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Google Cloud computing services
Google is clearly a leader and visionary in the cloud computing space. Google's quarterly revenues for quarter ending Sep 2009 were $5.95 billion. The revenues from cloud offering form a miniscule part of Google's over all revenue, but is expected to have exponential growth. Google's services in the cloud computing can be classified as
- In the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) space Google does not have any offering at present.
- In the Software as a Service (SaaS) space Google is a pioneer. Google's services in this space are listed below.
- Google's gmail offers users to host their emails on Google servers, besides providing a web interface to access them. Gmail is free for individuals. For business users, Google offers "Gmail for business". Gmail for business includes 25GB storage space with additional spam filtering and blackberry access. Other facilities provided by gmail includes customizing of your email with company specific colors and logos, and 24/7 support on phone and email. Google also provides tools for migrating from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange.
- Google docs is a web-based software for building documents. It has the functionality to build text documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The feature set of Google docs is smaller than those of Microsoft Office, and many of the complex features are missing. The important features are all there though - tables, bullet points, basic fonts and text size. The look-and-feel is easy to use, and office users find the interface familiar. Setting up Google Docs is pretty straightforward and only takes minutes. A useful feature of Google docs is that it allows multiple users to edit and update the same document, a blessing in this age of collaboration and multi-geography teams. It is also possible to view the change history of documents. One obvious limitation is that it is not possible to use Google Docs without being on the internet. Google docs can import and export files as Microsoft Office format, PDF, text and OpenOffice extensions. Google Docs also included a spellchecker. Notebookreview has a comprehensive review of Google Docs. Other major advantages are that users can continue to work on their documents from any location, and the cost (Google docs is free!!).
- Google calendar is a browser based scheduler. Its feature set is rich and includes daily/weekly/monthly view, multiple calendars for a user, and ability to search events. Upcoming event reminders can be received via SMS, desktop pop-ups or emails. Google calendar is accessible from mobile devices - iPhones, BlackBerries and Windows Mobile. It is also possible to share your calendar with other Google calendar users. By using gears it is possible to get a read-only view of Google calendar offline. Google Calendar Sync allows users to sync Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar.
- Picasa is a free Google tool to edit images. Picasa allows you to upload and share images and videos on Googles data centers. Editing features include red eye detection. Picasa provides 1 GB of diskspace. Picasa has features to add tags to images and allows users to attach locations to photos using Google Maps.
- Google Groups allows users to host discussion forums. Google Groups allow users to create messages online or via email. Access to Google Groups is completely free. Messages are hosted on Googles data center.
All the applications above are accessible over the internet and free for individual users. Google currently charges $50 per user per year for organizations for using Google docs and gmail, offering them advanced features. Google primary source of earnings (more than 95%) are from advertising, however revenues from Googles cloud offerings are growing at a steady pace.
- In the Platform as a Service (PaaS) space Google is a market leader. Google AppEngine is Google's offering in the PaaS space. Google AppEngine is a developer platform hosted on Googles cloud. The initial support on the developer platform was for Python programming language and support for Java is available now. Google has detailed documentation for both Java and Python development platform.
Deploying the code to a cluster and running it is managed by Google. The database available is a non-relational database. Database can be accessed with GQL (Google Query Language). GQL has SQL like syntax.
Google AppEngine enables users to build a basic web application very quickly. Configuring and setting up an application is quick and easy. At present there are some concerns in the developer community for using Google AppEngine for large scale enterprise application development and hosting platform.