Google is dumping the tired “enterprise” label for its business products, renaming them Google for Work.
Gosh, where have we heard that one before? Oh, right—here on ReadWrite, where, two months ago, we switched our coverage of business tools from the section formerly known as Enterprise to a new section known as … yes, Work.
We can only applaud Google’s change. Google has always championed bringing consumer-friendly software like Gmail and Google Docs into the work world.
The Google Enterprise name is a leftover from an earlier era—a brief period in Google’s infancy when the company thought it would make money by licensing search technology to other businesses, as John Battelle documented in The Search, his history of the company.
Let’s just say it: “Enterprise” is a terrible world, used for terrible reasons. At best, it’s a catch-call term that’s an awkward shorthand for “businesses and other large organizations” (like schools, government agencies, and nonprofits). It describes a way many companies organize their salespeople: one group selling to large customers, others selling to small ones. Or it describes products only of interest to large organizations.
None of that makes sense in a world where size doesn’t matter. The employees of large companies want tools as simple and intuitive as the apps on their phones. And small businesses and individuals want the security, stability, and features found in software originally designed for big businesses.
Hence our name change. And, following in our modest footsteps, Google’s, too. The enterprise is dead. Long live work.