This year cloud computing went mainstream, and the conversations moved beyond "this is a way to cut costs" to "this is a better way to run my business." While many IT vendors have now adopted (or co-opted) the term “cloud computing” to describe a wide variety of technologies, most don’t deliver on the true promise of the cloud. Hosting single-tenant server products in a data center is not cloud computing. Nor is requiring customers to install thick client software. These solutions lock-in customers to multi-year release cycles, leave them with the significant costs of managing client software, and expose sensitive data on insecure devices. In 2011, we are committed to moving beyond the current notion of cloud computing to bring customers to a world we call 100% web.

100% web
In a 100% web world, business applications are delivered over the Internet and accessed in a web browser. The applications and the data are stored centrally and are designed to be served from a highly scalable, secure and reliable multi-tenant infrastructure. Devices like notebooks, tablets, and smartphones are portals to the data that help people be productive from anywhere, at any time. Upgrades aren’t necessary to get access to the latest innovation, just refresh the browser. Businesses no longer own or manage servers and client software: they purchase integrated applications and development platforms from others, and now devote their valuable time to business logic and features that create competitive advantage.

We are investing in a variety of technologies so that companies can be productive with nothing but the web:
  • Google Apps is the world’s most popular suite of web-based communication and collaboration applications, and includes email, instant messaging, calendaring, documents, sites, video sharing, Postini services and dozens more. We will continue to improve and expand our offerings to bring more powerful technologies to our more than three million customers.
  • Google App Engine lets companies build their own applications for internal or external use and host them on Google infrastructure. This allows for faster and easier development, virtually no ongoing maintenance, and the ability to easily scale to meet capacity needs at short notice. App Engine already sees more than 1 billion page views per day from more than 150,000 active applications, and we will be launching App Engine for Business more broadly in 2011.
  • Google Apps Marketplace provides the other applications customers need to build their business on the web, integrated with Google Apps and installed in a few clicks. The marketplace will continue to grow beyond its 250 applications and make it easier for businesses to find, evaluate, and purchase the best non-Google applications on the web.
  • Android is one of the fastest growing mobile platforms in the world and designed to drive innovation and choice. Companies can now manage Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and other ActiveSync devices right from the browser. And the Android team is hard at work on a new version of the platform that addresses the unique aspects of tablet form factors and use cases.
  • Google Chrome is an open source web browser developed to provide users with a fast, simple, and secure web-browsing experience with modern web applications. Chrome has become 300% faster in just two years, and adoption has tripled over the last year. This week we announced new features for Chrome to make managing enterprise deployments easy. Also, companies using older versions of Internet Explorer for their legacy applications can use Google Chrome Frame to access modern web apps that rely on technologies like HTML5.
  • Google Chrome OS is a new operating system designed from the ground up for 100% web. By building an operating system that is essentially a browser, we can make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure. Last Tuesday, we announced the Chrome notebook Pilot program (apply to pilot) and Chrome devices for business will be available for purchase in 2011.

While many companies are able to jump right to 100% web, we understand that other larger businesses have substantial investments in legacy technology. So we’re also investing in solutions that bridge existing technologies to the world of 100% web:
  • Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office allows people to continue to use the familiar Office interface (including Office 2003, 2007, and 2010), while reaping many of the benefits of web-based collaboration that Google Docs users already enjoy. It will be available soon.
  • Google Message Continuity is a very cost-effective form of disaster recovery that lets Microsoft Exchange customers leverage the reliability of Gmail to back up their servers.

100% web is a dramatic shift from how companies have traditionally purchased, deployed, and managed IT. But the more we talk with customers the more we realize that this is the change they’ve been waiting for. It is the ultimate extension of the cloud computing model, and it brings substantial benefits for companies that no other IT model can provide in terms of simplicity, cost, security, flexibility, and pace of innovation. If 2010 was the year of the cloud, 2011 looks to be the year of nothing but the web.