New GApps features? Prepare for enterprise complaints.

I wish I could dig up the link, but some time ago Google announced they were putting effort into unifying the code bases between their consumer products (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) and the Google Apps suite designed to work with your company’s domain name. The products have the same core functionality, so on the surface this makes a lot of sense.

However, Gmail gets new features at an extremely rapid pace. Within just the last week, we’ve seen both the Priority Inbox and Google Voice integration released, in beta of course. And if you’ve worked in the IT department of a medium-to-large company, you know that “change management” policies would never allow features to dribble out like this.

I see an analogy in the way that software updates automatically get pushed to Android phones. Some Android users I know have complained that a forced update installed to their last-generation phone made it slower and buggier. (Being an iPhone guy myself, I’m not sure if this can be disabled.) If new features showed up for users automatically, in something as critical as e-mail, without the knowledge or consent of corporate IT…yowza.

Best-case scenario, I would expect bumps in the road, since this feels like the type of thing that Google does not usually excel at…call it support, communications, “enterprise tooling” or anything else. If it’s not core engineering, it’s not truly in their DNA.


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