Google hearts IT managers

Google Apps product manager discusses challenges and opportunities

Any plans to create desktop clients to give offline support to Google Apps?

The offline experience is definitely a hole in the product. It's something we're exploring in various ways. Right now, we let people import and export to a [third party] offline client. That's adequate but it's not the endgame. There's nothing I can talk about right now in detail [regarding future plans].

Many express concern over data security in hosted applications in general. How do you address those concerns?

Security has been part of Google's development and operational philosophies from the very start. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the data centres and the infrastructure from external attacks.

Also, Premier Edition lets customers apply their security policies on top of the Google applications. For example, you can use your own authentication systems, so that a company that requires employees to sign in to their e-mail by putting a fingerprint against something can implement that with Google Apps. You can also lock all of the applications to be encrypted and make it such that it's all talking over HTTPS, so that the level of encryption we have for your e-mail and chat sessions is the same you would use for a stock transaction.

How are you doing in terms of mobile access to Google Apps?

It's definitely an area of focus. We have a pretty good reach for Gmail right now with the Gmail mobile application and Gmail mobile browser experience. We're continuing to think across all the applications and figure out how to make the experience better and better on mobile devices. In general, mobile access is an extremely important thing to Google because in so many parts of the world, more people access the Internet by mobile devices than they do by a laptop or PC.

Are you interested in including vertical applications in Google Apps, maybe as options to customers in certain industries?

Our forte and user benefit is in applications that have a very broad appeal, especially within collaboration. That's where you will see a lot of the emphasis. That said, I've been pleasantly surprised about the amount of development that has happened on top of Google Apps since its release. We want to continue encouraging developers to take our platform and a lot of our core components and extend them.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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