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Online Collaboration: Google inside

Google recently made a string of interesting acquisitions. Among them: Android, 2Web Technologies, Marratech, GrandCentral and Gizmo5.

Frost&Sullivan saw this as a harbinger of Google’s yet-not-publicized strategy of addressing two important B2B markets, the markets for unified communications and the market for online collaboration tools. they even went so far to project that these two markets will merge into one, the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) market.

Now, this assessment is solid. Take Google’s culture of innovation, add numerous acquisitions (and more to come) and an openness to third party developers, spice it with major building blocks already there – a VoIP service (Google Voice), social media tool (Google Buzz), mobile services (Android) and recently abandoned online collaboration platform (Google Wave) – we are almost there. This will create a cost-effective UCC package for businesses.

What does this mean for innovation management? Expect that in 5 years from now intra- and extra-company innovation is to a large deal done in virtual rooms – with voice, virtual whiteboards, collaboratively written documents, shared files and all the other goodies that today’s online collaboration tools provide. Plus some more.