faster, cheaper, and more of it," he said.
Rudy later dismissed the issue of security, which remains a worry for many enterprises. "Security in the cloud is a nonissue for me and for my board," he said.
Jason Harper, VP of IT at Morgans Hotel Group, which owns the Clift Hotel, said Google Apps worked very well for his roaming employees. "The employees have adopted it very, very quickly and it has completely changed the way we work," he said.
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