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Google: 10 ways the cloud is good for business

At Office 2.0 conference, Matthew Glotzbach of Google tells us why the company's direction is the way of the future for business.

Matthew Glotzbach from Google's enterprise products group took the stage at the Office 2.0 conference Thursday with a talk called, "10 Things I could do in the cloud today that I couldn't do a year ago."

10. Everything on the go. Glotzbach showed a picture of the iPhone, and talked about how smartphones let us do "almost anything" from the mobile phone. Of course, Glotzbach's online life is "almost entirely in the cloud," since he's a Googlehead, but he's right. Smartphones with access to tools like Google Docs are workable backups to full-sized computers.

Google's Matthew Glotzbach at the Office 2.0 conference. Rafe Needleman / CNET

9. Search through all my e-mail. I take issue with this claim, since I, like many other corporate e-mail users, are slaves to Exchange, and while I can occasionally get a search to run on my PC's archive of mail when I'm looking for something, I don't have access to that data when I really need it: on my iPhone.

Glotzbach also talked about how IMAP (Internet Mail Access Protocol) opens up e-mail access to other interfaces, like Web-based and mobile clients.

8. Chat with customers and partners in any language. The real-time translation service in Google Talk has make collaborations possible that weren't before. Good point. Glotzbach did a demo on stage, showing how one invites a translator bot into a chat and uses that connection to talk with a person who speaks another language.

"It's a service you can mash up with," Glotzbach said. So "Why don't you have this in Zimbra or Google Docs?" he challenged.

7. Collaborate simply and securely on projects with Sites and Docs . It's one place for him to go to create and store project info, and it can be easily opened up to partners and other stakeholders (like journalists or the public) when needed. It helps "streamline the communication flow," he said. In this case I agree: I'm using Google Docs now for collaborating on documents inside the CNET workgroup, and when I need to share files outside of our walls, it's just as simple.

6. Organize all my business travel with e-mail. This was Glotzbach's paean to Tripit, which is a pretty cool service I also recommend. It's cool, he says, because it uses a communication method we already have, e-mail, to make things simpler for everyone. One wonders if Tripit might find itself in the Google stable at some point soon.

5. Easily collect data from co-workers and customers in forms. Google recently added a forms collection tool to Google Spreadsheets. It's a good feature. Glotzbach demonstrated how easy it is to embed a form in a blog.

See also Wufoo.

4. Build any scalable business application on the cloud platform. "Everybody's got really good ideas," Glotzbach says, but they don't have the capital or skills "to operate a large-scale computing environment." But with cloud services from Google, Amazon, Salesforce, and the like, more companies can build scalable businesses with far fewer resources. Glotzbach says that these platforms are also useful for building mobile apps.

3. Use online templates for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. OK. Not exactly a new feature, since nearly all productivity software has this capability, too.

2. Run fast, secure, and stable Web applications. "Chrome was really a leap forward," in terms of speed, stability, and so on, Glotzbach says. "Anyone not seen or used it yet?" At which point all the Mac users in the audience raised their hands. Basically this bullet point was just a quick demo of the browser Google just announced. Glotzbach reinforced how important the browser's speed improvements are for the development of Web apps for everyone.

1. Securely share video in Apps. Really, this is No. 1? In fairness, it's a nice feature, and the launch of it was overshadowed by the Chrome launch, but I was rather hoping Glotzbach had a more rousing No. 1 point here.

Glotzbach closed by talking about how adoption of Google's business suite, Apps. is taking off. There's a hockey stick chart of growth, he said, and it's actual use, not just sign-ups. He also said 3,000 new businesses sign up for Google's Apps every day.