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McClatchy-Tribune  07/25/2014 3:50 AM ET
India is only market where we have special pricing: Google's Sood [Mint, New Delhi :: ]

July 25--MUMBAI -- Google Inc. may be a household name because of its ubiquitous search engine but it is much smaller than companies like Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Corp. when one looks at the revenue it gets from businesses, or the enterprise segment. Rahul Sood, managing director of Google Apps and Enterprise Search, believes his company is making good progress in this space. In an interview on 18 July, he said Google will continue to invest in its enterprise space, one of its largest investments outside of traditional online advertising that still accounts for over 90% of Google's total revenue. The company, he added, will ride on the popularity of Hangouts and Drive, and focus on under-penetrated areas like videoconferencing and storage and moving businesses to the cloud. Edited excerpts:

Google is better known as a search engine that makes billions of dollars from online advertising, rather than one that provides solutions to companies...

Google has been in the enterprise technology business for almost 10 years. It is one of the few businesses that we have invested in outside of the traditional advertising model.

We have revealed some indicative numbers, like 5 million businesses worldwide run on apps, more than 70 of the top US universities run on apps, etc. (He did not provide a break-up of the enterprise revenue). And we have 600 large organizations with more than 10,000 users.

There are three kinds of things we do in enterprise: services, devices and platforms.

We sell Google apps -- a productivity tool, geo-services, geo-mapping and search as a service -- too. The second business is devices, where we have Chromebook and Android phones. We have been present with Chromebooks for longer, Android is still fairly new. We announced last week that this year we reached 1 million units of Chromebooks, most of it sold to educational institutes.

With Android, we are just getting into the enterprise space. Businesses and consumers have brought Android phones and devices into business already. Going forward, if you take your phone to work, your IT department will be able to keep all the work applications separate from consumer applications. So far, every OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has had their own approach (eg. BlackBerry Balance and Samsung Knox). We want to consolidate that into one approach.

With the Chrome technology, we are taking Chrome OS to special-purpose devices. We recently launched the Chromebooks for meetings, a videoconferencing kit. For $1,000, you can convert any room into a videoconference-enabled room. Video in the enterprise has very low adoption as it is very expensive. If you look at the world, less than 5% of the conference rooms are video-enabled. Less than 50 million users worldwide have a video service that they subscribe to.

We also have a cloud platform, which we started offering as a business service three to four years ago, but we have been building a cloud-based infrastructure ever since Google started.

But cloud is a highly competitive space, and you are a late entrant...

You need to segment the market. When you look at the cloud platform, we came late as compared to Amazon (Amazon Web Services' platform as a service). We have some work cut out for us and we need to innovate fast. Amazon has been around longer but it is a matter of time before that dynamic will change.

On the productivity services and app side, we were among the first ones to have launched it. Microsoft came in much later. As long as you have a really compelling proposition, customers will figure out a way. There are many customers who are looking at us as an addition, if not a replacement. Competition is always good in the market, but customers have somehow understood how to handle lock-ins in the market. But if you look at technology in general, lock-ins (compared to open source technologies t


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