Google collaborative appliance on the way?

Google Mini

Google’s moves into application bundles and collaboration software are setting it up for a bigger enterprise play, taking on Microsoft in an area that consistently feeds their R&D. Maybe you read about the JotSpot acquisition this morning on the Google enterprise blog.

We look forward to putting those wikis to work.

Google currently searches the enterprise through its search appliance, a brightly colored box you place in your rack and configure to crawl behind the firewall. Just one application on this box seems like a waste of space and could perhaps open up some more applications for small to medium sized businesses.

Google Apps for Your Domain currently bundles Gmail, Talk, Calendar, and Page Creator for a specific group of users, all hosted on Google’s server. Stick it in the box.

I expect the new version of Blogger, Google Docs, and JotBox will eventually be integrated into the Google appliance. Google Groups to manage your work groups, Google Desktop to add to the local index what the appliance might have missed, and a special version of Toolbar to tie it all together.

A quick browse through Google job openings leads me to an Engineering Manager/Director for CRM although that could just be internal.

Just a theory on the progression of Google Apps bundles but it looks like the pieces are falling in place. Failure to compete in this area means Microsoft maintains a large percentage of the enterprise search business through Sharepoint and other offerings, funding more research and blocking Google from being the preferred search provider of enterprise knowledge.