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Google Apps attracts 3,000 new businesses a day, search giant claims

Cloud computing is now ‘mainstream’

More than 3,000 companies around the world sign up to Google Apps each day, according to a Google chief.

Robert Whiteside, head of Google enterprise for UK, Ireland and Benelux, said that around three million businesses across the world use Google Apps, one million of which are based in EMEA.

"We have over 3,000 companies a day moving into the cloud...[and] the adoption of cloud is accelerating," Whiteside said, although he admitted that a large proportion of the customers are small and medium-sized businesses.

Furthermore, not all of these companies pay for the service, which was first released in February 2007.

Businesses with up to 10 users can use the free version of Google Apps, called Standard Edition, while those with more users have to sign up to the paid-for Google Apps for Business. It costs firms £33 a year per user, or £3.30 per user on a monthly basis.

Google's major UK customers include Rentokil Initial, which deploys the apps to 35,000 employees, Jaguar Land Rover's 15,000 users and Specsavers's 2,500 staff. The Guardian and Telegraph newspapers each have around 2,000 employees using Google Apps.

Google Apps' low price point is one of its appealing features, which has helped encourage the growth in cloud computing adoption.

"We have really seen cloud computing go mainstream. One of the great values of cloud computing is it's very accessible," said Whiteside.

However, he said that cost should not be the deciding factor for businesses.

"Most companies are attracted to cloud computing initially because of its ability to reduce costs.

"The reality is that the model of cloud computing transforms your working practices, [allowing employees to] collaborate with each other, connecting staff in different ways. The cloud allows you to solve new business problems."

He continued: "The most successful companies will be the ones who use the cloud in new, innovative ways, in addition to running the cloud in their business."

It was a bit too soon, however, for Whiteside to say if Google's latest innovation, social network tool Google+, would be deployed for the enterprise market.

"Helping people share information among themselves is very important in the consumer and business world.

"We see a potential for that technology in the business as well as the consumer world," he said.

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