Google is expected later today to add more email security and storage products aimed at the enterprise market.
According to an Associated Press report, the announcement will cover message filtering, message security, and message discovery. Google also is offering to retain email data for longer periods.
Essentially, Google is looking to strengthen its ability to weed out junk email and potential viruses, as well as protect against the leaking of confidential data via email.
The tools build upon the technology that Google gained last year from its acquisition of email specialist Postini. Google bought Postini in a move to increase the appeal of Google's hosted applications among big businesses.
According to the Associated Press, Google says the latest features are compatible with Microsoft Exchange as well as Lotus Notes and Novell Groupwise. Prices will range from $3 per user to $25 per user, depending on how much protection and data retention a customer wants.
There is little doubt that Google is eying up Microsoft as it pushes into the business software market, where Microsoft enjoys a dominant position thanks to its Office and email offerings. But Microsoft is also looking at parking its tanks on Google’s lawn, with its recent offer to purchase the search engine company Yahoo!
Meanwhile analyst house Ovum thinks that Google's pick-and-mix offering is attractive thanks to its aggressive pricing, which is calculated on a per-user, per-year basis.
"This announcement may seem fairly insignificant compared with the current controversy over the ownership of Yahoo," commented Ovum analyst Graham Titterington. "However, it shows how the big service players in the Internet are shaping up to compete on each others' territory."
"The rate of progress at Postini since its acquisition by Google in September 2007 has been impressive. It now has 40,000 business customers and 14 million users," he added.
But Titterington has reservations about Google's piecemeal approach, as enterprises are more concerned with comprehensive security services, and are looking to rationalise their supplier base.