CNET and others are reporting that Google will officially launch the anticipated subscription-based version of its Google Apps hosted services for businesses. The Google Apps products, previously called Google Apps for Your Domain, also now include Google Docs & Spreadsheets, which combines online word processing and spreadsheets, and they will support Gmail on BlackBerry devices. The $50-per-user-account service will offer more storage and customer support than the free, ad-supported Apps product. (It’s free through April 30.)
If all of this is sounding familiar, it’s because Google first announced it on November 14 of last year. I blogged it then with a post titled, “Google vs. Microsoft vs. Intuit vs. Yahoo! for small businesses update” which includes a screen grab of an account on which the folks at Hammock Labs were testing the service.
Later: InfomationWeek reporter Paul McDougall’s article on the announcement says Google is targeting large corporate customers (i.e., Microsoft’s customers) as well as the small business market.
“But it’s not just penny-pinching small businesses that are eyeing Google Apps. Corporate powerhouses General Electric Co. and Procter & Gamble are among the early adopters. For GE, it’s less about the cost and more about “the easy access that [Google Apps] provides to a suite of Web applications,” said GE chief technology officer Gregory Simpson, in a statement.