Tag Archive for Google Apps

Database.com now hosting

Following on from all the hype in Australia last week with the Microsoft’s Cloud Power Forums it’s interesting to see how many big companies are moving in more aggressively to offer cloud based solutions.  Not wanting to be left out of the game it seems that SalesForce.com is in the process of launching its own solution but in a left field move it’s focused purely on the database market not the general market.  In a very interesting move to shake up the larger database players like Oracle it’s actually free to get started on Database.com with up to 100,000 records performing no more than 50,000 transactions per month with no more than 3 users.

It seems that SalesForce.com is following Oracles lead in aggressively buying up suitable platforms they can merge into their own Cloud based future with April’s purchase of Jigsaw database for $152 million that gave them a community of 1.2 million members and was followed up with December’s purchase of Heroku for $212 million giving SalesForce.com around 107,577 apps running on Ruby on Rails.  These types of smart cloud technology purchases increase the future possible platforms that maybe offered on Database.com and also give it volume and access to corporate clients like BestBuy who use Heroku.

Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft’s platform Windows Azure also offers a similar platform service SQL Azure but it’s focus is being a cloud based operating system that offers the full suite of development, service hosting under a service management environment via it’s on-demand and scalable datacenters.  Windows Azure is a different platform completely as it offers storage, virtual networks, CDN, application fabrics while it’s SQL Azure offers database, data sync which is closer but not identical to the Database.com solution.  You can usually get a free trial of the Azure platform but it’s not as attractive as Database.com’s offering but is hard to compare as the platforms are like chalk and cheese.

Amazon Cloud

Much of the Amazon cloud platform is built around Amazon Web Services which have continue to expand their product suite to match Microsoft Azure and stay ahead of the competitors with one of the largest range of cloud based services.  Amazon Web Services offer: computational, content delivery network, database, eCommerce, messaging, networking, storage and payments/billing. In what was a very well-timed announcement from the 1st of November, any new Amazon Web Services customer will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 Micro Instance for a year for free which also advises that it’s competing product Amazon SimpleDB is free indefinitely. While comparing the SimpleDB to Database.com is much easier the interesting point is that Database.com doesn’t charge for data transfer which might make the Database.com product much cheaper for companies based outside the US/EU in the APAC region.

Google App Engine

Run your web apps on Google's infrastructureGoogle has led the market in offering a majority of its applications hosted and powered from the cloud and they trying to capture more of that profitable enterprise market with its Google App Engine for Business offering.  The product falls flat compared to other solutions with only a 99.9% SLA you can expect around 8 hours 45 minutes downtime to your application every year which is far too high for a cloud hosted platform and twice what Amazon Web Services commits to. There is very little detailed around the Google App Engine pricing except that each application costs $8 per user per month and there is a maximum of $1000/month.  It seems that they are still working on their hosted SQL database product that will more closely compete with Database.com but that might be sometime in 2011 before it’s available for your applications but that would be closer to what Database.com is offering.

What about SEO?

SalesForce.com was actually fairly lucky when they made the decision to use the generic domain Database.com as they are already ranking #8 in Google.com search results for “Database” which means that any advertising or word of mouth campaigns will be more likely to succeed if people can find the Database.com easily.  You can see that Oracle has put a fair bit of focus into database traffic capturing both #2 & #6 but they could potentially do much better and will likely increase their strategies if Database.com continues to climb up the search results.  They are doing quite well for a site that hasn’t been live that long and in such a high volume search term, but they need to continue their success but should focus around terms that include database to get the most impact.

Database search results

What about Social Media?

Their Database.com twitter profile is a bit weak, being how it’s linked from Database.com but doesn’t feature any updates, no avatar and not following anyone… yet it has attracted so far 180 followers and is growing around 6 on average per day since it was launched on the 15th November. It would have made sense to be a bit more proactive in social media and being a week since the official launch there still appears to be no-one at home which might have cost them the early lead all that PR that the Wall Street Journal and ReadWriteCloud generated last week.

databasedotcom twitter statistics

The new Database.com platform seems a great fit with Force.com and SalesForce.com but it still seems that they need a few more pieces before they are able to start to challenge Oracle, Microsoft or Amazon in the Cloud hosting environment but you can expect a busy 2011 for all those who are helping business move their applications into the cloud. It still seems more of a move to counter Oracle than a well executed strategy at this point but keep an eye on this space….

