back to article 'Google's crap for business' - CIOs give ad giant dose of reality

UK CIOs don't consider Google a valuable enterprise supplier, according to a new survey. Of the heads of IT of large British firms surveyed by bean counters at the Corporate IT Forum, more than half saw the Chocolate Factory as a company suitable for ordinary punters. Just five per cent think that it's a credible supplier to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apples and oranges?

    The article doesn't provide enough information, but I have to assume that CIOs were comparing Google's (necessarily) online offerings with traditional Microsoft desktop software and related services. I haven't met anyone who rates Microsoft's online services favourably; and Outlook Web Access is frankly crap* in comparison with GMail (although "webmail" and "enterprise" hardly belong in the same sentence).

    *My PHB tells me that OWA is "much better" under IE, but I can't be arsed to check, as webmail is rather pointless if it doesn't work decently on all modern standards-compliant browsers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apples and oranges?

      guess your running 2003 servers as the newer versions are far better and give a near identical outlook experience.

      Sure, OWA on a none IE browser is cut down, but so is Iphones exchange and no doubt others but I suspect you wouldn't compain.

      As for the article, google is geared up for the masses. We use maps and street view prior to a visit to save time but use no other tools.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Near identical"?

        You mean, like the inability to set basic account options (like forwarding rules) from any browser other than IE running on a Windows OS? That's not "near identical", that's crippleware.

        1. RICHTO

          Re: "Near identical"?

          Yes, a crippleware browser on your system.

          To use the complete set of features available in Outlook Web App and the Exchange Control Panel, you can use the following browsers on a computer running Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista or Windows 7:

          Internet Explorer 7 and later versions.

          Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.

          Chrome and later versions.

          On a computer running Mac OS X 10.5 and later versions, you can use:

          Safari 3.1 and later versions.

          Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.

          On a computer running Linux, you can use:

          Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Near identical"?

            Your assertion about browser compatibility is simply untrue.

            Both the "standard" multi-pane Outlook interface and most options (including critical items, like rules) are only accessible on OWA 2007 when accessing it via IE6+ on WIndows. All other browsers (regardless of OS) can use only the crippled "Outlook Web Access Light" client.

            Now, roll up your astroturf and crawl back under your bridge.

            1. n4blue

              @AC 19:36 Re: "Near identical"?

              What you say about OWA 2007 may be true. All I can say is that OWA from Exchange Server 2010 looks like it has the full functionality, including rules, under Chrome. I just checked.

              I prefer IE9 to Chrome anyway but that's another story.

            2. RICHTO

              Re: "Near identical"?

              Totally wrong. That compatibility list is from Microsoft and refers to using the FULL OWA CLIENT.

            3. James Prior

              Re: "Near identical"?

              As a user of OWA when on the move I can say with confidence that when using Exchange 2010 the experience is the same in IE8 and Chrome - all the rules and other Exchange tools work perfectly - it even looks identical. Can't vouch for Exchange 2007 which a fair few have mentioned.

              1. M. B.

                Re: "Near identical"?

                It is true, under Exchange 2007 the premium OWA experience is only available on Internet Explorer.

                Exchange 2010 binned that requirement, OWA works great on Chrome and Firefox as well.

            4. Joe Blogs

              Re: "Near identical"?

              Why don't you help him roll up his astroturf while trying to use all the features of Gmail on a non-Chrome browser...what's that? you can't? You mean that Chrome (Written by Google) is the best browser for accessing Gmail (written by Google)? Wow - whooda thunk? Imaging that - people who write browsers and then email system write those email systems to work best in the browsers they write... whats' the world coming to?

    2. RICHTO

      Re: Apples and oranges?

      I think it far more likely CIOs would have been comparing Google to Microsoft's equivalent services - Office 365.

      I havnt met anyone who uses Office 365 who rates it badly! And is simply better than Gmail, and doesnt have Google reading all your emails...

      1. David 164

        Re: Apples and oranges?

