Google goes after enterprise with Groups app

It's in another move into the coveted enterprise market

In another assault on the doors of the enterprise, Google Inc. is tailoring its popular Groups application to fit the needs of its corporate customers.

The company is launching Google Groups for its Google Apps Premier and Education Edition users. One of Google's most popular general applications, Google Groups has been tweaked to help business users create groups for their departments, teams or projects, said Rajen Sheth, senior product manager for Google Apps.

"Google Groups is one of our most widely used applications, enabling everyone from the local hiking club to the family next door to create mailing lists and discussion forums," wrote Sheth in a blog post Tuesday night. "Employees can use these groups as mailing lists, but they can also share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, calendars, videos and sites with groups, instead of many individual recipients."

He noted that enterprise Groups users can trade communications through the Groups forum view. They also can dig back through archived information without calling on someone from IT to help them do it.

"Google Groups is just one of the many consumer features that we've tailored for the enterprise since we launched Google Apps for businesses nearly three years ago," Sheth wrote.

Google has had its sights focused squarely on the enterprise this year.

The company, which has launched itself into a heated rivalry with Microsoft Corp., has been pushing its wares into the enterprise at an increasing rate in the last several months. By unveiling applications for the enterprise, Google has the opportunity to not only move into the lucrative enterprise realm but to sock it to Microsoft at the same time.

In this effort, Google has launched Synch for Outlook, enabling people to use Microsoft Outlook but store the data in the Google Apps cloud infrastructure.

This past summer, Google unveiled the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server in another move to make its hosted applications more attractive to business users. That tool is designed to make it easier for BlackBerry users to access hosted Google applications like Gmail , Google Calendar and Contacts.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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