Steve Sherlock linked to this great video showing the power of web-based applications in collaboration. I mentioned this aspect of online applications in the ongoing series on online applications. The video gives good visual evidence, showing how Google Docs can be used in a real world setting.
Most people are familiar with Google’s Gmail application. It is lightweight, easy to use, and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. It has redefined the word webmail for those of us using it daily. Some reasons: Conversation mode, search, and labels are a few of the tools that make it the killer web-application for most businesses.
Gmail might be the application that launched Google into the web software business, but is certainly wasn’t the last. With more than a baker’s dozen of applications, Google has jumped into this market completely. A few applications overlap with the Zoho list from yesterday, but others are solely Google’s.
Here is the list for Google.
- Search—Web search tool
- Docs—Feature-rich word processor
- Spreadsheets—Fully functioning spreadsheet
- Gmail—Webmail done right
- Calendar—Calendar on steroids
- Page Creator—Web-page creator
- Notebook—Collect all your web “stuff” into one place
- Desktop—Local search, including network drives
- Picasa—Photo software + web photos
- Blogger—Free blogging software
- Groups—Water cooler gathering place
- Web Alerts—See what’s said about your company on the web
- Reader—Bring the web to you
- Maps—Find an address and get directions
- Chat—Real-time communication
The more you look at the features of this new breed of online software applications, the more you see the value. They are very robust and combined with other packages, make up a comprehensive collection of business software. The best part … the cost. All of these Google applications are free to use, even for a company.
I use many of these daily, and find them more than adequate for business use. The newest application I use is Google Alerts. I have set up searches for my name, company, and product lines. Google scours the Internet, gathers every instance of matching criteria and sends me an email with links and brief descriptions of the articles. This keeps me in touch with what is said about me or the company, allowing me to respond or ignore at my discretion.
Are you starting to feel overwhelmed with the choices out there, just waiting for your company to try? First, determine what company processes can benefit from the advantages of online software. Second, run a limited, controlled test with the application to make sure it is capable of doing the job. Third, put together an implementation plan for bringing the application to the rest of the employees.
Next, I’ll show you how the products from Zoho and Google map to your current products. It will give you a better picture of which applications you want to look at first.
Last week, I began a series on web-based applications for businesses, focusing on Google and Zoho. In today’s article I focus on the Zoho product line, showing the diversity of their applications. Next up, I’ll take a closer look at the applications available from Google.
Last night, I received an email from Zoho announcing their new product lineup being announced at the Office 2.0 conference today.
They are announcing the next evolution in their web-based office suite—Zoho Business and Zoho Personal. Below is the news release giving details on the differences between the two products.
Currently, Zoho has a broad set of applications for individuals and business users and today we are categorizing them and defining our business model. To start with, Zoho Applications will be categorized into two – Zoho Personal & Zoho Business.
Zoho Personal is what we offer today for individuals. As we said previously, our applications will continue to remain free for individuals.
Zoho Business (ZB) is the new category we are launching and it is aimed at small & mid-sized businesses. ZB will be available in two versions – Free & Pro. Below are some of the highlights of Zoho Business.
- Company level Admin Console
- Domain Management (for pointing your domains to Zoho Apps)
- Centralized User and Group Management
- Single Sign-on across several Zoho Apps
- Zoho Apps include Writer, Sheet, Show, Wiki, Notebook, Email, Cal, Tasks, Planner, Viewer, Chat etc.
- Customization Options
- Multiple levels of Security including SSL
- Remote Backup
- Telephone Support and more.
Zoho Business is currently in private beta with a planned public beta launch in October, 2007. Pricing is yet to be determined for the Pro version, but if it’s anything like their prices before, I’m sure it will be reasonable. As you can see, they are going after the small to mid-size business customer, moving them directly into the path of Microsoft.