Google Innovation Event

I spent the day yesterday at the Google Innovation for Businesses event in Atlanta, GA.  The topics covered were squarely focused on the enterprise and, based on the audience, well received by small to mid-sized businesses.

What I found most interesting was not how to apply Google Maps to the business world or how to take advantage of the newly integrated Postini features.  Don’t get me wrong…..that’s all good stuff.  But the coolest parts of the presentation came when Google spoke about how they run their business and what some of their key drivers are.

For example, David Girouard listed 5 notions for innovation.  From Google:

1.  Be open and transparent.

2.  Ideas come from everywhere.

3.  Focus on the user, iterate and improve.

4.  Scale matters a lot.

5.  Security matters even more.

We also got a peek at how MOMA functions.  It was a great advertisement for the Google search appliance.

The point of the entire event was to showcase the Enterprise-level products that Google currently offers.  They are great.  They all work.  Really well.  So why isn’t Google the preferred vendor of choice for email retention, secure messaging, corporate intranets or web security?

The answer is in the cloud.

You see, one of the primary focal points of innovation at Google right now is cloud computing.  That’s obvious to anyone even remotely paying attention.  The problem lies in a corporations willingness to allow their confidential data to be stored with Google and not within their own LAN/WAN infrastructure.

This issue was addressed at the Google Innovation event, albeit not very well.  When talking about security Google said [paraphrasing here]:

Your data is more secure at a Google data center than at your own company.

And they had a few good points to back it up:

  1. The biggest source of lost data is laptops.  On average, 1 in 10 laptops are lost or stolen.  Presumably, very few of these devices have whole-drive encryption (or any encryption for that matter).
  2. Another popular leak of data is the autocomplete feature in Outlook.  You draft a message with confidential information and intend on sending it to “Frederica” (an employee).  Autocomplete accidentally sends it to “Fred” (a vendor) due to your quick fingers.

At the end of the event I was overwhelmed with great ideas regarding how to apply Google products in trying to solve enterprise issues.  I never heard a significantly compelling argument allaying the fears of company confidential information being placed in a third party’s hands (a Google data center, in this case).  I believe Google’s arguments but the Enterprise does not…….well, not yet anyway.