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Yesterday I attended the Google Apps for Business seminar in Sydney at The Ivy in town. There was a large turn out to see Google’s latest cloud offerings and, I guess to understand what their view of the world is.

The speakers were great as was the venue (did you know that The Ivy has a place that can hold around 800+ people???). Since we already use and provide Google Apps products for our customers it wasn’t so much seeing what was on offer but to see how it was portrayed by Google. From this respect what was most impressive was one tongue in cheek scenario that spoke volumes for the power of the cloud. Let me illustrate….

There were 2 technical/product marketing guys on stage. Whilst one of them – lets call him the user – opened his Macbook Pro, and used Google Apps, to draw a big smiley face on screen, the other – the thief – talked about stealing his colleagues laptop. Of course that’s exactly what happened. The thief nicked his laptop and offered it for sale to the crowd. Much laughter around especially when the avid Microsofty Windows audience member bid down the way, instead of up …

And then, lo and behold, one of the new Google Chromebooks appeared and was provided to the user, his replacement for the stolen machine. Pretty normal stuff so far. But when he opened and logged on to the Chromebook, lo and behold, the big smiley face that he’d previously been working on appeared on the screen. Using Google Apps everything is saved in the cloud every 4-6 seconds. A very compelling case for someone like myself that has, in the past, been known to work an hour or two on a document, forgot to save it and next thing the whole thing is lost….

Whilst obviously stage managed for effect, the scenario really struck home when Doug Farber – VP of Google Apps – told us later that 10% of laptops in the USA go missing every year – and it would seem predominantly at US airports! Not only is the cost of these laptops expensive it’s more the data going astray that cause the most angst. With Chrome books this wouldn’t happen, as soon as the computer goes missing you can wipe any data (if there was data held locally) and all data and applications reside in the cloud and therefore nothing goes missing.

I think this is a very interesting point and for me the most important part of the whole seminar. For SME businesses as the price of these laptops/books will be around the $50-$100 a month price point in Australia and will include the necessary software apps in the cloud not only is the cost benefit great the security of information gets better. Think of all the data you have right now in your employees hands on their laptops. What happens if they walk? What happens if the laptop gets stolen? Not good consequences.

And of course we’re pretty excited about getting our hands on one as we can use NetSuite on the Chromebook and it’ll become a real interesting “bundle” for mobile users like sales or service people in the field.

But more on that later…..

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