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In Google Capgemini Trusts

Google Apps Premier Edition got the stamp of approval from technology consulting and outsourcing firm Capgemini today. It's a big deal for Google, industry watchers say, because corporate CIOs don't all trust Web-based services yet. Capgemini, however, is a trusted name.

Capgemini said it will include Google's Web-based applications, including Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk, as a part of its Global Outsourcing desktop offering. The product covers product procurement, installation, deployment and management, according to a statement.

Launched in February, Google Apps Premier Edition also includes 10 gigabytes of storage per user and phone support, and it guarantees that e-mail will be available 99.9 percent of the time. Google also offers application-level control for administrators who want to adapt services, such as calendars or spreadsheets to business policies.

Until now, Google positioned Google Apps Premier Edition as a product for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs). But that will start to shift today, Google spokesman Emmanuel Evita told InternetNews.com.

"As the first Google Enterprise Professional partner with global expertise in the integration of collaboration solutions for large enterprises, Capgemini is a great fit to help our larger customers take full advantage of the power of Google Apps Premier Edition," Evita said.

Forrester Research analyst Ray Wang told InternetNews.com he buys the hype. Capgemini will be a great fit for Google, Wang said, because the technology consulting firm is a name corporate buyers will trust.

Wang said that one of the reasons Yahoo Enterprise failed was that it went to the enterprise with a direct sales force, and corporate CIOs didn't trust a Web company with their software.

If, however, a trusted adviser such as Capgemini introduces corporate buyers to Web-based applications, vouching for their security and utility, "that's a whole different game," Wang said.

Whenever Google makes a push for the enterprise, the question always comes up as to how much the move will impact market leader Microsoft. Typically the answer is not much.

But this time, Wang said, Google might have found a market more ready to migrate from Microsoft than most.

Wang said Capgemini's strength is in Europe, where the enterprise is more eager to try out software-as-a-service (SaaS). According to a recent study Wang authored for Forrester, 13 percent of European large enterprises are "currently or planning to pilot" SaaS. In North America, that number is only 8 percent.

And according to the study, those European businesses are looking for what Capgemini and Google will offer. At European businesses of all sizes using or piloting SaaS, 52 percent are using messaging, e-mail and calendar applications similar to Google Apps Premier Edition.

In July, Google acquired security firm Postini to protect, encrypt, archive and enforce policies for the Web applications included in Google Apps Premier Edition.