The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed plans to equip 50,000 army soldiers with Google applications, in a bid to cut the force's operational costs and boost efficiency.
Google Enterprise head of defense and intelligence Shannon Sullivan revealed the news in a blog post, explaining the initial rollout will see soldiers use its core Drive, Docs and Hangouts applications. He said the move is primarily intended to help increase mobility within the armed service.
"Mobile technology not only makes the army more nimble, it is imperative for efficiency while personnel are in the field," said Sullivan. "Tablets are used by the army for education and distance learning because they equip personnel with access to training materials anytime, anywhere.
"A soldier can review a lesson in Google Drive, complete an assignment with teammates in Google Docs, or attend a class via video Hangout, all from their tablet, smartphone or desktop. In addition, army organisations can set up their own Google Play Private Channel for distributing mobile apps internally."
The Google head added that he expects the app rollout to help reduce the army's operational costs: "Bringing modern commercial cloud capabilities such as Google Apps helps the army reduce IT costs, while giving troops access to always up-to-date web tools for productivity, collaboration, and communication."
Sullivan said Google has worked with the DoD to ensure its applications are secure for military use: "Google's completion of FISMA [Federal Information Security Management Act] certification and accreditation gave the government a complete understanding of the security controls Google Apps has in place and how they meet the army's stringent criteria."
Sullivan highlighted Google apps' ability to work on multiple operating systems and devices as another key reason the DoD chose the company above competitors such as Apple. "Google Apps runs on multiple operating systems and browsers providing more device options, plus works with existing army security policies and DoD directory and authentication services," he said.
Sullivan is one of many to tout Google's open, cross-platform nature as a key selling point. Previously, AVG chief executive Gary Kovacs highlighted Android's open nature as a key reason Google will eventually overtake Apple in the tablet and smartphone markets.
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