Enterprise is part of Google’s core business and is all about allowing people to collaborate and share more easily, particularly in a work setting. It aims to give employees instant messaging and collaborative tools without IT constrictions.

Pretty much everyone in the room is on board with what different bits of Enterprise offer and lots of us are behind the theory. But local government without IT constrictions? Well, that’s the promised land right? That’s the dream. And let’s not even start on the fact that Enterprise doesn’t work great with IE6 and most of us are handcuffed to it as a browser.

But let’s go with it and see the potential. Enterprise uses the cloud in order to allow many users access at the same time – Google Docs is a good example – stick a document in the cloud and then collaborate with many people synchronously editing and chatting about it via instant messaging. Hands up if you think Google Docs has a use in your organisation? Great! Hands up if IT has blocked access to Google Docs? Oh…

A lot of public sector concerns are with the security of putting things in the cloud (as opposed to the security of lugging sensitive documents around in a carrier bag). Google say it can answer these concerns. They also say they can authenticate against Active Directory, will investigate and rapidly deploy developments to the systems based on user feedback and that they’re working on beefing up security further because of the reliance on the cloud.

It’s impressive stuff. It’s shiny. It’s frustrating for an audience of people who collaborate day in and day out through tools like Twitter to be shown something they know they won’t be able to see when they return to the ranch. But once upon a time email was feared so maybe we’re just looking at the future and we need to coax public sector along this path.

11 thoughts on “GoogleLocalGov

  1. Thanks for some really detailed notes. I just wanted to ask you to clarify what “The Ordnance Survey” question is, for those of us not in local government and who can only guess at what it might mean 🙂


  2. Ah, yes, sorry!
    It is around the issue of copyrighted information – I’m not completely on top of the details but understand OS have some issues with putting geo-information they see as theirs into Google or some other mapping systems. That is a very broad overview and may be slightly missing the finer point of the issue! Hopefully someone will correct if I am wrong / missing something!

  3. Great write up, Sarah! Just to elaborate on the OS issue, it’s basically that any GIS data produced by an OS system is then subsequently owned by the OS and cannot, say, be exported to use in GMaps. Microsoft seem to have an agreement with OS that gets around this and Google aparently do with their pro version of the maps API, however it’s not clear if these issues have been cleared up for the basic version. It’s kind of akin to Microsoft turning round and saying “Okay, you’ve made that Word doc. You can’t now turn that word doc into a PDF because we now own it. Kthxbai!”

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