Wyoming is rolling out the red carpet for Google's cloud services, officially becoming the first state in the nation to implement Google Apps for Government for all state workers. After implementing the cloud services and migrating about 10,000 workers to the new platform Wednesday morning, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, of sorts. Instead of a ribbon, though, he cut a network cable about eight months after the state gave Google the green light.
Google Apps for Government includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, Video and FISMA-certified security. Disaster recovery is included at no extra cost. Other states are using some of these apps, but Wyoming is the first to go statewide.
A Cool Million Bucks
"Not only has Wyoming cut the cord and gone to cloud-based computing, allowing more mobility for and collaboration between employees, this is also the first time all of our employees have been on a shared e-mail platform," Mead said. "This means greater efficiency, and it will almost certainly lead to better service to the public."
He pointed out that the Google Apps for Government move also saves money in costs related to servers, licensing and staff. Compared to what the state would have spent for equivalent features in its previous system, Mead anticipates dramatic savings associated with e-mail storage and overall security. More than $1 million a year, to be exact.
"My office was in the first wave to transition to Google Apps, and I am pleased to say it has already made a big difference," Mead said. "Among its many features, Google Apps has provided efficiencies for scheduling and for keeping the office running smoothly."
FTC Targeting Google Again?
Google may be celebrating the government win, but the search giant could be headed for another government loss. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission is requesting information from Google.
The agency's five-member panel of commissioners is preparing to send its formal demands for information to Google within days, Journal sources said, and other companies are likely to receive official requests for information about their dealings with Google at a later stage.
In March, Google agreed to settle FTC charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own consumer privacy promises when it launched its Buzz social network in 2010. The regulatory agency said Google's practices violated the FTC Act.
Google's proposed settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.