Google@Work seminar, JotSpot, and Wikis

Google continues on its "parallel-universe" path to (friendly--not evil) world domination (parallel to Microsoft's attempts, that is) by expanding its reach into the Enterprise application space.  In a recent free seminar held in Columbus, Google demonstrated some of its offerings in the enterprise, including:

  • Google Maps for Enterprises - Provide the power and functionality of Google's web-based mapping technologies in internal websites and critical applications that require support. With Google Maps for Enterprise, organizations of all types can integrate data and seamlessly create a high performance web-based mapping experience.

    Ideal for applications such as workforce management, operations/logistics and CRM, Google Maps for Enterprise provides fast performance through the Google Maps API which is recognized for helping spur the web mashup phenomenon. Users benefit from the ease of use that people love about the consumer Google Maps offering, and satellite imagery provides detailed views of the Earth. Google Maps for Enterprise also features enterprise-grade support and service.

  • Google Earth for Enterprises - Explore geographic information with the power of Google Earth Enterprise, a 3D visualization of the earth that integrates, organizes and publishes your enterprise's location data.  Host your data locally and then overlay it on top of Google's.  Your employees use a specialized Google Earth client to access your local datasets and study them through Google Earth's fluid 3D interface.
  • Google Apps for Enterprises - includes Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs & Spreadsheets
  • Google Search Appliance - search up to 30 million documents across virtually all systems (Starts at $30,000 for search across 500,000 documents)
  • Google Mini - supports from 50,000 to 300,000 documents (Search up to 50,000 documents for just $1,995)

  • It was clearly stated during question-and-answer periods that Google's primary focus will always be consumer technology, but Google has dedicated a team of about 350 people to extend those technologies into the corporate enterprise.  This will enable them to capture that marketshare (even though the annual revenue possibility is much smaller).

    Google offers free versions of their APIs for Google Maps and Google Earth.  However, these free versions come with the expected constraints to encourage enterprises to license the technologies on a pay basis.  For instance, to use the Maps API for free, it must be employed on a website available to the public (i.e., no password/account-protected websites).  If you want to make it private, you have to pay for the use of the API.  In addition to usage scenario limitations, the number of server requests is limited by day (50,000 per day for Maps).  Frequently exceeding this limit can result in account cancellation.

    Overall, I had mixed feelings about the presentation (the food and presenter were just OK), but Google's track record is undeniable, and its application offerings are consistently substantial and impressive, so the presentation itself merely helped me carve out space in my brain for each product and its role.  Other than the time spent, the seminar was free, so who can complain?

    I was excited to discover that Google bought a wiki-style system called JotSpot (very cool!) and will be (hopefully) releasing its functionality in a Google offering at some point in the future.  Did I mention that I love wikis?  (I even have my own private installation of MediaWiki, the software that runs Wikipedia.)  Fun stuff!

    If you want to find out more about wikis, see the following:

  • The original Wiki Wiki Web from Ward Cunningham and the Portland Pattern Repository
  • The wiki list on Wiki Wiki Web
  • WikiMatrix - compare features of various wiki packages

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