Does business still value privacy online

One of the many very public issues that continue to dominate blogs, twitter, Facebook updates, newspapers, and government senators and regulators time is the failure to value consumer’s privacy. It seems that it is sometimes a mixture of commercial benefit and commercial advantage in some of the recent shift of companies towards anti-privacy and riches for shareholders.  The point around social media is that is growing more hostile and it seems that many businesses are started to fight with consumers rather than addressing the issue that is causing the outcry.  If just a few people notice the problem but it affects millions or hundreds of millions of users/members it should not be ranked as a low priority for a company, social media should highlight issues and give the company advanced warning of the incoming storm.

Privacy is one issue that is not taking a back seat and it seems a number of companies are working towards their third strike in their failure to build safeguards into the software prior to opening users/members social networks and data to the outside world.  Google is featured twice in this blog post the first is around their Buzz platform that was released without many of the safe guards usually built into Google products and managed to hit all the wrong notes with much of the tech crowd. It was not the usually suspects who complained about Google Buzz’s lack of commonsense and ability to censor or control what information was shared or made public such as contacts/friends .

Buzz Privacy Issues This feature was released on those using the free Gmail platform but was held back from the Premier Apps uses due to concerns about privacy and its effect on paid users as it was not yet fully tested and reliable. It is understandable that sometimes a technician may get overly excited in deploying new features but loss of consumer privacy should raise internal warning bells. Instead of the Buzz feature being paused it was gradually updated to include some of the many requested privacy features but still has a number of issues to address. Buzz still seems to be a product that has a long way to go to build back users trust but one that Google will continue to expand into other products until you can’t avoid using it.

Google Streetview Privacy Issues
The second Google privacy issue was only recently discovered in Germany and is an issue that has lay dormant for a number of years, further compounding the issues of a lax view of consumer privacy. The Google Street view team caught recording users MAC Addresses, SSIDs, residents browsing records and possible much more as part of their global program to map and photograph every house and building. This has caused problem in the past with military bases captured, private property invaded and now it seems big brother is confirming you live where you say you did on your personal profile.

Some security experts said that some of the data that could have been collected included emails and even passwords. Google is said to be in contact with regulators in the countries where it has been capturing data over the past several years. The claim is that none of this data has been used yet but was it part of something planned or would disclosure that it had used the data lead to more problems? This type of issue is a concern because it was flagged much later in the process and might have gone unnoticed until Google released a product based on this data if it wasn’t picked up when the German government raised concerns that led Google to a internal audit.

Selling consumer data
MasterCard selling consumer data that it has built up over the years as part of its business intelligence service, that enables large marketers and business to know everything about you before you buy which doesn’t seem right considering they are also charging consumers/banks to use their payment system.

Forced open exchange for social networks
Facebook forcing open exchange with the aggressive but staged removal of many privacy features it sold initially as a key element of the service. Recently Facebook had removed the ability for profiles to keep private what groups/pages they were associated with which seemed to be a partial step before last months change to an open platform.

The users profile data that contained items of interest which was linked to a search that enabled you to find other Facebook users that had the same interest. It seemed that this fragmented model made it more difficult for advertisers to target as you could like “Movies” or “Films” which is technically the same activity/interest but would require advertisers to target both keywords. This targeting could be further complicated as users often used a mixture of singular and plural versions.

Facebook Ads

Facebook overcame this problem with its recent conversion of this profile data to a Wikipedia style “like” page that made for more targetable and refined profile pages for advertisers, with less options for Facebook users. The problem around the new automate “like” is that this information from these pages is now feed into your Facebook news feed and it is also publically visible.

Some of the steps required to maintain your privacy required a number of extensive steps such as removing all likes/interests from your profile page, ensuring your page is not index by search engines but also you change your date of birth to be under the age of 18. This change combined with other restrictive settings made your profile almost invisible outside your network of friends . The one problem is that Facebook actually flags these users who have set their privacy settings high with a different message that almost confirms they are a member by message along the lines of they maybe on Facebook but cannot be found via email due to privacy settings. This is a vastly different message if they are not a member, as it prompts you to invite them, I tried to get a screenshot of this, but it has to be generated via an account who has never been a friend.

There is a negative side effect for Facebook as Danny from SEL pointed out one of the top suggested terms on Google was “how do i delete my facebook account“, and Facebook groups calling for a June 15 Delete my Facebook account day.  The update appears to be that Facebook is rolling in some privacy features that address some of the issues, but based on past behaviour its a matter of time before they revoke these privacy features and go back down the path of evil….