        Actually Microsoft does read your emails, they even state so in their new terms and conditions, which, just like Google, have been made the same across all of there online products. Hardly herd a whisper from the press about that through.

        1. RICHTO

          Re: Apples and oranges?

          Not true at all. Microsoft do not and have never read your emails like Google. All that the new T&C does is allow them to share your already stored personal data across their cloud platforms (so for instance a Microsoft website could give you pop up alerts that you have a new email without you directly logging in to your email.)

      2. vic 4

        Re: outlook better than gmail?

        Depends on your point of view but to be honest neither are usable for anything serious. The odd mail swapping photos with the family gmail is good, other than that wouldn't touch either with a barge pole.

    3. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: Apples and oranges?

      Dude have you tried using Gmail for work? Even the very first version of OWA let you sort your inbox by sender. The best Gmail can do is a crazy filter applied to a sender that's displayed onscreen. And applying that filter takes a lot of hoop-jumping. Then there's the idiotically obtuse attachment management. Oh and the calendar takes the prize. It sucks huge hairy donkey balls.

      Say what you will about Outlook and Exchange - they're still the most functional of a bad bunch of MUAs/MTAs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apples and oranges?

        If you are not happy with your client, change it, it is not related to the mail service. You don't like gmail's web interface? Use thunderbird and connect to google with IMAP. And if you want to keep Outlook, do it! With Google you are not prisoner of a technological ecosystem.

        From my point of view and for the use of the SME like yours, Exchange is utterly complex and expensive to set up and maintain, with an availability rate far below google's service.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "With Google you are not prisoner"


          We provide advice to small businesses. We like open source.

          Clients often ask us about mail systems so we conduct a review for them.

          Nothing I have ever seen even comes close to Exchange.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "With Google you are not prisoner"

            It might be worth pointing out that you can also use other mail clients such as Thunderbird or OS X Mail with Exchange. Although you won't then be getting all of the benefits of an Exchange system, you will as a user see a very similar experience to users of other mail systems.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you are not happy with your client, change it,

          Sorry, that dog don't hunt no more.

          We're stuck with Google Apps where I work, and they suck. Google expects you to use their web interface with their suck ass filters instead of allowing proper user choice. Oh sure, they pay LIP service to supporting other clients for their product, but they don't support those clients. If you want to user Outlook, you're pretty much stuck using GASMO if you are on an IMAP server and also want to use LDAP for a large mail database. Thunderbird? Forget it. We just started losing mail connectivity for Thunderbird clients - mail server not authenticated. No changes in the config files, and Google is running the servers so at a minimum that isn't under our control. More than a day now and the answer we've gotten so far from Google: Downgrade your client from v15 to v14. Except the problem started with version 14, which worked for the whole month it was current, and on the one upgraded system, the upgrade was applied in hopes of fixing the problem at the help desk before escalating to Google.

          And don't get me started on the complete FAIL that is Calendar as far as corporate use goes. It might be okay for planning the family reunion, but that's it.

    4. hugh wanger

      Re: Apples and oranges?

      Anonymous Coward, you have now met one - me!

      I can tell you that 365 is a better business proposition than Gmail.

      Direct contract, direct support. Better co-existence whilst migrating away from in-house Exchange (which is where most companies will be coming from)

      Better privacy

      Better Office document compatability.

      I don't dislike Google, but they rule themselves out as they just aren't ready for mid to large companies.

      Office 365 is actually very good. But your anti MS blinkers might prevent you from giving it a good go ;-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Less than useless, damagingly bad journalism.

    This is why I'm not a big fan of El Reg anymore. It used to be cute and funny when the tone of an article wasn't up to corporate standards, but at least the content was there. This is just a crap hack job.

    Everyone knows Google Docs isn't up to snuff and needs more meat to be considered for business environments. But this article is just anti-Google masturbation fuel and has no business being published.

