My Dinner With Google - InformationWeek

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1/26/2007
06:57 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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My Dinner With Google

I drove from San Francisco down to Mountain View last night to attend a dinner with members of the Google Apps and Google Enterprise teams. I rented a Zip Car for the occasion, since my car wasn't available and public transport wasn't an option. The car was a Cooper Mini. It's a fun little car. It had XM Radio and I have to say I was impressed with the sound quality. But I digress.

I drove from San Francisco down to Mountain View last night to attend a dinner with members of the Google Apps and Google Enterprise teams.

I rented a Zip Car for the occasion, since my car wasn't available and public transport wasn't an option. The car was a Cooper Mini. It's a fun little car. It had XM Radio and I have to say I was impressed with the sound quality. But I digress.I pulled into a much-diminished Google parking lot about 6 p.m. Many of the parking spaces were cordoned by a chain-link fence to accommodate construction equipment used in Google's ongoing solar conversion.

Upon arriving in Building 43, where the dinner was held, I was dismayed to see that Googe's mock plan for world domination had been removed from the whiteboard on the far wall. However, a newly arrived full-size replica of SpaceShipOne hung from the ceiling, so the visit wasn't without spectacle. I was told Larry Page had purchased it personally and donated it, not wanting to spend corporate funds on something that had nothing to do with the company's business. (In fact, given Google's ties to NASA, it might not have been such an outlandish business expense.)

Attending the dinner were Joe Kraus, formerly the CEO of JotSpot, now a director of product management; Rajen Sheth, product manager of Google Apps for Your Domain; Sam Schillace, formerly CEO of Writely, now product manager of Google Docs & Spreadsheets; Raju Gulabani, director of product management of Google Apps for Your Domain; Jeff Huber, VP of engineering; Dave Girouard, VP and general manager of Google Enterprise; and Matt Glotzbach, product manager for Google Enterprise. And making sure we didn't ask too many questions about unannounced products, several members of the Google PR strike force were there, too.

And the big announcement of the evening? Not much. We were there for some friendly conversation, good food, and low-key evangelism. If there was a reason for the event, beyond the fact that well-fed journalists are more easily domesticated, it was to convey Google's seriousness about its online collaboration apps. Consider: Google now manages more than 100,000 domains as part of Google Apps For Your Domain. There are a lot of universities and large organizations trying the company's online word processing, e-mail, calendar, and spreadsheet apps. Companies of all sizes are adopting them, too.

How many? Google won't say. But the subtext of the evening was that online productivity apps represent a major focus at Google in addition to search. Expect to hear more about Google Docs and related products throughout the year and beyond.

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