Your ISP onsells your data
Your ISP is selling your browsing habits to the highest bidder as part of what started as a small side business has turned into a billion dollar consumer intelligence business. Most business uses some type of web analytics package that enables you to see details such as what site drove you to their site or what keywords you used on the search engine to find them. The difficulty that business faces is that they don’t usually know what you visited after you left but there are a number of ways that data is available for the right price. Market intelligence companies such as Hit Wise are able to provide much more detailed information on your site, your competitors or industry vertical. The reports offer an overall list of what were the sites visited prior and after as well a mass of other data points that can help business but this privacy violation is most likely covered by the agreement you signed with your ISP.

Photocopies keep records of everything you print/copy
Photocopiers typically contain a hard-drive that capturers a majority of the documents scanned or printed from the device for various reasons. While it is advertised in the fine print by manufactures the extra costs to protect consumer privacy seems too high for managers who often make the decision not to address the issue and just hope its not discovered while they are working there when purchasing a new photocopier. The problem is that this issue is not limited to small business as it extends up to government departments who should take more care with their private data.

Business benefits from no unsubscribe option
Diesel fails email marketing by failing to use unsubscribe features provided by eCircle, but it is likely that this problem is not unique to Diesel as business often tries to customise software internally to save money. There is a financial benefit for business in not letting consumers easily unsubscribe but long term it can be very damaging to their brand and reputation. The problem is that many of these decisions are made by marketing managers who typically only see 18-36 months ahead and by then they plan to move on before the activity comes back to haunt them.

It pays business to spam consumers
You can buy software to crawl websites to capture postal, email and phone details for resell to marketing firms, who can then clean the data and add more data points before on selling to agencies and companies to target. This problem is not unique to websites, but can also be sourced from blogs who fail to use an effective comment management solution or even sold by blog owners. It is alarming to discover which big companies and agencies actually request to have this type of activity built into a marketing strategy. The issue for consumers and regulators is the lack of concern with the likely fallout as the spam fines are much smaller than the profit they will make on the activity as they get paid on numbers. So while consumer data continues to be more valuable when exploited than when protected don’t expect your details to stay private forever.

Facebook Profile Research
Companies and marketers can easily and are starting to explore how to crawl your Facebook profile for research and analysis of consumer behaviour and understand friend networks to identify social influencers and early adopters. Some of this activity has been stopped by Facebook through legal action but the ease at which it can be done should alarm consumers.

Twitter Timeline
Your Twitter timeline is indexed and available for companies and marketers to search and profile forever. To further compound the issue software can be used to search this data and then the data can be mined to show much more detail and even relationships between those who selectively RT based on company or keyword. While twitter does offer the ability for preferences such as protected profiles such as shown below for @BillClinton , which cannot be retweeted or read without the users permission it doesn’t stop the whole problem. Twitter revolves around responses which if the original tweet is not visible may be read out of context or exposed to a larger audience if someone following you responds. As David Olsen also pointed out protected tweets can be ReTweeted but applications like TweetDeck warn you that if it is a protected account, which can save some mistakes by your followers.

Protected Twitter Page
This issue was brought to light when an Australian young liberal made the mistake of taking a swipe at US President Obama calling him a Monkey on Twitter. The response did not address the privacy issues it just resulted in death threats, the Australian Liberal party revoking his party membership and Twitter closing his account down. While the issue highlights the problems with limited consumer privacy within social media the heavy handed approach highlights a bigger issue of censorship by commercial entities.

Social Media data can be mined
The Twitter and Facebook data can be used to track who was the original whistle blower or which consumer inflamed the problem for the company. This appears to be happening currently with P&G who are spending significant resources tracking who is claiming their product causes rashes than resolving the social media issues. The problem of consumer privacy is also addressed with employers and even college administrators mining Facebook data to profile if the candidate is suitable or matches their ideal model citizen. The problem is that much of this invasion of consumer privacy goes unreported as candidates will just been advised they did not qualify or succeed and it will not be explained that it was due to their social media footprint.

Companies need to think of users long term
As these companies user base continues to grow they need to be starting to think more long term how this may affect their users and not just what advertisers are asking for or being a defector censorship force. All these matters just continue to build and grow but it seems the fact that they occurred so easily and the speed at which they are being solved is much slower than the initial update that affected the users privacy settings.

Related Images:

Google Apps Campaign

From the recent moves it appears that Go-Google-Campaign-adGoogle has taken an aggressive move from its previous purely online marketing of Google Apps with its new “Go Google” campaign.

