May 11, 2010, 9:56 PM — Google's vision of the not-so-distant future: The corporate workday will be quite different -- and a lot more social.
Executives at Google say that emerging cloud-based applications will foster far more collaboration among a new generation of corporate workers that have grown up using social networks like Facebook and Twitter .
Anil Sabharwal, product manager for the cloud-based Google Apps offering, predicts a major corprate shift to the cloud will become clear in five years, when most organizations are using cloud-based e-mail, spreadsheet and documentation services in large part for their easy collaboration, or business socialization, capabilities.
"Social elements will come into play in how we get our work done," Sabharwal told Computerworld . "The idea is that businesses are, by their very nature, a social network. You're all connected by virtue of working for that company. Better collaboration. Better broadcasting of information to a group. Better social connections. All of that is going to become really interesting for businesses."
And, yes, despite skepticism from some analysts, Google expects that the Google Docs family of applications will stand in the forefront of a more team-oriented corporate workplace. IBM's Lotus unit and Microsoft have long offered collaboration tools, but Google says its offering will allow more seamless worker collaboration.
For example, Sabharwal said Google's hosted services will let a worker who needs help formulating a marketing idea easily get input from co-workers in other pertinent departments.
The Web-based Google Docs application suite includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, documentation and data storage tools. Google last year began a concerted effort to push its cloud-based offerings into the lucrative enterprise, taking on rival Microsoft and its uber-popular desktop applications.
Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said businesses will have to create social business plans that don't unecessarily slow projects.