If you're going to port an application to mobile enterprise workers, what better starting point than with RIM's BlackBerry platform?
Google this week said it has issued new installation packages for Google Maps for mobile in enterprises, which will let IT administrators push the popular Google mobile mapping software to employees through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
Employees in an unfamiliar place will be able to access Street View and walking directions, which I can say from personal experience come in handy when you're traipsing around a new city or a part of a city that is foreign to you. Ryan Pollock, from the Google Mobile team, wrote:
"Perhaps you use a BlackBerry issued by your company. If you do, hopefully you search the Web with Google and get directions using Google Maps. Your BlackBerry is likely administered by IT managers who whitelist what software you can install on the device. In many cases, IT managers haven't whitelisted Google Maps for mobile or other Google Mobile applications."
IT managers haven't whitelisted Google Maps for mobile and other Google mobile apps because there is a fear and loathing about whether Google can adequately serve enterprises or not.
Google was born as a consumer search provider and spent most of the first half of its life catering purely to consumers, and has made people paranoid about the data it harvests.
Naturally, businesses have a hard time just picking Google. Moreover, Google makes Web apps, which are enough to scare of most businesses more comfortable with client/server operations.
Anyway, Google can help bolster its position in businesses by aligning itself with enterprise-tested providers, and you can't be RIM in mobile enterprise. Forrester Research's Ted Schadler wrote in a recent research note:
"BlackBerry is rightfully proud of its "push" messaging architecture and global network operations center. The BlackBerry platform's ability to send e-mail, messages, content, data, and application updates to the smartphone makes it the best candidate today for delivering enterprise-protected collaboration applications."
High praise for BlackBerry indeed. The question is whether or not Google over the next few years will be able to invoke similar praise for Android, which right now is safe enough for enabling things like Google Book Search with bar code scanning software.
Sure, the T-Mobile G1 is a consumer device, but you have to think Google will take a page out of RIM's book to help Android support enterprise mobility.
Until then, expect Google to continue to follow RIM's lead.