One of the most obvious offline moves is the placement of large billboards along major roads in New York, Chicago, Boston & San Francisco.  CNET understand that the idea is to catch the many IT managers stuck in traffic horror spots such as New York’s West Side Highway or San Francisco’s U.S. 101.

These billboards will be changed everyday for a month forming a daily story starting with Day #1: Just heard about going Google. I want to know more.

The interesting aspect to this campaign is how the locations for the billboards have been chosen don’t seem to match with any logical data that I have found.  The closest match is if the location selected is based on top cities by population but the leaves out LA & Houston, which both have terrible traffic problems.

Top 10 worst cities for commuters

  1. Atlanta
  2. Detroit
  3. Miami
  4. Orlando
  5. Dallas
  6. Tampa
  7. Washington DC
  8. Houston
  9. Los Angeles
  10. San Francisco

Top cities by population

1. New York city
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Houston
5. Phoenix
6. Philadelphia
7. San Antonio
8. Dallas
12.  San Francisco
22.  Boston

If you use Google Insight for search to check trends for the last 12 months around “Google Apps” again these locations do not closely match the locations for the billboards.  Los Angeles shown again this time featured as a top potential location for Google Apps interest but is not one of the first locations for the billboards.

Top Metro Locations

  1. Denvergoogle-apps-map
  2. Boise
  3. Burlington
  4. Charlottesville
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Salt Lake City
  7. Austin
  8. San Francisco
  9. Portland
  10. Seattle-Tacoma

If we further analyse the Google Insight for search data based on state location we can see that San Francisco is top of the list and is also the city where Google was founded.   Boston is likely chosen based purely on the MIT students who will when they graduate will be the next group of IT decision makers, deciding between Google & Microsoft.

Top city Locations

  1. San Francisco
  2. Denver
  3. Pleasanton
  4. Austin
  5. Los Angeles
  6. New York
  7. Seattle
  8. Portland
  9. Tampa
  10. Washington

Through the WSJ, we have confirmation that Google has annouced a that they have started a global roll-out of this campaign to expand overseas starting in train stations and airports.  The extended Gone Google campaign countries include UK, France, Canada, Japan, Australian and Singapore to increase their current userbase of 20 million users. This expansion followed up from our previous statements that there will be more locations and more campaigns launched over the next few weeks.  We also expect to see many of these cities listed in this blog post will be next as they increase their apps marketing focus within the US.

As for other moves into various offline media, the managing director of Google creative labs Andy Berndt said that at this stage Google Apps will not be advertised in other offline media like magazines, newspapers, television or radio.

The online Google Apps movement seems to be very similar to the successful “Spread Firefox” movement combined with pester power with the launch of a new product website built using their Google Apps Sites product, so they ask do you want to Go Google?

The Go Google website offers handy email templates to assist your creative blocks to help let your IT team know you want Google Apps. It also has 3 non-environmentally friendly pdf posters to print out and post around the office to use for internal marketing, maybe encouraging Friday afternoon pranks?

Google Apps at Work Poster 1
Google Apps at Work Poster 2
Google Apps at Work Poster 3

Some other more business orientated information provided is some product cheat sheets so staff can explain some of the more technical benefits of Google Apps for messaging & collaboration to help the move to Google.

Google Apps Collaboration
Google Apps Messaging

Google are yet to see how aggressive Microsoft hits back to promote Office 2010 through their network of thousands of retailers and partners. Microsoft has already moved quickly to start the online promotion of Office 2010 so quickly that the website and videos were published before the campaign was announced… The new marketing website from Microsoft has stepped up a level with smart product demos, social media campaigns and free technical previews of the software.

Microsoft has shown a departure from the past where only a inner circle would get a chance to test and preview their upcoming software so are Microsoft are starting to learn from how Google that good word of mouth can be a cheaper and more powerful that traditional advertising? So who will win the hearts and wallets of IT administrators, Google the traditional online going offline or Microsoft the traditional offline pushing online?

The process to signup Google Apps Premier Edition for your domain is easy enough:

1. Choose a domain name
2. Sign up
3. Purchase
4. Set up

So we suggest that you give Google Apps Premier Edition a try today.

Will more Websites offer SMS password recovery?

In what is a very obvious “head smacking” move Google has allowed users to fast track access to their accounts by a simple SMS recovery feature.  The existing process of having to contact Gmail support is time consuming so anything to speed up the process of reclaiming access to your account is a great move forward.

