ANALYSIS: Google Video â revolution or evolution?
This new addition to its application suite, Google Apps, is targeting corporate users and being promoted as 'the YouTube of business'. âWhat YouTube did in the consumer world, Google Video for business is going to do for the enterprise,â claims Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google's enterprise division.
With over 500,000 businesses worldwide using Google Apps and 3,000 businesses signing up every day, Google Video's success seems assured.
Google says it enables businesses to use the âpower and intimacy of videoâ to communicate a variety of corporate information
including corporate announcements; training and how-to videos; customer insight and social videos.
It is promoting the new service as foolproof, claiming anyone can use it to share videos in two easy steps â upload the video to Google Apps, then invite colleagues to view it. âOur customers get the ease of YouTube combined with the simple and secure sharing of Google Apps,â says Dave Girouard, president of enterprise, Google.
Yet some industry experts aren't convinced. Despite being hailed as an enterprise solution, the application is more of an evolution than a revolution, says BroadView director Jake Ward. Where the success of YouTube is around its easy video sharing capability, Google Video is limited to in-house use, and restricted as a client-marketing tool. âIf it was a true 'YouTube for business', that would be interesting, but Google Video is too internal,â adds Ward. Businesses can share videos with the public through hosting a page on the original YouTube, he points out.
Jon Pollard, head of group operations at Mighty Mouse Digital (part of Gyro) can see the benefits for social videos or internal marketing, but adds, âReal commercial use, such as sorting and distributing internal training videos or corporate comms, requires organisational commitment over and above using an office suite that happens to have video sharing bundled into it.â
Ward agrees the application is good for social sharing, but says it is not comparable to âtrueâ corporate video platforms such as Cisco Enterprise TV or IVT's Primetime. While these competitor programs come at a higher price, they have advanced functionality, including higher-quality video and live streaming. âGoogle Video is suitable for peer-to-peer communication, but not a big set piece,â Ward says.
However, he says Google Video could be useful in giving in-house marketing a personal touch, and could work well to disperse company information amongst employees. âFor small companies it could be a real enabler allowing them to not only improve internal communications but share best practice,â he adds.
Who is it good for?
While Google says it is targeting âany size of business that would benefit from the use of collaborative applications,â critics feel the offering might not have appeal for all markets.
âI don't think large companies will be interested straight away,â says Bond, but suggests those âon the larger endâ of the SME scale might go for it due to its affordability. Pollard agrees small and medium-sized businesses that want an office suite with minimal licensing and infrastructure costs would be the ideal target. âHowever, the addition of video and other developments of the Apps suite suggest Google could realistically push the target upwards towards the large enterprise level if they promote it well enough,â he says.
Although calling Google Video the 'YouTube for business' may be misguiding, the technology giant's latest addition will certainly find its home in businesses. Although external marketing with this version of the application is not possible, future versions would do well to incorporate such functionality. In the meantime, Google Video is an affordable, easy-to-use solution for creatively communicating within a company, and may help more businesses leverage the benefits of web TV.
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