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Google goes after the enterprise, but at I/O, proof is MIA

Sharon Gaudin | May 23, 2016
Google exec says company is increasingly focused on building for the enterprise

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Google executives say the company isn't the consumer-oriented business of its youth.

Now, they say, Google is focused on the enterprise.

But some users and industry analysts attending Google I/O here last week said they didn't see evidence of a business focus at the developer conference.

"You don't see it in the announcements. You don't really see it in the sessions," said Jorel Perez, a San Antonio-based mobile web developer who works for a Fortune 500 financial services company. "When we go to a conference, we have to say why we're going and why it will be beneficial. I would like to be able to hear something here that I could go back and say, 'Here's something that will immediately bring value across the enterprise.' That's just not going to happen."

More than 7,000 developers, industry analysts and press attended Google's annual conference to hear about what the company is working on.

There were presentations on digital personal assistants with Google Assistant and Google Home, virtual reality and an artificial intelligence-driven chat app called Allo and a video app named Duo. There were updates to the Android mobile operating system and news about a custom chip for its machine-learning systems.

Many of those announcements were focused squarely on the consumer.

While artificial intelligence, Android and Chrome all have enterprise uses, there was a dearth of discussion on the enterprise in the keynote speeches and in the sessions that followed.

"I really didn't feel like the enterprise was the star of the show," said Chris Plachta, an Android developer who works for a Chicago-based Fortune 500 company. "But I did see some improvements in some of the enterprise offerings, like Android for Work. And I see many of the new cloud offerings could make their way into the enterprise."

On the other hand, it was somewhat frustrating for a developer who works for a large company not to hear much news about what Google is doing for the enterprise, he said.

"At Google I/O, we get to see so many awesome new innovations, and there are so many things that I would like to start using immediately, but if Google doesn't make it easy to either integrate with or replace what many large businesses currently have, it makes it difficult to convince the business why it's worthwhile… They're still mainly focused on the consumer."

Google, however, sees the enterprise as a growing part of its business.

When Rajen Sheth, a product manager of Google Enterprise, joined the Enterprise team 12 years ago, there were 25 people. Today, he told Computerworld, there are thousands.


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