As RWW reported, Google docs was down for 30 minutes last week. Part of the RWW included a poll asking respondents what sort of downtime would make them reconsider using Google docs. The results are even more interesting considering that RWW’s readership is arguably more likely to be users of on-demand apps than the general public.


Microsoft insider Steve Clayton posted, and questioned whether or not the results indicated an unwillingness of users to really put their faith in purely online services. He goes on to say that;

That’s why Microsoft thinks a Software plus Services approach is the right one. You get the best of both worlds.

This isn’t a slight against Google particular but more an observation that the battleground of cloud computing is in its infancy…The announcements this week around Microsoft Online are a first salvo in what promises to be a whole new era here at Microsoft. Let the games commence!

Of course the logical response to Steve’s comment is that with Google gears, docs is no longer a purely online service, and in fact falls within the broad definition of S+S. And yes he’s right, outages of SaaS products do show why applications with a pure cloud base are sub-optimal. This of course isn’t a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water and go back to desktop apps – it is however a major heads up for SaaS vendors to think about offline access.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Morris Johns |

    The funny thing here is the difference in expectations between uptime for web sites, and uptime for internal infrastructure. Really it seems to me that what people really get concerned about is perceived lack of control.

    What percentage of time is word unavailable in a business environment (e.g. fileserver down, out of disk space, PC down etc) versus time google docs is unavailable…

    Also I suspect for most of us our web connectivity is unavailable for longer periods than google docs is out of service.

  • It’s also a proof that the browser will play a major role in the coming years.

    Google Gears or included offline capabilities in the browser + a spreading SaaS offering = turning the browser into an application platform.

    Concerning Google, I think their own branding plays also against them on that Google Docs question.

    There is no default https security beyond the login screen (which you don’t use either since you are always logged on) and Google has an image of the free, cool and constantly in beta application.

    So, it might not only be the concept of SaaS that is rejected but the SaaS + Google. Still, Google is certainly playing an heavy role on SaaS perception outside the early adopters sphere.

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