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Google Earns Government Approval For Web-based Apps

July 27, 2010

Google unveiled a new suite of Internet-hosted calendar, email and other products that meets official US security requirements.

The Internet giant said the newest version of its Google applications for government had received US government certification under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

Google program manager Kripa Krishnan said “Google Apps for Government” were the first “cloud,” or Internet-based applications, to receive FISMA certification, which outlines specific public sector policy and security requirements.

“This means government customers can move to the cloud with confidence,” Krishnan said in a blog post.

This latest move by Google is seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office spreadsheet, email, calendar and word processing programs.

Krishnan said the new applications had been designed with input from current government customers like the cities of Los Angeles and Orlando and offer “significant cost savings.”

“With no hardware or software to install and maintain, Google Apps for Government allows agencies to redeploy resources to technology projects core to their mission of serving the public,” the Google program manager said.

Krishnan said Google Apps for Government will store sensitive information like email and calendar data “in a segregated system located in the continental United States, exclusively for our government customers.”

Google’s Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said at a news conference on Monday that certification will give government agencies the ability to adopt Google’s online software.

“We have a hot product, what we’re doing is knocking down barriers to adoption,” said Schmidt.

Google said that about one dozen federal agencies are already testing Google’s new government-grade version of the software.

Microsoft has recently begun offering its own cloud computing business software solutions in response to the threat of cloud-based products from Google.

Google generates 97 percent of its $24 billion in annual revenue from advertising.  The company said that its Apps business generates “hundreds of millions” of dollars in annual revenue.

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