back to article Google Apps boss says cloud computing is your destiny

It was a Google ad. But not the kind you've come to expect. Last month, inside The Economist, a magazine in the old fashioned, physical sense of the word, Google ran a four-page ad touting its own Google Apps suite, that all-web-all-the-time challenger to Microsoft Office. "Each day, over 3,000 businesses go Google," the ad read …

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Alien

no!

i'm a big fan of google generally but i have no faith in cloud technologies. the biggest obstacle is what happened in egypt. it doesn't matter if you live in a more stable country you are at the end of the day depending on your government not to shut you out from internet services. now add intermittent internet services (how many hours or days was your internet down last year?) and i have no trust in remote services.

i can get work done as long as i have my data to work on. put the data in the cloud and deny me access to the cloud and i can do nothing. so no cloud for me. i'll use cloud but make sure i have a local backup.

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"Include me out"

Given what we now know about government monitoring, and invasive abilities, not to mention the state sponsored hacking epidemic, putting your critical data and proprietary information and functions into the 'clouds' is akin to kneeling and place your corporate head on the block, neck clearly exposed to every manner of mayhem. Frankly, any CEO contemplating such a move should be summarily dismissed as breaching his fiduciary duties to the enterprise and its shareholders.

I have yet to hear any credible list of advantages that would justify taking such a huge risk with any companies' critical interests. Google has clearly demonstrated that it has no reservations in data mining your email, your physical location, your wireless info, and your net activities if they can figure out a way to profit therefrom. So now they want you to entrust your companies' critical data and secrets to their 'cloud'? PLUUUUUEEEEESSSSSSEEE. Pass on the Koolaid...keep your data YOUR data.

Seer

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Alert

Cloud ok. But locally!

Sorry not sold. The cloud is the future of data, not of the applications themselves. My application has to be local. Tried them applications, it's like suddenly you lost a half of your fingers.

I believe that if Microsoft can last as a leader in desktop OS for 4-5 more years, google apps will wither since the cloud will appear local in the OS. Login anywhere and you're home, that's my dream, take note of that Microsoft!

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FAIL

Data in the cloud, no way

Sorry but I cannot agree, in fact I think it should be the other way around. Cloud applications can take the load of local hardware sources such as CPU and memory by moving the processing off your local machine, thus requiring you only to have a thin client with sufficient storage. The functionality of cloud apps will get better over time as the user base increases and feature requests mount up. Also. if a cloud application becomes unavailable then it is feasible that there will be another cloud application or you can resort to a local application if you prefer.

On the other hand, placing data on the cloud is to relinquish complete control of your data. Cloud storage goes down? You better had already taken the extra time to place it elsewhere on the cloud that is still available or have a local copy. And if you are only storing a copy of your data on the cloud as a backup, then that's a pretty limited feature set you see for the cloud! Having your data on the cloud also enhances the risk of your data being accessed by unauthorised parties. Sure, the storage provider may have security measures, but can you guarantee that someone won't find exploits and crack/hack their way to your data. Do you really want all your electronically stored family photos, financial documents, etc, out there at risk?

I'll make use of the cloud for what has been termed Web 2.0 apps and beyond, but I wouldn't want my personal data out there thanks.

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Grenade

Everyone WILL go to the cloud.

...because of multiple wonderful promises including a huge ROI and glowing case studies. There they will experience bottlenecks in accessing their huge PowerPoints, 4GB emails and have a few system outages inconveniencing the CEO. Corporate info will be hacked, salaries will be disclosed and lawsuits will abound. Then the herd will swing back the other way and bring their data back in-house where they can access the info at Gigabyte speeds with secure controls and backups.

Cloud computing is not the end-all-be-all problem solver the marketing folks want you to believe. It has its uses and is practical in some cases, yes. However, it is just one tool in the box. Remember, you can only access the "cloud" at the speed of your Internet connection and that is already being used for one or two things today.

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Linux

Huge powerpoint?

"There they will experience bottlenecks in accessing their huge PowerPoints, 4GB emails and have a few system outages inconveniencing the CEO."

err, have you used Google Doc's? That 4GB e-mail isn't a problem since it's, well, in the cloud. Kinda the point.

