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Google Tailors YouTube for Suits

Google Tailors YouTube for Suits

Google is offering businesses an inexpensive, user-friendly way to share internal videos. Its new "Google Video for Business" is essentially YouTube for the enterprise crowd -- same interface, but it allows posted material to circulate only among designated internal recipients.

By Erika Morphy
09/02/08 3:43 PM PT

Google is adding a video-sharing application called "Google Video for Business" to its Google Apps suite.

It is designed to be a channel for companies to communicate internally with their employees. There are a number of use cases for the Software as a Service application, according to Google: It can be used for training; for making corporate announcements more personal; and for sharing information in the familiar YouTube format without making it public.

The application is available as part of the Google Apps Premier Edition, at no additional cost. Users pay about US$50 per month for the suite.

Limited Market

Google Video for Business is unlikely to advance the company's share of the desktop application market. For starters, the demand for internal corporate video services is very limited.

"This is an internal communications tool for the Google Apps platform," Benjamin Wayne, CEO of Fliqz, told the E-Commerce Times.

Fliqz provides the same functionality, but it is a narrow slice of its offerings, he said. "It is not a critical part of the online video market."

That assessment is echoed by Alvin Estevez, founder of Enigma Software Group, makers of Spyhunter security software.

"We use YouTube for our marketing," he told the E-Commerce Times. "It is a far superior product than Google Video, by the way, in terms of the eyeballs it can deliver." The company also uses a Microsoft media video-streaming service for internal videos, but does not consider it a core application.

User-Friendly Enough?

Would Estevez make the shift? "It would depend on how easy it is to use," he said.

In that respect, at least, Google should have a leg up on the competition. It is not for nothing that it is comparing its new product to YouTube, a site known for its easy use.

"What Google has done is repackaged YouTube so it has a slightly different face," Wayne said, "but the functionality is essentially the same."

Indeed, one reason enterprise video usage hasn't taken off as much as expected is that many of the existing products are difficult to use, according to Richard MacManus.

"Up till now enterprises have been using mostly person-to-person and text-based communication to collaborate," he wrote. "Video hasn't taken off in a big way, perhaps because enterprise video solutions haven't been packaged as easy-to-use consumer-like tools."

Google has to cover a lot of ground to catch up with Microsoft in the enterprise software space, but this product is likely to push it closer to that goal, MacManus said.

No company is better placed than Google to exploit the gap in easy to use offerings, he notes, as Google owns the world's most popular consumer online video app -- YouTube -- and has become the leading Web Office vendor.

The Cloud Computing Factor

Microsoft, Adobe and Cisco have all been in the enterprise video space for a number of years, along with smaller players such as Veodia, said Dan Shust, director of emerging media for Resource Interactive.

"What makes Google's approach different is its reliance on cloud computing for a much easier implementation," he told the E-Commerce Times, with no special video server required.

"Couple that with strong YouTube familiarity and the fact that Google already has a huge user base for the paid version of their hosted apps and I think business adoption will be high," Shust predicted.

Google will also break down another barrier to greater enterprise adoption, he expects. "Video has always been recognized as an excellent way for the enterprise to disseminate information -- but even in the digital age, costs for production, storage and delivery are high. Google's pricing model effectively eliminates all but the video production costs, and makes Google's Video for Business solution hard to ignore."


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