Google in 2010 will launch a government cloud that will include Gmail, Google Docs and other software products Google hosts on its servers and provisions to consumers and businesses as a service. Google made the announcement in concert with the launch of the Apps.gov Web store, unveiled by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra at NASA's Ames Research Center.
which is seeking broader adoption of its Google Apps collaboration
applications, said Sept. 15 it plans to create a dedicated cloud computing system for the U.S. government
The government cloud will include the Web services in Google Apps,
a suite that comprises Gmail, Google Docs and other
SAAS (software as a service) products Google hosts on its servers. Google
offers these applications as an alternative to collaboration applications such
as Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus
The government cloud will constitute a "dedicated parallel
environment" to Google's commercial Google Apps cloud for consumers and
enterprises, Matt Glotzbach, director of product management for Google
Enterprise, told eWEEK in an interview.
Data created in this cloud by federal, state and local government agencies
will be hosted on separate servers within existing Google data centers in the United
States. Storing such data on separate
servers makes sense, given all of the sensitive information the government
Google made the government cloud announcement in concert with the launch of the Apps.gov Web store,
which Federal CIO
Vivek Kundra unveiled at NASA's Ames Research
Center Sept. 15. Apps.gov
online storefront through which federal agencies can search for and buy cloud-based
IT services from providers such as Google.
Kundra is well-acquainted with Google Apps. As the CTO
for the District of Columbia,
Kundra in June 2008 inked a contract worth $500,000 a year to give 38,000 government
employees Google Apps
as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Kundra
discussed the switch to Google Apps in this September 2008
With this kind of support and Kundra's promotion to commanding the nation's
federal IT systems, it's no surprise that Google is tailoring a government
"The goal is to meet the unique requirements and policies that the
government has," Glotzbach said. "That being said, it will still be
cloud computing in its truest form-a multitenant cloud."
Google aims to target the 300 million U.S.
government users creating and sharing information on 10,000 IT systems. That is
a fat market for Google, or any enterprise software maker, to target.
Glotzbach said city government employees for the district are heavily using
Google Docs for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation purposes, as well
as the Google Sites wiki application and Google video for businesses. Some of
these users are using Gmail; some are also still using Microsoft Outlook.
Details about Google Apps adoption on the federal level are murkier, given
the sensitivity inherent in anything with that classification. Glotzbach said
more than a dozen agencies are in various stages of pilot and rollout for
Google Apps, but declined to specify which agencies were using what.
Meanwhile, Google isn't the only company cheering on Apps.gov, as Amazon.com
CTO Werner Vogels blogged about the Apps.gov launch
"the federal government among our customers."
Techmeme has more stories on the government
cloud and the Apps.gov store here.
Google Sept. 15 also launched a Google
to help local, state and federal government officials
reach out to citizens.