In and of itself, that's enough that everyone in the world should switch over to some sorta cloud (intranet?) for company doc's! That being said, restricting the interface to what a browser can do is silly.

pros:

1.) no 4GB e-mails getting passed around

2.) no "oops, lost the file"/crash/whatever from users

3.) platform independent! (well, Firefox compatible, let's say)

4.) similar to #1, no virus attachments

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Happy

@THUFIR HAWAT

(First, love your nick)

If it is in the cloud, it has to come back to the workplace to be used. The last client PPT presentation we had was ~28 MB in size (I have seen them generate a single page 14 MB PPT). As management do not let me impose limits on email attachment sizes or mailbox sizes they do not use shared folders, they use email to send it to the 12 people involved. There were 47 (No exaggeration whatever) revised versions of that PPT sent over a three week period.

Yes, I have used Google Docs and love it. However, when that presentation is in a hosted cloud email service those 12 people need to download those 12 X 47 X 28MB PPT's on a 3 MB Internet connection to their work PC's and laptops to view, amend and rebroadcast. That is >15GB of data just for download only. Wee bit slow.

Plus, where I work the Internet is not all that reliable. We have had several 12-18 hour periods last year where the net was inaccessible due to hurricanes and the like. Our CEO is a rageaholic and if he has to wait more than 5 seconds for anything the roof comes off the building.

Am not disagreeing with what you said. Was well put. However, the cloud only works when you have disciplined and patient users. How many of those do you have in your organization? :-)

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Stop

Re: Huge powerpoint

Thufir, my old boy, you've clearly never actually used google docs have you? There are some quite significant restrictions about what data can be stored in google docs;

Documents larger than 1MB cannot be uploaded

Spreadsheets with more than 400k cells or more than 256 columns per sheet or larger than 20MB cannot be uploaded

Presentations that have more than 200 slides, or larger than 10MB cannot be uploaded.

Google Docs, it's fantastic(ly mediocre).

http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=37603

gmail downtime = 7 minutes per month

Most SLAs I've seen go for 5 9s, or 6 minutes per year,

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Stop

Free Ad-Free Gmail

"With the free version – for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and families – you'll see ads on Gmail, but nowhere else."

Yes, so I noticed; even AdBlockPlus in Firefox can't block the ads in Gmail. However, there is a Plugin/Extension for the Chrome browser (called AdBlock) that actually does block ads in Gmail. I was amazed.

I suspect that Google know about this but reason that only techie types will install it and that we're a lost cause for adverts anyway; being a cynical and suspicious lot.

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I don't see Gmail ads

'cos I use IMAP to access my mail using an old school, standalone email client. Thunderbird certainly has it's faults, but I still prefer it to gmail's web interface.

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Pint

Frank, Adblock Plus on FF, both version 3.6.15pre and version 4.0.12pre

on 64-bit Ubuntu 101.10, blocks Gmail ads for me - have you checked your filters ?...

Henri

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Happy

I had no idea

I really had no idea there were ads in Gmail, never seen one. Adblock on chrome and spoiled rotten.

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Whatever.

My systems don't even know google exists. Doesn't seem to affect my "Internet Experience" (whatever that is!) very much.

Email? My personal "friends & family" email system has been available non-stop for over 25 years (it's been up since Flag Day ... it had been running for several years prior to that). It's multi-homed, multi-OS, and multi-MTA ... redundancy is built in wherever I can fit it. Started as a research platform when I was at Stanford, spread between SAIL, the old CO under Bryant Street, and MAE-West. Today, it's spread out world-wide. Overkill for a personal system? Probably ... but it's mostly tax deductible.

Office applications? I use vi, sc and dc/bc ... They are scriptable, and usable from any terminal, anywhere. Excess glitter only distracts from the business at hand ... actually doing business. Last time I checked, I was turning a profit everywhere but the kennel, the tack store and my fledgling brewery. (The first two will never turn a profit, the brewery will be in the black this time next year, hopefully).

