FOSE Opening Keynote: David Girouard

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Google sent the Vice President in charge of their Google Enterprise division for the first keynote address and slide show of the FOSE conference at the DC Convention Center. According to David Girouard, the future is in the clouds. Well, cloud computing. Yes, this speech was given on April Fool’s Day, also known as the 4th anniversary of the launch of GMail, but what he was promoting was the migration of documents onto the ‘cloud’ (storage on the Internet) and positioning Google as a SAAS vendor.

Those of you who attended the Software Industry Conference during the years it was in Florida around ten years ago will remember that SAAS, or Software as a Service, was really big back then, but it resulted in very little. Now, bandwidth and connectivity for business users is good enough and fast enough that SAAS may be practical for specific applications.

Putting documents into the cloud is already what Google is living on. All their documents, spreadsheets, slide shows, etc, are hosted live on the Google Apps site (www.google.com/a). Nothing is stored on workstations, and their technology now includes sharing of documents between collaborators, with tracking of edits and changes.

Girouard reports that lots of business notebooks are lost worldwide, usually with business data. He had one stolen from a parked car the day before a big meeting. The next morning, he stopped by the Google IT department, picked up a new notebook, switching to a Mac while he as there, logged in to Apps, and was up and running immediately, with less than half an hour lost.

This isn’t just Google eating their own brand of dog food. Girouard showed an impressive list of Fortune 500 companies that are using Google’s GMail with Postini spam filtering for 100% of their email storage. It’s all online, manageable and controllable by corporate management.