Google works on boosting business in India
It’s known for having successfully challenged Microsoft in the consumer space. However, search giant Google has not made much of a dent in the enterprise segment which is Microsoft’s forte.
Revenue from the enterprise division is a fraction of Google’s global earnings. Around 97 per cent of its approximately $25-billion revenue continues to come from search, text and display ads. However, Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard believes the scenario will soon change, with “enterprise being among the fastest-growing segments for us”.
Till six years earlier, around the time Girouard joined Google, the enterprise segment comprised just around 20 people. Today there are over 1,000 employees. “We started very small but, in reality, we made a serious effort to make a dent in the enterprise space only three years back with our cloud (a metaphor for the internet) computing initiatives,” says Girouard.
The Bangalore and Hyderabad (which focuses solely on the enterprise segment) centres in India alone house around 300 engineers and “Google will hire more engineers around the year as we build India into a Centre for Excellence”, adds Google India R&D Director and Country Head Peeyush Ranjan.
While Google addresses global needs out of India, its increased presence here will allow the company to better address the needs of businesses in India, believes Ranjan.
As a first step, Google’s Indian unit and Tata Communications today agreed to join hands to provide web-based business connectivity services to companies in India. They plan to jointly provide business tools such as email, instant messaging, calendar functionality, video and office presentations over the internet using the Google Apps software suite.
Microsoft and IBM dominate the market for enterprise email. This is Google’s attempt to cajole enterprises to make a switch to its cloud-based services. For the same, it has created a tool at its Hyderabad R&D centre. The tool, christened ‘Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange’, has tasted success, according to Girourard. “Around two billion emails have been transferred from Microsoft to Google till date,” he claims.
Meanwhile, Google says it will “soon be a leader in the cloud computing space”. Currently, major players including the search giant Amazon, Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM, HP and Dell are fighting for a share of the enterprise cloud pie. Girouard, however, dismisses the idea of a “private cloud”. Most players other than Google, Amazon and Salesforce are promoting private clouds (wherein companies typically have control on their data) as a more secure option for enterprises.
“The concept of a private cloud is the creation of legacy players (read IBM, Microsoft). We do not believe there are any such segmentations. All our services reside on our millions of data centres, which have many layers of security built in them. These services will help small businesses tremendously, by reducing their cost of doing business to a fraction of their current costs,” asserts Girouard.
The size of the cloud computing infrastructure market is pegged at $42 billion in 2012 — up from $16 billion in 2008, according to research firm IDC. Cloud computing will account for 25 per cent of the net growth of technology from 2011 to 2012, and 30 per cent of growth from 2012 to 2013. The Indian market, according to Springboard Research, will register a compounded annual growth rate of 76 per cent between 2007 and 2011 and reach $260 million in revenue by 2011.
Google is seeing the results. ITs enterprise cloud offerings can be divided into four broad areas. These comprise Enterprise Search, Postini (a company that Google acquired) services, Google Apps, and Earth & Maps. Google Apps is a suite of web-based collaboration applications Google hosts on its servers and provisions to users for free and in a premier edition for $50 per user per year. Google currently has over 30,000 search and two million Google Apps customers, according to Girouard. “In India, around 100,000 businesses have signed up. Moreover, over one million users use Google Apps,” he added.