Overall, business is good for Google Apps. Google noted in the annoucement that "more than a million businesses" are now using the Google Apps suite - which includes Gmail, shared calendaring, collaborative word processing and spreadheets, and private video sharing and websites (internal and external). As Google continues to tap into the enterprise market - competing against the desktop office software monolith Microsoft - deals like the Valeo one show that its web office suite can scale for large businesses.
Google noted that because Valeo has 30,000 Internet-connected employees, this is "one of the largest enterprise deployments of Google Apps to date." The deployment is being managed by Capgemini, a technology advisory firm that Google has partnered with since September 2007 for Google Apps deployments. This deployment will be across Valeo's distributed workforce of 192 business entities in 27 countries and five continents.
Google Apps launched its Premier package in February 2007, which bundled together Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Page Creator and Start Page, and (new to the suite at the time) Google Docs & Spreadsheets. The Google Apps Premier Edition went on sale at $50 per user account a year. The pricing and feature set have largely stayed the same since then, with the addition of video in September 2008. Another recent addition was significant too: a new tool for Google Apps that lets businesses sync the user account information in Google Apps with the business's LDAP user directory system. In other words, Google now syncs with Microsoft's Active Directory.
Google announced a reseller program for Apps in January, so it's clearly looking to scale up aggressively this year and onwards. In its promotions, Google is emphasizing the money and time savings that cloud computing enables. While there's no sign that Microsoft Office is in any big trouble yet, Redmond will be keeping a wary eye on Google Apps as it continues to shoulder its way into big businesses.