SkySlope Lets Real Estate Brokers Manage Business Online

 

Real estate has always been one of America’s most lively industries. Every year, some two million licensed agents and 86,000 brokerage firms work day and night to move billions of dollars worth of commercial and residential properties. Bearing that in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine why so many young professionals flock to join the industry.

But it takes a lot of hard work and meticulous organization in order to achieve success in real estate. That’s something Tyler Smith, founder and CEO of industry game-changer SkySlope, found out the hard way.

“When I was 19, my friend and I decided to buy a house,” he says. “We had no expectations of what home buying should look like. We found a house, made an offer, and get this: our Realtor advised us to forgo a warranty and a home inspection to save some money.”

In hindsight, that was some pretty awful advice.  Immediately after closing on the deal, Smith’s new hot water heater broke down and ended up costing more in repairs than it would have taken to purchase a home inspection and a home warranty.

The awful experience convinced Smith that if his Realtor could offer that sort of customer service and still make “a huge chunk of change”, anyone could make it in the real estate industry.

“Real estate seemed like a no brainer,” he says. “I figured I could do it better, and it seemed pretty easy.”

That being said, the industry was a bit harder to crack than Smith has initially hoped.

“I laugh now because getting into real estate turned out to be harder than I thought,” he says. “But eventually, I figured out how to leverage business by building relationships. Customer service turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving; give white glove service to people, and they can’t help but refer you. I built my entire business on this principal.”

The business Smith refers to is SkySlope — a rapidly growing B2B software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps real estate agents and brokerages effectively manage their transactions online.

Real Estate Broker Software

Since its inception in 2010, SkySlope has grown by leaps and bounds. The company’s business has more than doubled in size over the last 12 months, and now helps to manage the transactions for some of America’s largest brokerages. Century 21, Keller Williams and Alain Pinel have all fallen head-over-heels for SkySlope’s ever-expanding pool of offerings.

That being said, SkySlope wasn’t built in a day — and it took Smith quite a while in order to assemble the perfect team to address the industry concerns that had plagued his own time selling real estate.

“As a Realtor, I needed my business to be accessible to my team and at my fingertips, no matter where I was,” he says. “Plus, giant paper files are cumbersome and archaic.”

“In my search to be super-efficient, I literally tried every application on the market. To be honest, I spent a lot of money, and in the end, none of them were robust enough. Similar to my outlook on getting into real estate, I figured I could create a platform that could handle transaction management and I could do it better than what was being offered.”

SkySlope’s team of cutting-edge developers were able to achieve those goals in record time. But from there, Smith said he was surprised to find just how challenging it would be to ensure that his new, game-changing software actually took off.

“I laugh now because I had no idea the amount of work and people power it would take to produce, sell, onboard and support a product like SkySlope,” Smith says.

But once Smith and his small team were able to build a bit of momentum, the ball started rolling fast.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and SkySlope is now home to 70 employees. Based in sunny Sacramento, the company has already established poll position as the real estate industry’s leading SaaS provider – and it’s not hard to see why.

“We are a service that helps brokerages bring value to their agents,” Smith says. “By streamlining, digitizing and storing transactions, we allow agents to spend their time on their clients and prospecting, which in turn helps brokerage be more successful.”

That service has already proven invaluable to small, independent brokerages in helping them to establish unbeatable levels of customer service. In turn, small business owners are drastically improving their competitiveness over the real estate industry’s global giants.

“Small brokers have to show that they are on the leading edge of the industry,” Smith says. “Providing services like transaction management software and transaction coordination help the boutique brokerages compete with the big corporate brokerages.”

“Yes, there is a cost associated with these services, but that’s the cost of doing business. Small brokers may be hands-on, but are they helping their agents be more efficient and effective? If small brokers are providing value, then they will have loyal agents and they will be prosperous.”

At the end of the day, it’s this notion of providing great value that drives Smith and his ambitions for SkySlope. After all, the real estate industry is ever-changing – and the SkySlope CEO is well aware that his company’s services must continue to evolve, too.

“Currently, SkySlope is working on streamlining our product and making it more intuitive. Once we tackle that, we want to start building full automation into the software,” Smith says. “I want SkySlope to be the Tesla of real estate software — fully automated, extremely accurate, luxurious and accessible.”

According to Smith, full automation is undeniably where the industry is heading. And by simplifying procedures for bustling brokerages, real estate experts will be able to free up their time in order to offer more support to hard-working agents on the ground.

“I love real estate, and I loved being a Realtor. I don’t want to see the industry collapse under the weight of technology,” Smith says. “We have to leverage the technology that is rendering real estate less valuable, pivot, and implement value in a different way.”

“I think agents who are providing phenomenal, over the top customer service are going to thrive.”

