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Google Enterprise Rebranded 'Google For Work'

Name change aims to better reflect Google's business customers and shift focus from the term 'enterprise.'

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Google Enterprise is no more. The company's decade-old division dedicated to corporate customers has a new name: Google for Work.

"In many ways work itself has changed in the last five years as mobility has come into play," said Amit Singh, president of Google for Work, at a press briefing in San Francisco on Tuesday. "I think Google for Work better reflects the new market environment we're all working in.

"This is one of the big growth opportunities for Google," Singh added, noting that almost 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are using paid services from Google for Work.

[Amazon isn't the only one exploring deliveries by drone. Read Google Tests Delivery Drones.]

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt offered this explanation in a blog post: "We never set out to create a traditional 'enterprise' business -- we wanted to create a new way of doing work. So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition. As of today, what was called Google Enterprise is now simply Google for Work."

Corporate name changes can be inconsequential; they can also reflect fundamental corporate realignment. Apple's decision in 2007 to drop "Computer" from its name represents an example of the latter. The company's switch to "Apple Inc." announced the company's new focus on mobile devices and marked the end of the desktop era.

Google's identity shift is a bit less than that. It's a declaration of commitment and a promise of persistence, something that many Google users, businesses and consumers, have had reason to doubt. Since Larry Page became CEO in April 2011, Google has shut down more than two dozen products, leaving many users wary about the longevity of Google services.

The shift to Google for Work is also aimed at Google's small and midsize business customers, many of whom don't identify with the term "enterprise," explained Rajen Sheth, product manager for Chromebooks and Android.

In discussions after the briefing, Sheth said that "enterprise" as a term is associated with the legacy IT infrastructure that Google has been working to reinvent and with a different sort of buying cycle.

"It's more than just a name change," said Sheth. "It's a mindset shift. ... Every part of the stack is being thrown up and reinvented."

When Google began offering Google Apps to businesses, one of its first education customers was Arizona State University. This was in 2006, when Apps consisted only of Gmail and Calendar. Shortly thereafter, Sheth said, Google hosted a roundtable event for university CIOs, and they thought Arizona State University was crazy for moving to the cloud. Now most of them are customers, he said.

Sheth said that Google's commitment to business customers began with its search appliance. But a decade ago, Google had only about 25 people on its enterprise team. Today Google has thousands of people working on products for business customers, according to Singh.

"Now the cloud is really a given for companies," said Sheth. "The question is how they're going to implement the cloud."

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 1:29:56 AM
Google for work
"The shift to Google for Work is also aimed at Google's small and midsize business customers, many of whom don't identify with the term "enterprise," explained Rajen Sheth, product manager for Chromebooks and Android."

Thomas, actually the word "Enterprise" including all SME, MNC etc. So the startup companies or small companies with single digit employees wont comes under such preview. Google for Work can include all such small and startup companies, include one single person who are working from home.
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 10:25:34 AM
All Kinds of Work
>> The shift to Google for Work is also aimed at Google's small and midsize business customers, many of whom don't identify with the term "enterprise,"

It's more than just a small change, dropping Enterprise allows the product to be shaped for SMBs and LEs as well as other types of "work" -- which becomes more varied as the days go on. It also takes in mobile uses. Good for Google on catching the issue and fixing it before too long a time went by -- MSFT usually let's these mistakes go on for much longer
User Rank: Author
9/3/2014 | 8:59:40 AM
Re: This is cool!
It's good to see Eric Schmidt involved in this, and Google at least saying that it sees business software as one of its big growth opportunities. While I've talked with plenty of satisfied Google Apps business customers, it's always been a bit unclear just how interested and committed Google really is in the enterprise market. It should be a big growth business for the company.
Li Tan
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 2:44:04 AM
This is cool!
Google is making right move - Google for Work is a better name than just Enterprise. Most of the traditional IT companies have Enterprise business department/unit. But Google is unique so that it targets to reinvent the way how people work - especially mobile office. So this name reflects more the essence of Google's business in this area.
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