  3. Pirate Peter

    Google needs to change its cost, licensing and privacy fineprint to bag more enterprise clients

    so "According to the Forum, Google needs to change its cost, licensing and privacy fineprint to bag more enterprise clients "

    shock horror, problems with a big global outsourcer privacy detail, costs and licensing

    thats the problem when your data is held by an overseas company with data centres all round the world (not just having a go at oogle here, many others as well),

    in the EU we have DPA, if the data is in the US it can be held under "safe harbour" agreement ( but that is a voluntary agreement), many other countries you have to just your chances. for instance look at the instances of off shored call centre data breaches when they were the big thing until consumers voted with their feet / money

    problem is when your data is held in the cloud, who owns the data, who can access the data, and who controls how long the data is retained for on backup after you leave the cloud?

    also how can a company audit access controls to their data when they don't control the infrastructure it runs on?

    to many questions for me with cloud based apps,

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Google needs to change its cost, licensing and privacy fineprint to bag more enterprise clients

      Microsoft have the same issue - they really need to create a separate legally separate business unit for Europe so that their cloud offerings can be used without concerns of US government poking its nose in legally. Of course you can run your own cloud on Server 2012 which sidesteps the problem. But it would be nice if you could use MS's cloud services without this worry. It makes it legally unacceptable for some purposes.

    2. Synonymous Howard

      Re: Google needs to change its cost, licensing and privacy fineprint to bag more enterprise clients

      I've always thought of "safe harbor" as an oxymoron because of the US Patriot Act.

      As ZDnet put it ...

      "The U.S. Safe Harbor framework does not protect any personal data from the USA PATRIOT Act until a U.S. court declares otherwise.

      Regardless of where a company's office is outside the United States, like Google UK or Microsoft UK, if the company that owns that subsidiary company are wholly owned by a US company, the USA PATRIOT Act can be invoked. "

      IANAL but I wonder what would happen if you encrypt all your data prior to uploading to a cloud service? ala CipherDocs

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair enough

    Google does have an enterprise penetration problem, mostly based on the fact that their product wasn't around at the dawn of the PC age and so decision making executives didn't first experience it through their kid's computers or incessant sales calls by Microsoft partners. I say "mostly", because the fact is, as others have pointed out, Google Docs is still not ready for prime time and even Gmail continues to be subject to flux based on the whim of its UI designers. Yes, Gmail is miles ahead of OWA -- but that's setting the bar awfully low, isn't it? But seriously, Google's main problems are in fact those niggling contract provisions regarding security, privacy and price. Cloud-sourcing big company data and transactions isn't ever going to take off until those issues are addressed, no matter what else Google, Microsoft or even Apple do to improve the functionality of their cloud-based products.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What the article *didn't* say

      Is that Google's products have as much enterprise penetration as Microsoft's equivalent "cloud" products. You are correct in pointing out that the issue is cloud-sourcing, not a vendor comparison.

    2. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: "Gmail is miles ahead of OWA"

      My experience is the diametric polar opposite. What d'you base that comment on? To give you something to reply to, here's my list of must-have features in which OWA is good and Gmail bad:

      => Usability - OWA has always been consistent. Buttons above the email content. With Gmail it's a crap shoot. Some commands are buttons (Compose), some are links (Attachments), some are drop-down menus (Reply/Forward/etc). Finding the right one in Gmail takes me ages every time I need to use the web UI.

      => Functionality - Gmail is unable to sort by sender. OWA has been doing that since v. 1.

      => Calendar - The usability comments above apply here, but multiplied by two. Specifically when dealing recurring meetings, and across time zones.

      => Security - OWA, even when used with Office 365, does not index your email (note!! I'm talking about an Exchange -based system, not Google does.

      => Advertising - OWA has none. Even the corporate version of Gmail includes an ad to the right of the "Compose" button.

      So I'd honest to God/Allah/Bhudda/Ja/The Force [delete as appropriate] hear about some concrete examples of how Gmail is better that OWA/Exchange.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Calendar - The usability comments above apply here, but multiplied by two.

