Hey Google! Time to fix Google Apps once and for all
Why? Because cloud-based enterprise software is not just for big corporations, it’s for power users who like to work collaboratively. We’re all using tools like Basecamp and Posterous and Tumblr … and many of us are using Google apps.
There is a lot to like about the service. Gmail is a powerful tool. Calendaring is awesome. Everything works so well on Android – and iOS for that matter.But there there are two matters Google needs to address right now or face losing me and many of the people with whom I work.
The first is highlighted by two new email products from the big G. One is Gmail for Honeycomb. It’s amazing! It may be the best email experience I have ever had on any platform. Clean and dynamic, it’s able to handle my work and personal accounts. The second is offline Gmail. Clearly Google is ready to play with other offline clients like Apple Mail and Entourage. Good for Google and good for me.
To make matters worse, I run a company with multiple brands and small groups of collaborative workers. I have ben -at- macermedia.com and ben -at- sacramentopress.com and my personal account. So if I want all my email, all my calendaring, all my Google Voice functionality and Google+ (I’ll get to that in a minute), I have to have THREE browsers open.
I wouldn’t really mind. I get it, I’m the exception. It’s just that it works so well in Android Honeycomb! Google seems to want to be my mail client, not just my ESP. It seems to want to be the hub I turn to.
This brings me to serious problem No. 2. I understand that when you buy Grand Central and try to integrate it as Google Voice you want to roll out to personal Google accounts because it’s less work for a larger user base. Tough integration project, OK.
But exclude Google Apps users when you roll out Google+!? You see, we Google Apps users are often your very best users. Some of us pay money to use the service. We’re your fans. We’re junkies! We’re rabidly awaiting the next best thing. If anything, roll out a new service with us first. At the very least don’t keep us waiting to get it last.
Why don’t I use Google+? Simple. My main browser for sharing and interacting is the one I use for my work email, calendar and docs. That means I am logged into my work account and thus NOT logged into Google+. I can share on Twitter. I can share on Facebook. I can do it any which way – buttons on sites, copy and paste URLs, use third-party web apps like timely.is. What I can’t do is share or get notified via Google+.
But this is not really about Google+. That is just the most obscene example. What this is about is consistently having Google Apps stand for “Google six months ago.” I don’t want less than the average user – I want more!
What strings these two issues together is simple. Google must recognize that Google Apps is not a traditional enterprise product. But that is a great thing because work environments are changing. Therefore, to be useful in emerging work environments, companies should not be paying for special logins, but accounts within logins that have access to the right new features to help them work as a team.
Users need access to different identities and workspace applications like docs, Google+ and maybe even waves. Users need to be able to easily do this from one browser and on one mobile browser on their smartphones. Web applications must allow multiple identities and accounts to be accessed by one simple login.
So get on this Google! Either do that or let Google Apps wither on the vine if you don’t recognize the changing work environments and focus on the needs of stodgy operations that really don’t like you anyway.