Who needs google? More to the point, who trusts global datamining marketing companies that only exist to sell your eyeballs to other global marketing companies?

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"Office applications? I use vi, sc and dc/bc "

If vi is your word processor and dc is your spreadsheet, then you're not the person to answer this question:

"Who needs google?"

Because you've already made yourself irrelevant to the discussion.

"Excess glitter only distracts from the business at hand ... actually doing business. "

Very true, but I don't think you have much to do with a real business.

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Unclear on the concept ...

"If vi is your word processor and dc is your spreadsheet"

No. vi is my text editor, and dc is a calculator language. sc is my spreadsheet. The calculator you were looking for is bc ...

""then you're not the person to answer this question:

""Who needs google?""

Because you've already made yourself irrelevant to the discussion.""

Oh. My opinion is irrelevant (in your mind) because I actually know how computers work. I can live with that. And it kinda makes my point, no? Enjoy your gool-aid.

"Very true, but I don't think you have much to do with a real business."

Currently, we run sixteen businesses out of the Ranch ... And I consult for a couple dozen or so Fortune 500s, on and off. Kindly define "real"?

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Linux

A new brand of fanboy has just come to town...

>> "Who needs google?"

>

> Because you've already made yourself irrelevant to the discussion.

Not at all. He's clearly a naysayer. That doesn't make him irrelevant, especially if he makes technology decisions or recommendations for anyone else.

We've heard all of this inevitability rhetoric before and many of us are not impressed by it.

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Naysayer? Nah. Re-read mine.

My systems could be labeled "cloud". I prefer "distributed" as a term.

The key difference is that *I* control them, not !goomyfaceyoumsamazontwit ...

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Pirate

Amazing

Google-Apps guy says everybody will eventually go to the cloud. How surprising. About like going to a Ford dealer and being told everybody will eventually be driving a Focus.

The cloud concept is useful, but still a bit tenuous. If you can put up with having your data and apps stored somewhere that you have little control over, and little control over gaining access to, then sure, the cloud is for you. But don't come crying when all your Internet connections go down and your CEO can't get into his email. Sorry, but at least with local stuff, if a switch goes bad, I can swap it out and be back in business inside of a half hour, and the CEO can go back to reading his emails and generally doing nothing useful.

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#Amazing

the "cloud" can be local....

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Pirate

err

not to belabor a point, but in the Olde Days, didn't we use different name for "Local Cloud"? Something like "File Server" or maybe "App Server"? Somewhere in my memories of the ancient times, I seem to remember that's what we referred to it as...

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Re: err

...and didn't "cloud" used to be "the Internet"?!?

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Go

Google has spawned ...

... another idiot.

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Only a Hybrid will work

To suggest that we will all go 100% is foolish. People will demand local and cloud based apps and services moving forward. Data location can be a regulatory nightmare. This makes sense in lots of areas. Lots of apps are now commoditized so why not provide them like a utility in a multi-tenant environment. Makes sense of energy use and predictable loading. Coming from a networking background I remember leased lines giving way to shared Frame-Relay/MPLS links which are a shared service. Heck we've been using cloud for consumer for yonks now. 500Million using MSN.. Similar numbers for Gmail. Skype etc... Energy wise it makes a lot of sense also.

To those who point at unreliable internet links. Mine is rarely down and if it is I could only work locally anyway regardless of what apps I have. Most of them are collaborative in nature anyway. We used to have the same arguments on VOIP and IP telephony. You know what happened, networks became much more reliable to meet the challenge.

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Linux

If the cloud is so good...

How comes hosting companies are not eating their own dog food?

I know quite a few hosters, and their own stuff is pretty close to them in the same office.

As someone else pointed out, "cloud-computing" is just a marketing term for having your infrastructure on someone else's data centre, and having the install/maintenance done for you.