 

SkySlope Lets Real Estate Brokers Manage Business Online

 

Real estate has always been one of America’s most lively industries. Every year, some two million licensed agents and 86,000 brokerage firms work day and night to move billions of dollars worth of commercial and residential properties. Bearing that in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine why so many young professionals flock to join the industry.

But it takes a lot of hard work and meticulous organization in order to achieve success in real estate. That’s something Tyler Smith, founder and CEO of industry game-changer SkySlope, found out the hard way.

“When I was 19, my friend and I decided to buy a house,” he says. “We had no expectations of what home buying should look like. We found a house, made an offer, and get this: our Realtor advised us to forgo a warranty and a home inspection to save some money.”

In hindsight, that was some pretty awful advice.  Immediately after closing on the deal, Smith’s new hot water heater broke down and ended up costing more in repairs than it would have taken to purchase a home inspection and a home warranty.

The awful experience convinced Smith that if his Realtor could offer that sort of customer service and still make “a huge chunk of change”, anyone could make it in the real estate industry.

“Real estate seemed like a no brainer,” he says. “I figured I could do it better, and it seemed pretty easy.”

That being said, the industry was a bit harder to crack than Smith has initially hoped.

“I laugh now because getting into real estate turned out to be harder than I thought,” he says. “But eventually, I figured out how to leverage business by building relationships. Customer service turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving; give white glove service to people, and they can’t help but refer you. I built my entire business on this principal.”

The business Smith refers to is SkySlope — a rapidly growing B2B software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps real estate agents and brokerages effectively manage their transactions online.

Real Estate Broker Software

Since its inception in 2010, SkySlope has grown by leaps and bounds. The company’s business has more than doubled in size over the last 12 months, and now helps to manage the transactions for some of America’s largest brokerages. Century 21, Keller Williams and Alain Pinel have all fallen head-over-heels for SkySlope’s ever-expanding pool of offerings.

That being said, SkySlope wasn’t built in a day — and it took Smith quite a while in order to assemble the perfect team to address the industry concerns that had plagued his own time selling real estate.

“As a Realtor, I needed my business to be accessible to my team and at my fingertips, no matter where I was,” he says. “Plus, giant paper files are cumbersome and archaic.”

“In my search to be super-efficient, I literally tried every application on the market. To be honest, I spent a lot of money, and in the end, none of them were robust enough. Similar to my outlook on getting into real estate, I figured I could create a platform that could handle transaction management and I could do it better than what was being offered.”

SkySlope’s team of cutting-edge developers were able to achieve those goals in record time. But from there, Smith said he was surprised to find just how challenging it would be to ensure that his new, game-changing software actually took off.

“I laugh now because I had no idea the amount of work and people power it would take to produce, sell, onboard and support a product like SkySlope,” Smith says.

But once Smith and his small team were able to build a bit of momentum, the ball started rolling fast.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and SkySlope is now home to 70 employees. Based in sunny Sacramento, the company has already established poll position as the real estate industry’s leading SaaS provider – and it’s not hard to see why.

“We are a service that helps brokerages bring value to their agents,” Smith says. “By streamlining, digitizing and storing transactions, we allow agents to spend their time on their clients and prospecting, which in turn helps brokerage be more successful.”

That service has already proven invaluable to small, independent brokerages in helping them to establish unbeatable levels of customer service. In turn, small business owners are drastically improving their competitiveness over the real estate industry’s global giants.

“Small brokers have to show that they are on the leading edge of the industry,” Smith says. “Providing services like transaction management software and transaction coordination help the boutique brokerages compete with the big corporate brokerages.”

“Yes, there is a cost associated with these services, but that’s the cost of doing business. Small brokers may be hands-on, but are they helping their agents be more efficient and effective? If small brokers are providing value, then they will have loyal agents and they will be prosperous.”

At the end of the day, it’s this notion of providing great value that drives Smith and his ambitions for SkySlope. After all, the real estate industry is ever-changing – and the SkySlope CEO is well aware that his company’s services must continue to evolve, too.

“Currently, SkySlope is working on streamlining our product and making it more intuitive. Once we tackle that, we want to start building full automation into the software,” Smith says. “I want SkySlope to be the Tesla of real estate software — fully automated, extremely accurate, luxurious and accessible.”

According to Smith, full automation is undeniably where the industry is heading. And by simplifying procedures for bustling brokerages, real estate experts will be able to free up their time in order to offer more support to hard-working agents on the ground.

“I love real estate, and I loved being a Realtor. I don’t want to see the industry collapse under the weight of technology,” Smith says. “We have to leverage the technology that is rendering real estate less valuable, pivot, and implement value in a different way.”

“I think agents who are providing phenomenal, over the top customer service are going to thrive.”

 

Skype Gets a Facelift! How Will the Big Redesign Change Your Business?

