Acting on its belief that secure video applications are a glaring hole in most enterprises today, Google on Sept. 2 introduced a new video application for its paid Google Apps Premier Edition software as a service suite.
Available in GAPE for no extra cost, Google Video for business leverages the same cloud infrastructure from Google's YouTube property to let users upload videos to Google Apps through a Web browser and share them with coworkers and colleagues.
Prior to this app, users could upload YouTube videos to Google Apps such as Docs and Sites, but they were public for all to see. Google Video for businesses lets workers pick and choose with whom they want to share what videos.
It's these granular control capabilities, stitched on from Google Docs, that make Google Video for businesses a more valuable tool for enterprise workers. Companies require discretion in sharing corporate announcements from executives, product training videos or customer insights, Matthew Glotzbach, product management director for Google Enterprise, told me last week.
"Think of it as private-label YouTube for your domain, with security in place so you can control who has access to what video," Glotzbach said.
Google Video for businesses comes at a time when video content is being shared at a record level, thanks largely to the popularity of YouTube among consumers. By Google's calculation, millions of people upload some 13 hours of video to YouTube per minute.
Moreover, inexpensive new devices, such as Flip video cameras, make it a snap for users with no video production capabilities to shoot footage, e-mail them to friends and colleagues, and upload them to YouTube or other video sharing sites.
Glotzbach said the use in the consumer sector, as it does with many high-tech technologies, is bleeding over into the enterprise, where video production has traditionally been more complex, proprietary and expensive.
Google Video for businesses is simple to use. Users go to the Google Video for businesses page, browse to find a video and upload it.
Users embed videos in internal Web pages, including Google Sites, and invite individuals or groups to collaborate on them, which means they may edit the metadata, such as tags and other descriptions.
Users can also invite viewers; these users can't edit the metadata as collaborators can, but every invitee may rate and add comments to videos and download them to smart phones.
Those who upload videos can add titles, dates, descriptions and tags to make them more easily searchable. Google has integrated its search technology to Google video for businesses, making it relatively easy for users to find what they're looking for within the company's app.
Google Video for business is available now in English in GAPE, with each GAPE domain getting 3 gigabytes of video storage per user. Also, on Sept. 8, Google Video for businesses will be available to Google's Apps for Education customers. EDU customers will have access to a six-month trial after which Google will charge $10 per user per year for universities to elect to keep it.
Google Video for businesses is a smart move by Google, and not just because adding a free, secure video app is the right thing to do to get more users for Google Apps. By making Video for businesses part of the paid GAPE offering, we'll really get to see just how important video collaboration capabilities are to businesses.
I told Glotzbach that if Google sees an uptick to GAPE, the company will be on to something. He agreed, noting it will be a differentiator in GAPE for larger businesses. He added that smaller businesses, such as five person shops, seem to be happy using YouTube in Google Sites when they need to share video.
At the same time, expect these new video capabilities to eventually filter down to Google Apps Standard Edition. That's my prediction. Standard edition users will hear how great it is and will force Google to bring to the fremium model.