Who puts in a nine-to-five day anymore? Or works on their own? The demands on our time are multiplying, information is increasing exponentially, and there are still only 24 hours in a day. So when you go to work, you don't want to step back 15 years and use outdated tools that slow you down.
The emphasis behind our technologies (like Google Apps) is that we want to free our users from the weight of technology and help them work smarter, better manage their time, find new ways to discover and share knowledge within their businesses and collaborate with others more effectively.
At Google, we feel that cloud, mobile and social are key areas that will transform the way we work.
The movement of computing to the Web is inevitable and will only accelerate in 2012 as many large businesses join Fortune 500 companies in the cloud. We also expect that 2012 will be a huge year in the cloud for small businesses in the region.
Google's computing experience is designed for today's world and built with entirely modern technologies far more powerful than the PC -- from apps to browser to OS to device -- to benefit businesses of all sizes. Our 100 percent focus on the Web allows us to innovate faster while delivering best-in-class reliability, security and support.
In 2011 alone, we've added more than 175 new features to Google Apps, while still delivering 99.99 percent reliability in Gmail. Going forward, we'll further integrate the products in the Apps suite to make the experience more seamless, and we'll accelerate our efforts to make them even faster and more responsive. Our cloud services are another important area of investment, and they will make it easier for you to build scalable Web apps and draw trends from huge amounts of data to make better informed decisions. More than 400,000 active applications already run on App Engine, an increase of more than 70 percent in the last year alone.
Increasing numbers of employees are bringing personal devices to work, and there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all enterprise mobile plan. Forrester Research predicts that in 2012 more than 77 percent of organisations will support Android and iOS devices. Looking at our own customers, more than 90 percent of Google Apps for Business users have deployed or are interested in using Android devices in their organisation, and for good reason; Android version 4.0, called Ice Cream Sandwich, includes powerful enterprise features such as on-device encryption, VPN and Global Address List (GAL) support.
Managing all of these new devices can be very costly. But the cloud democratises expensive enterprise software, making it affordable and easy to use for businesses of all sizes. We've integrated Web-based mobile device management capabilities into Google Apps and recently introduced new features to help you grapple with growing mobile demands.
The best thing about mobile devices is fast and intuitive applications. Our 'mobile-first' strategy means our apps will work first and best across different mobile platforms and allow you to be productive from anywhere. We'll continue to invest heavily in mobile and soon you'll see the products you love work even better on your smartphones and tablets. Beyond our own apps, we foresee many developers increasing their focus on building mobile apps for businesses.
We've made strong progress in bringing some of the best consumer technology to business in areas like email, documents, video and mobile devices. But there's been a glaring exception: social. This despite the fact that businesses are inherently about people and relationships, and the Web is ideally suited to groups collaborating together.
That's changing in a big way. Over the last year, we added features like rich discussions in Docs, and made Google+ available to Apps customers. Google+ is our effort to centre our products around the hundreds of millions of people who use them every day. It promises to reshape all of the services we offer.
Our efforts will focus on two areas in the year ahead. First, on continuing the blistering pace of innovation that is bringing multiple improvements to Google+ every week, while also wrapping Google+ with the controls needed for broader use in large enterprises. Second, on bringing Google+ to the rest of our products: incorporating features that make it easier to connect, share, and integrate with the wider world. The Google+ integrations with Gmail and contacts are one small example of our work to create a seamless and intuitive experience across Google.
Cloud, mobile, social. Fast, lightweight applications that makes it easier to work with others from anywhere. Those are the areas driving our investments for 2012, and transforming the way we work.
Doug Farber is enterprise managing director of Google Asia Pacific.
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