This SMS feature may not get around the fact that people can guess your simple passwords, what is the answer to your secret question or your partner/mates can’t steal your mobile.  It is a great move forward and could prove quite useful for AdWords/Analytics accounts as web developers often move on leaving companies without access to their accounts.

This would be a great feature for OpenID accounts and even Facebook with the rise in accounts being hacked.  Google has made an interesting move forward but how does this integrate with Google Voice or Skype?

Google’s Apps Road Ahead: Positive & Negative

Google Apps Premier Edition reseller program is Google global attempt to build a dynamic channel capable of taking down Microsoft unrivaled army of more than 100,000 channel partners in America and hundreds of thousands around the world pitching the Microsoft Office suite.

So the question is around all the hype about the launch for GAPE reseller program, how to compete with the millions that Microsoft has in its slush fund? Money is thrown at suppliers to help with market development, joint marketing programs are developed and teams of technical and sales support staff help you along the course. Microsoft still outspends Google at every step, and this is something that is proven to keep its cash draws ringing with their reseller partners.

Ok so Microsoft can be thought of as the Granddad of the software reseller channel, and they have poured billions over just the past few years into supporting this model. They have even held back products such as Office Live to ensure their partners dont get cold feet and leave!

Bill Gates ensured plenty of channel investment was in place to support their aggressive channel programs, as they understand failure at any point in the channel could cost sales.

Google is probably the worlds best direct marketing company, they have just a handful of partners under its Google Adwords Reseller, Company & Professional program. They have their Website Optimiser Technology Partners, Google Analytics Authorised Consultants & Seminars for Success providers.

Google does have deep pockets, but little support across the channel with most power held by product managers and directors. Google does have amazing technical support and very deep pockets with system such as Adwords in place to drive the sales channel. But with estimates such as over 85% of the Google Apps traffic being driven by Adwords campaigns, is the option for GAPE resellers too expensive online?

So Google Apps sits in the Enterprise team, that is just one step from their Adwords team, so does that mean the joint marketing programs will be easier to administer or will it mean taking from peter to pay paul? Google has massive potential to drive sales to its channel partners, but what happens when some partners dont pick up the leads or customers buy direct from Google?

Im sure that Stephen Cho will do a great job, since the channel is also a new concept to the company, but there will be questions from many companies considering accepting GAPE just to get more leads from Google.

Ok so Google Apps with a full channel is still a small market on their company revenue chart but given the $60 billion in annual sales that it will slowly cut from Microsoft, it looks worth the effort.

Google’s enterprise group is maybe not the perfect location for Google Apps, as the software is yet to be fully intergrated with its Search Appliance business. Google Apps only got access to Google Analytics late last year. So will Google enable their Google Apps customers to closer intergrate solutions such as Google Mini into their Google Sites to bring the solution closer to SharePoint?

With all those points in mind, Scott Campbell of ChannelWeb listed a number of positive and negative points about Google Apps Premier Edition reseller program.

The Positive Facts

1. Outstanding Technology And A Great Product
By nearly all solution provider accounts, Google Apps is a robust, yet simple, platform that is easy to deploy in both small businesses and enterprises. And it’s scalable enough to support a company’s growing needs. Google has done a great job fielding a full-function cloud computing Office productivity suite. Microsoft has clearly held back here in a bid to keep the standard Office productivity suite as a cash cow.

As it stands now, Microsoft is not set to offer Office Web Applications — lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote accessible through Web browsers — until the next version of Office, which is due sometime in early 2010.

2. The Google Brand
Google has developed great brand in the Web 2.0 world. It is the leader in providing the undisputed best search technology in the world for the Internet. It’s hard to bet against a company whose name has become a verb. No one’s ever said, “Yeah, let me Office it to you.” Google, of course, is attempting to leverage that brand with a Google-authorized reseller logo program.

3. Get Googled
Google plans to include a reseller listing on the Google Apps site, allowing potential customers to find you before you can find them. In the age of Internet searching, that’s a plus for solution providers looking for new business.

4. Recurring Revenue
Recurring revenue is the word for the 21st century VAR. That’s why managed services are hot. Businesses want monthly, predictable subscription billing for all their technology needs, not just Internet and cell phone services. Granted, no one is going to get rich from the $10 profit on a $50-per-user annual fee on Google Apps Premier edition. But, once again, predictable recurring revenue is king and this is a way to get there.

