MIAMI, 2 SEPTEMBER 2008 - Google has added a video sharing component to its Apps Premier suite of hosted communication and collaboration software, betting that companies will find it useful for a variety of workplace uses.
The Google Video service was due to debut in Apps Premier on Tuesday, allowing end-users to upload clips and share them with co-workers using an interface very similar to Google's YouTube, the most popular video sharing service in the consumer market.
Apps Premier is the fee-based version of the suite, which also has free editions like Standard and Education. Google is adding the video application without raising the price of Apps Premier, which costs US$50 per user per year.
As online video has gone mainstream among consumers, Google believes that organizations of all sizes will benefit from extending their communication with employees via clips for purposes like training, company announcements and broadcasting company events.
Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google Enterprise, said Apps Premier's video application will change how people collaborate at work. Like the rest of Apps Premier, it is designed to be simple enough for all employees to use it.
Each clip can be up to 300M bytes in size, and Apps Premier subscribers get 3G-bytes of video storage per user account. Administrators will have a variety of controls over the service, such as being able to edit or remove clips, generate usage reports and create tag taxonomies.
The Apps Education edition will also gain video capabilities as a free trial between Sept. 8 and March 9 next year. Afterward, it will cost $10 per user per year.
Google is confident that the video application will give Apps Premier a significant differentiator in the market, since the cost of implementing and running a video-upload and -sharing system puts it beyond the means of most businesses.
The Apps Premier video service will run off the same infrastructure as YouTube and use that service's technology for flagging copyright and inappropriate content, Glotzbach said.
The Apps suite also includes Gmail; Talk; Calendar; Sites; the Docs word processing, spreadsheet and presentations software; and other applications.
With Apps, Google is championing the popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, in which vendors host applications in their data centers and deliver them via the Internet. The SaaS approach is seen by its backers as the future of software, which has traditionally been installed by customers on their own facilities and hardware.
Delivering applications from the Internet "cloud" reduces the effort and cost customers have to invest in installing and maintaining software. In addition, these Web-hosted applications are designed to promote and simplify how co-workers share and collaborate, since documents reside on a central server and not on individual PCs.
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