So for getting customers "cloud-computing" sounds much better than "managed hosting"-"dedicated hosting"

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Big Brother

@marketing term & your infrastructure on someone else's data centre

@"As someone else pointed out, "cloud-computing" is just a marketing term for having your infrastructure on someone else's data centre"

So its a 21st century new marketing term version of the old style Mainframe "Big Iron", with dumb terminals that connect to the central computer (its like going back over 40 years, only now the central computer can be anywhere on the planet and its given a new happy "cloud" name). Which is an ideal business plan for anyone who runs the central computer, as they then get to spy & monitor what everyone else is doing and they even get paid to do it.

Which is exactly what Google want to do. They are trying to convince people to return to dumb terminals with them at the centre spying on all the data!. Plus you can bet their friends in government would love access to everything Google sees, so they can also spy on it all.

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Big Brother

I'd be happier.....

with consumer cloud services if every time that Google talked about the cloud they didnt remind me that they want to read/parse all my data to see if I love kittens or have recently been to Las Vegas or stuff like that.

On the corporate side, I will go with whatever our IT people decide on, provided that it works. On the personal side, I use Carbonite backup, but other than that I want my stuff to be my stuff, and not potentially shared in some for or another with various advertisers. If Google buys Carbonite tomorrow, I cancel my service with them and tell them to delete everything I ever backed up on their servers.

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Anonymous Coward

Co-editing lies

"there's this whole other side of things you can only do in the cloud, like co-editing a document at the same time"

ah really Google, and here was I thinking I was co-editing documents in SubEthaEdit around 2004, when the Internet sky was nice and clear of any clouds.

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"build confidence over time"

Oh, but I am 100% confident right now.

I am confident that this cloud thingy will expose my data at one point or another. I am confident that the cloud will not be available precisely the day I need it the most. I am confident that anything I put on the cloud will be used to target specific ads at me.

That is why I will keep my data locally, thank you. Unless you have real magic in your fingers, you are not going to get through my hardware firewall to sift through my data locally, so having it exposed is not possible.

And if my PC dies ? Well first, if that happens I won't be able to access my data whether or not it is on a cloud, and second, that's why you have backups - to recover your last one when the PC works again.

I see zero benefit for me in this cloudy thing, but I see golden opportunity for hackers and marketeers. Hmm, marketeers - that must be why this cloud is growing.

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Terminator

The cloud is the future

Google is right, we shall all use the cloud... when we have one world government, eradicated poverty and religion, colonised Mars, and personal computers are stitched into our smart ware clothes.

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Happy

Another example of the 'one-size-fits-all' mentality

Cloud computing is a great idea, imagine sitting up a mountain on holiday and someone needs some info about some meeting you had with Fred 7 weeks ago just some basic info about the agenda and who was there for example, tap-tappity tap on your phone and the document URL with all the correct info and formatting is there available for the other parties, you get on with your break without worrying about it.

However I work in a private finance house and the very thought of putting our data into databases other than the main set of DBs we already have causes the security and compliance folks to start sweating, anyone suggested cloud-computing for out data it would lead to hospitalisation for some of our legal bods! Ha ha!

Like all technology it has some amazing benefits but it most certainly not suitable for all purposes. As they say "Horses for courses.".

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Data Protection Act

I wonder if Google has heard of the DPA? One of the requirements for storing data covered by the DPA is that is has to stay either in the UK or somewhere else that works with it. So it can't be stored in the US. How's that gonna work with Google's data shredding, server spreading wonderfulness?

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WTF?

Google "safe harbor"

I suggest you Google "safe harbor" (or "safe harbour", if you like) to learn how that data can be stored outside the UK and the EU without breaching the DPA. Millions of companies do it every day.

Cheers!

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Who downvoted?

Seriously. Someone asked a question, and El Limerino answered it. What's to downvote?

Or did you not like the fact that there was an answer? "Ooh, someone spiked my FUD... Boo hoo..."

Like someone said earlier, horses for courses. There are a lot of applications where this simply works best. You don't have to deal with it, but it's worth getting up-to-speed on the subject in case it becomes part of your job at some point. And for those applications where it really doesn't make sense to go cloud, don't.

There. That wasn't so hard, was it?

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Anonymous Coward

UK data abroad

Are you serious? How can you be familiar with an IT site like this yet not know that plenty of UK data is held abroad in countries that don't "work with it"?

