Speculation is this morning running rampant that Google will announce real estate giant Ray White has implemented the search giant’s flagship Google Apps suite, after Ray White staff posted their jubilation at “going Google” online this morning.
“Ray White Group ‘first mover’ — ready for a significant announcement with Google in the [real estate] space. Here comes ‘G5’ cloud-based technology,” wrote Ray White New Zealand chief executive Carey Smith on Twitter this morning, in a somewhat cryptic post.
“Ray White has gone Google. A platform for a new generation of services and thinking,” added Ben White, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as a non-executive director at the real estate giant. “Ray White & Google … sounds like a match!!” added Chris Wilkins, the business owner of Ray White Drummoyne.
An individual named David Fry also posted about the issue, linking to a website called “Channel 5”, which appears to deal with internal communication at Ray White and may be the platform for the Google Apps deployment.
Neither Ray White or Google spokespeople could immediately comment on the posts, but Google has a press conference scheduled for 11AM this morning where it plans to reveal two new Australian enterprise customers of Google Apps, the first of which is expected to be Flight Centre. If Ray White has deployed Google Apps, the rollout will be a significant one — the real estate giant has over 1000 individual offices spread across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates.
The news comes as the debate continues to progress within Australia’s technology sector about the merits of Gmail versus Exchange.
Last week online discussion was sparked by the news that the University of Melbourne had picked Gmail (included as part of Google Apps) for its email platform, after polls of students indicated a “strong” preference for the Google offering over the alternative Live@EDU platform, despite the popularity of the Microsoft offering amongst university IT administrators around the nation.
The two competing platforms have been engaged in a running dogfight for the hearts and minds of Australia’s educational institutions over the past several years in Australia. But after a series of skirmishes — the latest one which resulted in the University of Technology Sydney picking Live@EDU over the past several weeks, it has appeared that the Microsoft camp was winning.
Companies and governments in the Australian market have been slow to adopt Google Apps so far, citing the lack of a local hosting option and enterprise manageability and integration with corporate applications as a concern.
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Image credit: Google