Friday, February 29, 2008

I almost got this yesterday...

... when I posted my mini-review of Google Sites, the relaunched JotSpot. As I noted, you need an institutional email in order to create a GS account (say, If your institution has bought a license, then your site gets lumped in with that institutional license and they have partial admin control over your pages. If not, you're flying solo.

According to the post below, this is Google's way of routing around local IT administration, then exerting pressure on IT to buy site licenses after the fact:
So what?, they say. We "give administrators the control to do that if that's what they decide," says Google Senior Product Marketing Manager Jeremy Milo said. "The easiest way to do it would be to disable all the applications."

He's referring to the administrative functions of the suite that allow CIOs to control which employees can use which applications in the suite. In order for a CIO or IT director to gain control of the suite, they must first sign up for Team Edition. Once inside, there is an administrative login that connects the CIO with Google. With that, the CIO is given an option to either create a CNAME record or upload an HTML file provided by Google to the company's domain. Both options prove that the CIO has control over the domain. A third option is to update the domain's MX record. Exercising any of those options essentially disables Team Edition for the domain and shifts everything to Google Apps Standard Edition, Google's free version of its Web-based application suite for businesses. Once that happens, companies can use Gmail as an email client and CIOs can take control of the applications. (source: SearchCIO-midmarket)
This strategy might work well for companies that don't have and don't want an IT team. But for larger institutions, it sets up a conflict -- especially because company data are stored on someone else's servers and the Terms of Service imply that Google can have access to these data.

What bewilders me is that GS would work quite well for the strategy that I thought Google had up to this point -- linking recombinant federations of service providers that come together for a project and then disperse. Think in terms of graphic designers who assemble sole proprietorships and small businesses (graphic artists, Photoshop retouchers, subcontractors, printers) to work on a piece of collateral for three months. That's what Basecamp does, and it's also the big advantage of GDocs and GCal. But GS appears to be rooted within an institution -- you add team members based on the institution, you need an institutional email, you route around IT associated with a particular institution. No support for keiretsu. It looks to me like Google made this choice in order to specifically go after the existing money streams in the enterprise market. Too bad. GS is the right speed for recombinant federations, and Basecamp shows that these folks are willing to pay for it.
Google Sites the Next Sharepoint? Maybe Not....Why Google Apps Could Lose the Enterprise Market - ReadWriteWeb

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