Is Google Pack for the Enterprise?

News Analysis: The software bundle is aimed at consumers, but given Google's ultimate goal of front-end dominance, enterprise use is not far off, observers say.

Google Pack, a bundle of software from Google Inc. and other companies that was announced by the Web giant on Friday, is aimed squarely at consumers.

But Googles goal is to be the front end for everything people do on a computer, and enterprise use is not far off, analysts and solution providers said.

Google executives described the pack as a means to improve the user experience online, by providing enhanced performance and protection for Web surfers, such as eliminating spyware that inhibits Web surfing.

But outside observers said the release is a move to embed the Google brand on desktops.

"This is more about whats to come than what theyre presenting today," said Allen Weiner, a search engine analyst at Gartner Group Inc.

"They want to be the front end of a powerful ecosystem and they want control of your desktop to do it. Everything you do—listen to music, word processing—they want search to be a part of it. Then they can monetize it later. But first they have to get placement on your desktop and this is that link."

Weiner said he suspects Google has more utilities coming, including productivity tools such as an open-source word processor or spreadsheet program. ("Imagine what you could do if spell check were connected to Googles search engine," he said.)

Once embedded in the consumer space, its only a short leap to corporate use, several onlookers said.

"Theres no longer a distinct boundary between home and office, and consumer behavior often invades the workplace," said Sue Feldman, a content management and retrieval analyst at IDC Group.

"When people get used to doing something a certain way at home, it changes their expectations of doing it at work. For years people were searching the Web at home with a search box, and they finally asked, Why do I have to type in a three-line Boolean query to find something at the office?"

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Because of Googles tremendous collection of data, it becomes much more than a search retrieval, Feldman said.

"So much of human behavior is now aggregated on Google and theres more every day," she said, adding that functions such as calendars, conferencing, geo-location and CRM (customer relationship management) linked to Google technology are conceivable.

Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc., in Wayland, Mass., said largely consumer-oriented companies such as Google could make a play in the enterprise space, given the proper presentation of their software.

"Desktop search is something thats very useful if you are an individual" working in a corporation, Kay said. "Enterprises can take advantage of well-developed, simplified services."

Google already manufactures enterprise search products—Google Search Appliance, Google Mini, Google Desktop Search for Enterprise—and Google Earth Pro for business users.

Next Page: Google packs a grab bag.