Salesforce.com isn’t the only SaaS company with the “All you need is a browser” attitude.
Google is at it again, thanks to Google Labs. Plus, they have their own browser in the form of Chrome, but we’ll save that for another day.
Let’s start with Gmail.
I love the way you can view PDF or Word documents without having the actual software loaded. This comes in handy when you’re on the road and the Internet Cafe doesn’t have Microsoft Word installed. You’d be surprised to many public libraries don’t have the basic office software installed. And please don’t forget to clear your cache when finished!
Even viewing MS PowerPoint had its moments. A while back, my USB key was corrupted before a presentation, but luckily I had emailed myself the PPT file (from my Yahoo email to Gmail… why not have 2 copies?). I was also lucky the laptop in the presentation room had Internet access!
The Google Labs Menagerie
And now we have Google Labs and their menagerie of neat accessories. Some are useful, such as their “canned responses” for replying to a variety of repetitive emails.
The integration with Google Apps is a new feature.
Now you can quickly view content from shared Google Docs Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations without opening them in another tab or window!
This works whether it is a shared Gmail user or if you converted your domain to use Google Apps Gmail.
As well, support for YouTube, Flickr, Picassa are also included.
If you are lucky to have a Google Voice account the built in player is in the email.
Another feature from Google Labs is Google Offline that uses the Google Gears. Just when you denounced the use of web based email because you can’t work off-line, or if you favoured store-and-forward technology such as MS Outlook or (heaven forbid) MS Outlook Express, Google Offline allows you to work offline from your browser. Drafts work seamlessly, and Sent Mail will be queued until you restore Internet connectivity.
Microsoft and MS Exchange Administrators should be getting worried as Gmail is slowly winning the hearts of small and medium corporations. As long as functionality to their Blackberry remains five nines (99.999% uptime) that is.