I love Google Apps. All of my personal domains use Google Apps for email, calendar, and documents, and I highly recommend the product to anyone setting up email and collaboration services for a domain.
I know I’m not alone in my love for Google Apps; thousands of businesses, organizations, and individuals use Google Apps for their domains. And today, after receiving government certification to ensure that their infrastructure was secure enough to handle sensitive information, Google may have another client: the United States government. You see, the Google Apps system that I and many other users enjoy, may soon be the collaboration system that some government agencies choose to use as apposed to hosting, managing, and deploying their own in-house collaboration and email services.
Government organizations moving to Google Apps has the potential to have several upsides. First, Google’s background in search technology gives it a leading edge when handling vast amounts of information. This means that the government can take advantage of Google’s highly-developed systems to manage information better and ultimately be more productive. Additionally, with lower budgets, the government can save a lot of funding by using Google’s services instead of paying for the servers, software, and staff to manage similar, less-powerful systems in-house.
However, there are some who are sure to argue that allowing Google to host and manage highly-sensitive government information will give them the ability to mine it for information, and to ultimately invade the privacy of millions of people. I do not believe that this is going to be an issue, because as I pointed out in the beginning of this article, Google had to get a certification in order to even be eligible to host government information. This means that the company can be trusted. Even without the certification many Americans personally use Google’s services on a daily basis, meaning that the Internet giant already has access to a boatload of personal information, and thus far has not given us any reason to doubt that it is in good hands.
What do you think about Google Apps being tailored for use by the government? Do you trust Google with such high levels of potentially sensitive information? Let us know in the comments.