I just got around to reading a piece by Steve Gillmor of eWeek on Gmail and its future, and I have to say it’s got me thinking. Might we be looking at an end around towards Google based office services?
The basic contention of the article is simple that Gmail might eventually end up as an enterprise messaging alternative. Now on one level, it’s very premature. All the product offers at this point is email and limited contact capabilities. No POP or IMAP access, no calendar features, no task functionality. No API’s for SPAM filters, client side applications etc.
But on another level, I’m intrigued. As I’ve covered already, the product is one of the better web based applications I’ve ever seen. Far more responsive, for example, than Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access client – even the Exchange 2003 version. And it appears that the system may be extensible, as this (untried by me) POP client for Gmail illustrates (thanks to Mr. Bruce Rasa for the tip).
So is it possible to envision a scenario in which Google decides to implement the following:
1. Basic calendaring system as you’d find in Yahoo Mail (only it’s actually usable given the performance)
2. POP/IMAP access for clients
3. Forwarding/domain services
and we see SMBs start to consider it? I think so.
Not quite ready to take on Exchange or Notes, perhaps, but I know I’ll be keeping an eye on it.