Google Works Through Its Punch List

Google is set to release Google Voice for business, expand Google Wave, and release 200 or so Google Apps. The goal is a communications mesh for business that provides UCC as a function of its ubiquitous Web-based platform. It’s confusing, audacious — and takes direct aim at incumbent UC vendors.

Contractors create what some call “punch lists” of tasks that they must complete on a particular job. Finish something, punch it off the list.

Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard this week discussed important items on its punch list with Clint Boulton at eWEEK. The company, he told Boulton, plans to release a version of Google Voice for business, offer Google Wave widely, and add 200 or so Google Apps this year.

The gauntlet definitely has been thrown down. Writes Boulton:

Google Voice offered as part of Google Apps could be a powerful combination for businesses in the market for a UCC (unified communications and collaboration) suite, particularly at a time when companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for UCC from Microsoft or IBM.

This eventually leads to the question of what an organization should think about when considering choosing a hosted, cloud or on-premise approach to UC/UCC. The decision-making process is growing in complexity as cloud approaches mature and the lines between the delivery platforms blur.

Google is front and center in this struggle, which will shape the future of UC. At the end of last year, I blogged on the company’s approach to UC. The important content in that post wasn’t my two cents – it was the associated links. Google has a long list of collaboration and communications tools that are starting to come into focus as a potent, if somewhat diffuse, UC platform. The links describe what they are and, in the big picture, what they mean.

A business version of Google Voice is a major move on the road to a cohesive UCC platform from Google. The next items on Google’s punch list should focus on enterprise-level presence – one option is technology from Esnatech — and escalation. These are items that many consider to be differentiating characteristics of UC.

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