        Wow! You're in an incredibly generous mood today for a Reg poster. Personally, I'd have to tack at least a zero on the end of that number.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But this article is just anti-Google masturbation fuel and has no business being published."

    And "anti-Google masturbation fuel" is has no business being self-published either, but do you see me whining about it?

    1. Matthew 25



  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will get there... if Google wants

    Google can crank out the enterprise grade security and new functionality anytime they feel like it. Much like Apple, they seem to be a reluctant enterprise player... something they stumbled into more than a strategic aim.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google have shit customer service because they're not geared up to support people as they're an advertising seller.

    They have a little sideline in phones, but again they generally let other people deal with the supply of that.

  8. James 100

    Root problem?

    I'd say a large part must be that Google isn't really AIMED at "enterprise" customers (yet) - it's busy eating up the lower end of the market, consumers and small businesses.

    Look back into the 80s - how many of these guys' predecessors would have said much the same about that silly little MS-DOS upstart? Those guys in Redmond would never manage to compete with those nice enterprisey Vaxes and mainframes!

    Right now, it's a valid point: if I ran IT for a big company (except Google themselves, who are #73 in the Fortune 500 and presumably use their own stuff quite happily) I'd probably play it safe: Microsoft Office on Dell PCs and a great big Active Directory setup in the middle - but that's just this decade's "nobody got fired for buying IBM". When it's good enough for individual users and 10-man companies now, expect to see it in 100-man companies in a few years.

    Whatever happens though, it's giving Microsoft some competition again. How many big companies and government departments have knocked big chunks out of an MS renewal price by waving GOOG adware around during negotiations, even if they did stay with MS in the end?

    1. David 164

      Re: Root problem?

      Already it appearing in 50,000 man companies and eveM100,000 men companies are testing out Google offerings (GM, an a large Spanish bank).

      1. RICHTO

        Re: Root problem?

        Sure - there will always be cheap skates.

        Office 365 already has massive enterprise wins like Burger King, Japan Airlines, Hallmark Cards and Origin Energy. Office 365 also completely wipes the floor with Google Apps in the education market.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Already it appearing in 50,000 man companies and eveM100,000 men companies

        Yeah, well we fall into that category, and I gotta tell ya, in our 2,000 person office it is turning into EPIC, GARGANTUAN FAIL.

        Google are as happy to ignore complaints from those 50,000 and 100,000 user environments as they are to ignore users of their free services. That doesn't work in an environment where a vendor needs to be responsive. Frankly, they make MS support look like Dudley Do Right to their Snidely Whiplash. And that's something I never thought possible.

  9. Jess--

    google will never shine in the corporate world while their domestic offerings have no visible support infrastructure and seems to change what's available and how things work on a seemingly daily basis.

    Add to this googles habit of withdrawing products with little to no warning and you can understand why companies are more than a little wary of relying on their products for day to day business.

  10. mbf199t

    Unfinished (for) Business

    My issue with most Google products isn't the execution itself, it's the polishing afterward. Google seems to have turned into an art form the process of creating a product but never quite finishing properly. Take Google Drive as an's an improvement on Dropbox in terms of the free space on offer, but every other aspect of the service sucks in the most basic terms (the interfac online, the client software, the sync), and that example is a product that Google could easily have "borrowed" some ideas for from its competitors because it was so late to market!

    If you then factor in Google Docs, Android, Chromebooks and that awful Nexus Q ( thing that they actually halted and revised they don't look ready for enterprise at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfinished (for) Business

      And that's different from Microsoft... how?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft

        Because, Microsoft have actually been working to perfect their products e.g. Exchange is nearly 20 years old and has come a very long way in that time.

        If Google really want to refine their products to make them suitable for business use, they had better get on with it, as they have a lot of catching up to do.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unfinished (for) Business

        MS only releases beta product for sale. Google wants to sell you developmental lab ideas that haven't even been put into actual development yet.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Cpt Blue Bear
    Thumb Down

    El Reg in press release reprint shock

    Yawn. Another article that is basically a press release masquerading as news. Maybe Andrew Orlowski should write a piece on the decline of online journalism at his own publisher rather than kicking Wired. Not that I'm against kicking Wired and their ilk, mind.

