Rajen Sheth of Google – Web 2.0’s Impacts on Business

Rajen Sheth was on fire today…as were some of the Google Data centers he showed us in his presentation. Fortunately, Google is prepared for such events.

One of the nuggets that I think folks will take away from his talk was that software-as-a-service – SaaS – allows companies to focus on business and not on infrastructure. Instead of having to focus on the technology – installing, maintaining, etc. – they can use hosted services that just work.

Going back to 1997, he spoke about initial user testing of Google, “Users just sat there…they were still waiting for the page to load.” But Rajen’s point is that simple (especially a simple interface) does not infer simplicity.

Google is close to building a full office suite…that exists totally on the web. Rajen spoke to the fact that Google actually uses its own technology – search, online apps like Gmail and Blogger, and otherwise – to run its intranet:

I have 42,000 e-mails in my inbox…using 3 GB of space…I never delete them…I can access e-mails from several years ago. I have 100,00 documents on my laptop.

Search as a navigation paradigm was definitely harped on, and that makes sense, coming from Google. The sheer number of data Rajen has in his inbox and on his laptop are only possible with search.

Some interesting stats, which is probably why Google has focused on building Google Apps for Your Domain: 33% of businesses use an ASP (think SalesForce.com) and 22% will do so in the next two years.

Hosted (or “ASP”) services make sense for businesses, especially for small businesses. Considering the sheer number of them out there, Google, SalesForce, thinkfree, and others are likely going to have growing user bases.