Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has upgraded its mobile-device-management services for smartphones and tablets based on its own Android operating system, as well as Apple's iOS and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile platforms.
The company made MDM software available for free to customers of its paid Google Apps for Business, Government and Education suites of cloud collaboration software, which Google hosts on its own servers.
Google Apps customers can now manage Android, iOS and Windows Mobile devices from the Google Apps control panel without requiring additional MDM software from the likes of Good Technology, MobileIron or other purveyors in the space.
Through the Apps control panel, IT administrators can get a glimpse of all mobile devices that are syncing with Google Apps, and revoke access to individual devices in the event that employees leave the company. Administrators may also define password requirements and roaming sync preferences by user group, and view analytics information, such as how much data devices are impacting the corporate network.
Google also updated its Google Apps Device Policy application for Android with support for Android 4.0, the "Ice Cream Sandwich" build rolling out with Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
For Google, providing MDM is crucial to boosting Google Apps' viability for enterprises at a time when more and more employees are using their own Android smartphones and iPhones in the workplace.
It's the type of provision that can make or break contracts for Google, which is vying for mobile market share versus Apple, Research in Motion and Microsoft.
Google Enterprise Vice President of Product Management Dave Girouard made the announcement Nov. 14 at Google Atmosphere, the company's cloud-computing pow-wow for CIOs.
The focus of this year's event revolved around the confluence of mobile, social and "big data," which are all contributing to the growing need for business intelligence and other software that can crunch, compile and make sense of massive amounts of information.
Speaking of big data, Girouard at the event also announced that Google BigQuery Service, which is designed to process for massive amounts of data analytics, has emerged from limited developer preview. It now has a graphical user interface for analysts and developers to churn through loads of data via a Web application.
Moreover, the new REST API lets intrepid data scientists run multiple jobs in the background and better manage tables and permissions. BigQuery is available free of charge for now.
Atmosphere was also the stage for a little competitive posturing by Google. Responding to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's claim that his company's Office 365 alternative to Google Apps is "winning" against Google, Google Vice President of Enterprise Sales and Operations Amit Singh said Google is taking business from its rival.
"Thousands of customers every day are turning off their Microsoft servers and moving to Google Apps," Singh said during the event. "I think we're doing a bit of winning ourselves."