    So care to 'fess up who published this press release? Who commissioned the survey?

  13. TReko
    Thumb Down

    Google has no support

    Google provides zero support on their products. All you get are "community support forums"

  14. Warren 2

    Enterprise is a niche market for Google

    Why would google bother? The enterprise market is a saturated and competitive market which would be considered Niche compared to the consumer markets they dominate.

    Carving out a market share of a Niche market might have been deemed too much bother.

  15. David Gale

    Playing by the rules...

    It's fortunate for Google that Microsoft are so busy trying to play the enterprise game to Google's rules that they miss the opportunity to wipe the floor with the competition. 'Reminds me of IBM trying to play by Microsoft's rules. It didn't work for them either...

  16. bazza Silver badge

    Real world worries...

    Some of us worry about some fairly fundamental issues surrounding the use of all these cloudy services:

    1) Availability - things drop off the net; Google, MS etc. are no different.

    2) All our eggs in one basket - clouds are a big juicy target for hackers, industrial espionage etc. If a cloud gets breached the consequences could be monumental.

    3) Privacy - why should another company have the right or even the technical ability to trawl through my company's private stuff?

    All these things really should matter to a company. A failure in any one of those categories can easily kill a company, so why risk it? Worse still a company can be exposed to legal responsibilities in jurisdictions where it has no actual business connections whatsoever. That can get really nasty these days.

    Sure, it may cost more to do it yourself, but what is that compared to loss of the entire business? At least you can assess the risks your company is taking on, implement a plan B and get IT designs reviewed. Basing IT exclusively in a cloud sounds like a sure fire way of not being able to have a plan B at all. Maybe that's where MS's option might work - presumably Office365 interacts quite nicely with existing Exchange servers, etc.

    Complete reliance on a cloud seems odd - I doubt that there is any guarantees given in their terms and conditions. Are Google going to recompense their customers' shareholders if it turns out that Google had been leaking their company data? No, of course not.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    UK CIOs

    Not sure I'd trust these chumps' opinions much.

    My company has recently been 'upgraded' to HSBCnet, the new online banking system from HSBC. Aside from being completely impenetrably complicated to use compared to what went before, with bizarre error codes and vague messages, it also requires a ton of configuration even to use some basic features like wiring payments.

    The login is bizarre too - it consists of clicking a link, entering your username in a menu after the spinner finally disappears to reveal a text box, upon which a new page pops up and requests your username AGAIN.

    On first logging in, I found difficulty locating links on the menu bar to what I expected to be basic functionality. After a support call, it turns out that they only support IE7/8, so my browser was the problem. So in 2012, one of the world's leading banks has created a system which not only requires a browser unavailable on many platforms, they don't bother to even warn you if you try to login with something else.

    By comparision, Google's offerings (which my company also uses) are simple-to-use, fast, powerful, and supported on various platforms.

    I wonder if HSBC's CIO, the man who signed off on this dog's breakfast, is one of the UK CIOs in this survey?

    1. RICHTO

      Re: UK CIOs

      So HSBC developed an application that works of over 90% of desktop systems. Thats hardly 'many platforms' that it doesnt work on. If I was a customer I certainly wouldnt want them wasting my money on supporting anything with a tiny market share.

  18. JaitcH

    Many companies ...

    use Google for sourcing services and products.

    Since the UK is no longer a manufacturing country, thanks to Maggie's 'service' economy, , it's not surprising.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Many companies ...

      "Since the UK is no longer a manufacturing country, thanks to Maggie's 'service' economy, , it's not surprising."

      You don't remember this chap called Gordon Brown then? You know, the guy who used to hang around in Downing street muttering a lot about the importance of the service economy? Ring any bells?

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