One example: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7147715.stm

Clearly it is you who have as much clue about the Data Protection Act as all County Councils who fax child abuse case files to nosey members of the public or schools who swing to the opposite extreme and use it as an excuse to ban parents taking photos at nativity plays.

And I agree with the other poster - Whoever down-voted the polite and factual reply is likely to have an extraordinarily low cranium, to the extent that they make David Walliams look like the man from Tefal.

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Dumb and dumber

If there's one thing that demonstrates just how stupid cloud apps are, it's that Google itself is developing a local client for Chrome. No wonder Girouard "completely sidestepped the question" when asked about a "native-code version of Google Apps".

It seems that the Emperor is developing a fig leaf.

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Barbers selling haircuts

As the old saying goes, never ask a barber if you need a haircut........

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Anonymous Coward

And in other news

Pope says transubstantion is good for soul.

Bears advocate arboreal living area

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Flame

"The Cloud" - old wine in new bottles

When I were a lad it was called "ftp" and "offsite backup". But those terms weren't sexy enough so along came "The Cloud" with all the marketing BS turned up to 11 and people really did think something new and inventive had come along.

Whats that I hear you say - "Its not just back-ups, you can work in the cloud too!" Err yeah , except I was telnet'ing to remote servers to do just that 20 years ago and Citrix for Windows had been around the block a few times too before Cloud Computing popped out of some marketdroids wet dream.

So someone please update me - what exactlty is new about "The Cloud" that wasn't around a decade or 2 ago?

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Well, just as a f'rinstance...

If you thin-client into a remote server to work on an Excel spreadsheet on a shared folder, and one of your colleagues wants to edit the same spreadsheet at the same time, it's going to go tits-up.

With a google workbook, I can have a conference call with a project team (in-house and external), all of us looking at the same status sheet at the same time, able to see who's updating what and how and all doing this in real-time. With version control in case the new guy wipes the whole thing.

Okay, not all of the analytics tools are reproduced; it's basic spreadsheet functionality (growing every month), but for 99% of uses it works, and the benefits from easy sharing are enormous.

Or you can email your precious trackers back and forth and try to figure out how to consolidate Fred's updates with Wilma's updates and Barney's deletions. I assume you have the time...

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Actually...

Using SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 mutiple people can make simultaneous updates. I'n definitely no fan of SharePoint (don't get me started) but seeing other people's updates highlighted in Word as you type was a moment for me. Very cool!

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Okay, sure...

... finally Sharepoint and Office are catching up on simultaneous updates. Here's something to consider, though:

(a) How many businesses have you encountered which are "implementing" sharepoint? Not have it up and running, but are (still) in the process of figuring out how to get it to work properly and roll it out to their users? And at what expense? Me, I've lost count. And I could* name you at least one that's STILL at it after four years. Four years, and still paying the consultants to roll out something that should just work...

(b) How easy is it to share that experience with someone outside your immediate corporate domain? If you have a living collaborative document that you use to track UAT results being posted by your client's testers and reviewed / updated by your in-house devs, for example?

(c) How easy and cheap is it to set it up in the first place? 'Cos my Mum could set up a Google Apps account (for free) and share and collaborate seamlessly on a workbook, a document, a presentation etc with any of her friends (with internet access) tomorrow. And, fine woman though she is, she's no MCSE. And all she needs is a browser.

I really don't want to sound like a zealot, but this is incredibly good stuff. Not everyone's cup of kool-aid, I'll grant you, but shouldn't be dismissed out-of-hand for lazy reasons.

*could but won't, 'cos that way lies trouble... ;)

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Bunch o techno-luddites

Wow, I can smell the fear from across teh internets. What CEO needs opinionated techno-weenies who are always quite clear on what cannot be done, if someone else takes care of operating the businesses apps?

There is nothing inherently secure about keeping your data on your own premises. Just ask all the folks who have been hacked and/or had a massive data breach from their down data centers. I've had folks sit in front of me without a red face and say customer and employee data are too sensitive to put in the cloud. These are folks who use Salesforce for CRM and ADP for payroll processing. So, both are already in the cloud then? World has not ended yet? How 'bout that.

