Google has taken a number of its enterprise cloud applications out of beta, in a move that signals a serious play for the business market.
Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk are now all officially out of beta, in the case of Gmail some five years after being launched. The company claims that over 1.75 million companies are now using Google Apps regularly.
"We've come to appreciate that the beta tag just doesn't fit for large enterprises that aren't keen to run their business on software that sounds like it's still in the trial phase," said Matthew Glotzbach, director of product management for Google Enterprise.
"So we've focused our efforts on reaching our high bar for taking products out of beta, and all the applications in the Apps suite have now met that mark. "
The company is stepping up promotion of its tools for switching to online applications from Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, as well as support for BlackBerry and Microsoft Outlook.
New features are also being added such as email delegation, which allows administrators to screen emails and send messages on behalf of others, and email retention for compliance purposes. Both services are being rolled out to Google's premier customers over the coming weeks.
"We're continuing to implement additional procedures to ensure that our business customers enjoy even greater reliability: live replication of data to other locations for near-instant disaster recovery, and special handling of business users' data in our datacentre operations," said Rajen Sheth, senior product manager for Google Apps.
"While we believe these features will be most useful to big companies, we hope they'll also help today's small business grow into tomorrow's global enterprise."
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