Memeo, a privately-held company focused on helping users share, manage, and protect their data, announced the launch of Memeo Connect for Google Apps. The new tool enables Google Apps Premier customers to access, migrate, and synchronize files between their desktop and Google Docs.
Google has been courting business customers with its products and services, but most enterprises, and even small and medium businesses, rely on the applications in the Microsoft Office suite for business productivity software. While Google Apps is a robust solution on its own merits, customers need tools that help them leverage Google Apps in a world dominated by Microsoft Office.
[ In other Google news, the company announced today that Google Docs will allow online storage of any type of file. ]
In a press release announcing the new tool, Matthew Glotzbach, product management director for Google, said "More than 3,000 businesses sign up for Google Apps every day, and many of them are interested in a tool that effectively assists in the import and management of their existing files and documents between Google Docs and the desktop environment."
Glotzbach added "Memeo Connect for Google Apps presents our customers with an attractive option to integrate or migrate all of their files into Google Docs."
I interviewed Spencer Chen, director of corporate communications for Memeo. He explained that "Google has always been oriented around the cloud, but most enterprises possess a legacy of coming from an on-premise environment."
Chen continued "Memeo has a great track record in providing rich, desktop applications with leading technology partners, so it was a natural fit for Memeo to jointly develop a solution that integrates that divide between the cloud and the desktop environment. Memeo Connect for Google Apps will enable customers to switch back and forth and manage any file type without limitations between these two environments."
Alternative software like Google Docs, StarOffice, or OpenOffice offer options for businesses looking for cost effective business productivity software. The success of these products, though, relies on being compatible with Microsoft Office formats and conventions.
Even if a business is willing and able to sever itself completely from Microsoft Office, it can't ignore the fact that Microsoft Office is the dominant software used by partners, vendors, and customers. These businesses need tools that help them straddle the line and transition seamlessly from desktop to cloud, and from Microsoft Office to Google Docs.
The addition of Memeo Connect for Google Apps, which will cost $9 per user per year, makes it easier for business customers to seriously consider transitioning to Google Apps without having to factor in the headache of trying to convert or migrate all existing Microsoft Office data to do so.
The Memeo announcement is indicative of a shift in strategy by Google to recognize that business customers aren't ready to simply abandon the desktop or ditch Microsoft Office entirely, and to embrace third-party partners to help it fill in the gaps and deliver the functionality customers need.