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New York Times reports that later today Google will announce Google Apps to the public for business & education use. Previously known as Google Apps for your Domain, the new Google Apps will include email, instant messaging, calendars, web page creation, and now docs & spreadsheets with the ability to read and edit Microsoft Word & Excel documents. This is a whoping $11 billion dollar industry for Microsoft and with it being free for business and education use. They have added a new feature called Google Apps Premier and for $50 per user/year, you can get 10GB email storage w/ 99.9% uptime, ad removal, email migration tools, phone support, and API support. Google has a very good chance at taking a lot of small businesses away from Microsoft with this package. Right now NYT reports that Google Apps only has around 450,000 users, whereas Microsoft has nearly 400-500 million. Google has a long way to go, but if it’s anything like Gmail, I have a feeling that they will come on strong. Still, concerns remain about privacy and security, and not everyone has come to trust Google with their information, especially when it comes down to business.

Unlike Microsoft’s products, which reside on PCs and corporate networks, Google’s will be delivered as services accessible over the Internet, with Google storing the data. That will allow businesses to offload some of the cost of managing computers and productivity software.

[Source: NYT]

Google Apps

Google Apps Grows Up [Official Google Blog]

UPDATE: If you go to your control panel now for your domain, the new features (Docs & Spreadsheets) have shown up, with the option of upgrading to Google Apps Premier for free until April 30th, 2007

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