Google, which implemented an internal Web log system behind its firewall about 18 months ago, has seen tremendous benefits from it and may in the future consider providing tools and expertise for this purpose to interested clients, a Google executive said.
Google deployed an internal blog for its employees shortly after acquiring the blogging service Blogger in early 2003, and since then Google staffers have found many useful and creative ways for the internal blog, said Jason Goldman, Blogger product manager at Google.
"Since then, we have seen a lot of different uses of blogs within the firewall: people keeping track of meeting notes, people sharing diagnostics information, people sharing snippets of code, as well as more personal uses, like letting co-workers know what they're thinking about and what they're up to," Goldman said. "It really helps grow the intranet and the internal base of documents."
Google executives have talked in the past about the company's internal Blogger implementation, called Blogger in Google (BIG), and a Google employee even posted a screenshot of a BIG page last year at http://www.shellen.com/gallery/big_screenshot800px.gif.
Asked if Google would be open to providing software and consulting to companies interested in deploying an internal Blogger version, Goldman was non-committal but didn't close the door on the possibility either. "Sure, it may. If the right business relationship existed, that could be a great opportunity. But it's not something we have specific plans around right now," he said.
It's unlikely that Google will develop a version of Blogger that would compete head-to-head against enterprise document management products, but it's very possible Google will give Blogger some features in the future to make it more attractive for business use, said Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst.
Ultimately, vendors will approach the emerging enterprise blogging market from two angles, Weiner said. First, there will be the enterprise document management vendors and the enterprise publishing software vendors tweaking their industrial-strength products to support blogging functionality. These companies will cater to organizations that need security, rich functionality and IT control. Second, there will be more lightweight products such as Blogger, which will do just fine for organizations that approach blogging from a more casual perspective.
What is undeniable is that there is a growing interest among businesses towards blogs as business communication tools, particularly among IT departments, Weiner said. "The mandate of IT organizations today is to do more with less, so the better they can communicate and share things, the more efficient their operations will be," he said. "There's a huge benefit in blogging for companies implementing IT projects. It's going to be a growing trend over the next couple of years."