 

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has launched a new and revamped Skype featuring a host of new features that are obviously inspired by messaging rivals such as Snapchat and Messenger. That basically means that the Microsoft application now features a redesign that puts the camera only a swipe away as well as a Stories-like feature dubbed “Highlights.”

The ‘Next Generation of Skype’

Highlights allows you to record your day using video clips and photos. And you can then select if you want them seen by a select few or by all your connections. This feature most obviously gives business owners and marketers alike the option to feature and advertise their products to their Skype connections.

The new Skype also dresses up conversations with emojis, stickers, GIFs, along with @mentions, giving marketers a chance to showcase their personalities and even have some fun when promoting their products.

Skype is also leveraging the Bing search engine, Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant and third-party chat bots and add-ins from the likes of Upworthy, YouTube, Giphy and BigOven.How Will the 'Next Generation of Skype' Change Your Business?

Also described by the Skype Team as “the next generation of Skype,” the new design noticeably focuses on messaging. The messaging interface now includes chat, find and capture. Chat basically features the conversation view with options for picture additions and emoji. The Find section allows you to search through a conversation, find restaurants, images and even add-ins like Giphy. Capture allows you to capture pictures or videos with an option to add stickers and text, just as you would on Snapchat.

Skype isn’t losing its heart, though, as it still allows for video connectivity between contacts. That’s still there.

The rollout for the new Skype will be gradual as it will first hit Android devices and iOS devices will follow. Windows and Mac versions will be released over the next few months. The Skype Team didn’t say anything about potential changes to Skype for Business.

 

Bing Rolls Out Mobile Ad Targeting – Now on Par With Google

 

Bing Ads fully rolled out the pilot launch of its mobile ad platform recently, setting the stage for competition with Google AdWords putting Bing Ads on par with the undisputed search leader’s ad network.

The update to Bing Ads brings with it expanded device targeting, allowing for greater control of bids specific to device type. Advertisers can now target users of desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones specifically.

Expanded Device Targeting for Bing Ads

This form of control not only specifies target, but also tailors the adjusted bid ranges. The following table shows the bid percentages by device type on Bing’s new platform.

Expanded Device Targeting for Bing Ads

By having the ability to target audiences more specifically, advertisers can measure ROI and make changes accordingly to improve return, such as excluding devices that are under-performing. If your business notices that desktop ads produce fewer results, opting out of them is as simple as setting the range to -100 percent. Previous versions did not allow this.

Further modifications can be made in advanced campaign settings with scheduling and location specific ads.

Expanded Device Targeting for Bing Ads

As a business you are now able to target customers that are in your vicinity by the devices they are using. When you consider that current estimates place smartphone searches at 82 percent, this is a valuable proposition.

With mobile quickly becoming the go-to medium, the ability to opt-out of desktop was a desired feature by many advertisers. This move will further support the near mobile-only campaigns preferred by small businesses and their target audiences.Expanded Device Targeting for Bing Ads

Bing to Google Connectivity

Another strategy employed by Bing is bid adjustments across search engines. By setting value parameters equal to AdWords, Bing users are now able to leverage imports from Google and maintain any preset adjustments. Bing’s features can be accessed via Mac and Windows. This can be done through Bing Ads Editor, through Bing’s API and globally through Bing Ads Web Interface — including Google Import.

The new move establishes Bing Ads as a clear alternative to Google AdWords offering more options for small business owners.

 

In China, universities teach how to go viral online

 

Jiang Mengna (2nd left) attending a dance class at the Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang Province. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Shanghai: A 21-year-old student walked around her campus in China using invaluable skills she learned in class: Holding a selfie stick aloft, she livestreamed her random thoughts and blew kisses at her phone.

Jiang Mengna is majoring in “modelling and etiquette” at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College near Shanghai, aspiring to join the growing ranks of young Chinese cashing in on Internet stardom.Jiang Mengna (2nd left) attending a dance class at the Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College in Yiwu, east China’s Zhejiang Province. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Hordes of Chinese millennials are speaking directly to the country’s 700 million smartphone users, streaming their lives to lucrative effect, fronting brands and launching businesses.

They are known as “wanghong”—literally hot on the web—and they now represent an industry worth billions and so big it even has its own university curriculum.

At Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College, the classrooms for Jiang and the other 33 mostly female students are typically dance studios, catwalks strafed by flashing lights, and bustling makeup rooms.

The skills taught include dressing fashionably, applying make-up, performing on camera, and knowing various luxury brands.“I like dressing myself up really pretty and take pictures. I feel like this major really suits me,” Jiang said.

She spent 30 minutes at lunch musing about her day to her internet audience.

She was rewarded with a quick 60 yuan in “virtual gifts”—emoticons with small digital values that comprise the main income for many aspiring wanghong, at least until they go viral.

