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Symantec Merges Web 2.0 With Cloud Computing

As more and more businesses embrace SaaS and cloud computing, workers faced with juggling more and more online workspaces. With an ambitious new beta program, Symantec hopes to unify these disparate workspaces so everything's accessible with a single password.
As more and more businesses embrace SaaS and cloud computing, workers faced with juggling more and more online workspaces. With an ambitious new beta program, Symantec hopes to unify these disparate workspaces so everything's accessible with a single password."It [Symantec GoEverywhere] uses Web 2.0 to resolve the management problems we've seen with the cloud computing paradigm shift," says Don Kleinschnitz, Symantec vice president and general manager Symantec GoEverywhere.

Just launched in beta the new offering from the Symantec business incubator program, dangles the elusive promise of single sign-on by integrating a host of online application on a unified "webtop." Though only in beta, speculation about the competitive threat to Google Docs abounds.

The appeal of such a simple interface isn't hard to grasp. One user name, one password, one place to get your work done. That's nirvana for users struggling with an endlessly spiraling roster of user names and passwords. The implications of success for IT budgets are significant as well -- running an entire organization on netbooks becomes conceivable. All you need is a browser to run GoEverywhere.

But that begs the question -- don't we already have a this tool. Properly managed, why can't a browser provide the unified application workspace that Symantec hopes to deliver. To that Kleinschnitz says, "Forget about browsers -- we're giving you a computer." And then adds, "Browsers are not the competition -- the more they improve the better off we are. Browsers are great for browsing. Browsers are not great for computing."

The paradigm that Kleinschnitz is chasing is more Windows than browser. And though the applications that a business might want to use via a Webtop could be aggregated using an assortment of ad-hoc measures, the simplified management of a single unified environment is seductive. And if the beta gains critical mass (and with Symantec's backing), GoEverywhere might clear the "is this going to be around next year" hurdle that makes business owners hesitate.