Google vs. Microsoft vs. Intuit vs. Yahoo! for small businesses update

On Monday, Google responded to Microsoft’s announcement two week’s ago of Office Live. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s products are growing suites of hosted web applications and services bundled together for the small business market. While Google’s services will look familiar to anyone who has used G-Mail or the Google calendar, there is an obvious difference: the services utilize a domain mapping scheme that replaces the Google URL with that of the small business.

The Microsoft product announced on October 31 is robust sounding (and only available for Windows users using IE, so my ability to review it is zilch). In addition to the “free” version (that includes a free domain name hosted by Microsoft), there are two premium tiers that offer additional storage and features.

Google’s announcement today is rather subdued by comparison to the full feature set announced by Microsoft: essentially, that its recently announced beta for offering a hosted private-branded G-mail service for small businesses will be expanded to include additional “Google Apps for Your Domain” features. These features include the following hosted services:

  • Gmail hosted email (@yourdomain.com)
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Talk instant messaging
  • Google Page Creator (for simple web page design)
  • A branded “Start Page” (a customizable home page where a company’s users can log in to their email and other services)
  • An administrative control panel
  • As I mentioned in my earlier post, it is just a matter of time before the existing Google services and a few more are bundled together under a brand (most likely Google office — or something a little more inventive than the current “Google Apps for Your Domain”) and marketed as a simple web application suite of services for small businesses.

    Below is a screen grab of my very empty hammockpublishing.com e-mail inbox hosted by Google. Director of Hackology Patrick Ragsdale and I are messing around with it and will keep you posted as features are added. (Note: the company’s primary domain is hammock.com)

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    About Rex Hammock

    Founder/ceo of Hammock Inc., the customer media and content company based in Nashville, Tenn. Creator of and head-helper at SmallBusiness.com.
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