Remember this full cloud computing office productivity suite segment is an area where Microsoft is, to some degree, sitting out until 2010. Bad move, Microsoft.

5. Services Opportunity
You won’t get rich selling the Google Apps software, but make no mistake about it, there is a lot of money to be made setting up the cloud and managing a secure end-to-end, cloud computing environment for customers. Consider that solution provider margins on the standard Microsoft Office productivity suite are also negligible. Services is where it’s at. Services. Services. Services.

The Negative Points

1. Low Channel IQ
Nothing against Stephen Cho, the Google executive charged with leading the Google Apps channel program, but starting a reseller program from scratch is not easy. Expect some growing pains as Google learns what solution providers need.

Google does not appear to have assembled a channel-savvy team as it takes the reseller plunge. Not a good sign when it is looking to build a channel of tens of thousands of partners to go up against Microsoft. Google’s hubris is not something that channel partners are going to appreciate. Some signs of the low Google channel IQ: The search giant has not assembled a partner advisory board, partner conference or regional road shows.

2. No Deal Registration
Google expects solution providers to add their own value to entice customers, but watch your back for someone willing to grab the deal at the last second. Not a good sign given that we’re talking about a $10 margin on a $50 annual subscription fee.

If CDW and some of the other reseller giants get into the game then expect what is likely to be an untenable situation for solution providers trying to get off the ground with Google. They’re spending a lot of time selling, only to have the rug pulled out from under them at the last minute by either a big player, another partner, or even Google itself jumping in and giving the product away for the services opportunity.

3. A No Tier Channel Program
One of the best ways to grow stronger, more loyal partners, is to feed leads to your best and your brightest. Because Google doesn’t know who those companies are yet, some leads may fall to inferior partners. Most vendors have tiered channel relationships for this reason. The more you invest as a partner, the greater your reward.

4. Negative Cash Flow
Google expects to be paid in full for a year-long subscription up front, even if the VAR decides to charge customers monthly or quarterly. With more end users opting for a bill spread over a longer period of time, solution providers must weigh charging in full up front, or ensuring they have the right cash flow to float the business throughout the year until they recoup all the costs.

5. No Distributor Participation
Google expects to significantly increase its number of solution providers in 2009, but it’s missing the boat by not leveraging distribution to do this. For one, distributors have long earned VARs’ trust, which eliminates concerns about channel conflict with Google’s direct sales force. Google already has relationships with distributors for its Search Appliance. Why not expand those relationships?

Google Apps business model available

Official Google Blog: Network effects: Introducing the Google Apps Authorized Reseller Program

Google is pushing ahead with its plans to move more business onto its Google Apps platform, my only concern is of the 50 pilot companies who have signed up now have their business model shaken up. These pilot companies and anyone else who signs up have their entire business model and details about their costs splashed across the net.

Im in favour of more companies promoting and supporting Google Apps, but i would have thought that Google would be a little more discreet about keeping its partners profit margins confidential.

Free Google Apps Limitations

This site had an image of 1 billion dollars would look like stacked on pallets and quickly registered around 261 Diggs but the user had the image hosted on a free Google site located at http://sites.google.com/site/artmarcovici/ since they were using the free version it crashed with a warning notification shown.

“We are sorry, but this site has exceeded its bandwidth limit at this time. Please try again later. For more information, see Google Sites help.”

This error page shows the some of the common issues with SaaS and how any issues or errors are very visible and often not explained correctly. If you are using a free hosted version you cannot expect the same level of support, features and bandwidth.  This massive amount of traffic failed because it is likely that they were  using the free Google Apps suite, but a link such as why not upgrade to Google Apps Premier Edition and never see this error again…

The worry is that this Digg stories combined with their recent push into Promoting their Google Apps Premier Edition to their Reseller partners can produce distrust for their products. SaaS news did a short article on the renewed push by Google to beat IBM, Yahoo & Microsoft in the online market.

With more than 1 million business customers using Google Apps, Google decides it’s time to broaden its cloud computing ecosystem by letting other businesses resell its Google Apps Premier Edition suite of messaging and collaboration applications. Now vendors will be able to resell GAPE for $40 per user, a 20 percent discount from Google’s $50 per-user, per-year fee. GAPE includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sites and other apps.

A clarification, im using Google Apps Premier Edition and its one of the best SaaS solutions that I found in the market, its worth the $50/year just for the enterprise Gmail featured with 99.99% SLA on uptime.