Not that I am a Google apps fan, as they can't tell you how your stuff is secured, which tends to make auditors very unhappy. And god forbid you got sued and needed to do electronic discovery of email using Google's "most relevant" search algorithm... when what you need is "exact match".

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@El Limerino

"Wow, I can smell the fear from across teh internets."

That's not fear, child, that's an attempt at educating TheGreatUnwashed[tm] ... and probably yet another example of myself tilting at windmills :-/

"There is nothing inherently secure about keeping your data on your own premises."

Correct. But adding another layer adds another potential point of attack. Always. When that extra layer is not under your control, you have no idea how many more points of attack there may be.

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Go

Even the idiots ...

... have followers.

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Big Brother

Fighting which government ?

«We'll fight the government if we need to fight the government. I think we've proven ourselves over time. Look at the China incident.» Shouldn't that quotation from M Girouard have been amended to read «We'll fight the Chinese government - with the help of Ms Clinton and the US State Department - if we need to fight the Chinese government. I think we've proven ourselves over time. Look at the China incident.» ? Myself I haven't noticed too many incidents lately in which Google demonstrated its independence from the US government. As M Girouard himself admits «That's not to say that a National Security Letter could be issued and we could be forced to turnover data without notifying you». That being said, any company located in the US is bound to obey US law, just as any company with activity in China is bound to obey Chinese law. But it would be seemly if representatives for Google could refrain from ostentatiously displaying anti-government credentials which, when examined closely, are found to be mostly vapourware....

Henri

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FAIL

What would you think of a laptop...

...that doesn't work on planes or trains, only works in densely-populated areas, and only works at any speed if there aren't any other laptops in the area?

That's the reality of cloud apps, and the future of Chrome OS as presently constituted. If you don't have continuous connection to a cell or wi-fi network, you don't have a working machine.

Google needs to develop something akin to an app-equivalent of DropBox: when the network's unavailable, you can continue working locally on the files, which are then synched to the cloud when the network's back in town.

If you still think cloud reliance is a good idea, consider the solar flare that just bounced off the Earth. If it had hit more squarely, you'd have lost your cloud for a while. And therefore your email, docs, spreadsheets, ...

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the correct article title should be....

"Google Apps boss says cloud computing is HIS destiny" <- if we're all stupid enough to buy into the idea, he'll make a cool million (or 10)

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Anonymous Coward

Limits where you can do business...

Being just less than a mile from a major fibre-optic trunk, a little over two miles from the nearest cable TV drop, and 10 miles from the switch (as the telephone lines travel) I can gain access to none of them. My Internet connection is via wireless, specifically Motorola's NextNet technology, which Is OK but, as provided by my ISP and their strategic partnet (more the partner's fault) is subject to packet losses like you wouldn't believe putting performance is all over the map.

Throughput can be as high as 2.5Mb/S but quite often is as low as 50Kb/S. With this kind of performance even an SSH connection to a client's network is painful to use, and VNC must be used in low quality mode to make it useful at all. Likewise using cloud services and storing large documents in someone else's servers would be a nightmare. Then there is the added costs. Sure it sounds good, but getting an ISP to admit that their email server has a problem is a huge pain, I shudder to think about what it will be like to get a cloud-app provider or storage service to admit they cocked up.

Bottom line, my data is mine, it is on my machine, in my RAID 5, on my server. I can use the Internet to get to my machine but I do not HAVE to use the Internet to get at my data or applications. When things break I fix them, but the things that break are here where I am, not in some server-farm in another country.

When he says "And only rarely, he said, will Google be forced to give up your data without your knowledge or against your will" he is saying that they WILL be forced to give up your data without your knowledge and against your will when asked to do so. That it is without your knowledge means you will never be aware of your being spied on. Not good.

Google is great, Android is wonderful, and I even use GMail on occasion... but my business uses my server at my place of business with my backup systems where they are under my control (either directly or indirectly through another). I use open source software and I pay for it because it should continue to exist so that we who rely on Personal Computers are never under the control of those who supply software as a service.

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