Wang Houhou (left) taking pictures of a model for the website of her e-commerce startup “gogoand” in Shanghai. Photo: AFP Wang Houhou (left) taking pictures of a model for the website of her e-commerce startup “gogoand” in Shanghai. Photo: AFP

“The requests and demands for our major are rising because the e-commerce industry is developing rapidly,” said Hou Xiaonan, a dance teacher.

Wang Xin, 20, switched from accounting to a major in wanghong.“I have always had an idea, a dream to be on stage with the lights on me and the crowd watching me,” Wang said.

The students are trying to follow in the footsteps of people like Wang Houhou, a self-described shopaholic, and her friend Wang Ruhan.

When they began posting tips on China’s social media about good fashion and where to find it last year, the pair had no idea that their new hobby would make them money.

But soon enough, the Shanghai-based duo’s posts and videos won hundreds of thousands of viewers, and retailers followed, vying for their endorsements.

Like other wanghong, they are now leveraging their cyber-fame with an e-commerce fashion business which they launched earlier this month.

“I would just find a very interesting item that I would wear, and I would take weird photos of it and post it on the blog, and people really go and buy this stuff,” Wang Houhou said, almost in disbelief.

Internet consultancy Analysys International estimated China’s wanghong industry was worth 53 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) last year and would double by 2018.

“A nobody can suddenly become prominent and average people can become celebrities,” said Yuan Guobao, author of The Wanghong Economy.

The patron saint of wanghong is Shanghai’s Jiang Yilei, 30, a graduate of a top China drama academy whose low-budget comedic video rants on everything from urban life to relationships went viral last year.

“Papi Jiang”, as she is known, now has 23 million followers and product endorsements including New Balance footwear and luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Wanghong content is typically bland day-in-the-life livestreaming that earns small digital monetary gifts from fans.

But many wanghong are profoundly impacting China’s bustling e-commerce as retail “influencers”, said Zhang Yi, head of mobile-internet consultancy iiMedia Research Group.

The phenomenon provides businesses with a powerful new, highly visual, promotional alternative and is eating into the business of Chinese internet goliath Baidu, which dominates online advertising.

“Now someone will wear (the product), try it, use it, and persuade you to buy it,” said Zhang, who estimates wanghong now influence up to 20 percent of online purchases.

“It’s a booming business. Wanghong have their own followers who can easily be made consumers of the brands they recommend.”

New incubator companies, formed to find and groom wanghong, are cashing in, such as Ruhan Holdings, which last year drew 300 million yuan in investment from e-commerce leader Alibaba.

Wang Houhou returned from studying English literature at a US university last year to discover that attractive fashions she saw overseas were hard to find at home.

Young Chinese women lapped up her playful posts about navigating Taobao, China’s Amazon, and other e-commerce platforms, and clothing brands began paying her and Wang Ruhan to showcase their items.

“If we hadn’t started the blog, I would probably be in investment or finance,” said Wang Ruhan, 24, who never expected to be an entrepreneur so early in her life.“We have to do this without much experience and just figure out the right way to do it.”

She spoke as they prepared for the launch in Wang Ruhan’s Shanghai apartment, with Ruhan dressing amateur models in various outfits and Houhou snapping pictures as music played and mist from a clothes steamer filled the air.

 

4 Benefits of Predictive Maintenance

There are many different kinds of predictive maintenance available and they all have the same goal, to help companies avoid system failure when they aren’t expecting it. This can be done through simulations, vibrations tests, arc flash test, and a myriad of other services. It also increases the reliability of the staff working in a warehouse. This type of service is most commonly used in food processing, shipping and receiving, and power generation industries, although it is really used in any industry where large machinery is utilized.

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You have probably been considering predictive maintenance if you are a business owner. The most common form of this service is vibration analysis the equipment used in this process can tell the user a lot about the parameters of the machine being tested. This can let you know what problems a machine is having and, more importantly, what problems it may have in the near future. The benefits of vibration analysis are well-known to those that use it regularly.

 

The Benefits of Vibration Analysis

Costs – As you can probably guess, it is much cheaper to repair something than it is to completely replace it. This is one of the main purposes of vibration analysis. It ensures that will have repairs done on a piece of machinery before it completely stops working and needs to be replaced. This maintenance is similar to having an oil change done on your car.

Production – You can’t make a profit off of a machine that isn’t working. Predictive services ensure that each instrument at your place of business is working at all times, preventing any downtime that could cost you and your employees money. Regular maintenance reduces the number of repair visits you will need. The cost of these adds up as well.

Safety – A properly working system is much safer than one that is having problems. Ensure the safety of all employees through predictive maintenance services.

Customer Service – Never miss a shipment or production schedule with PdM. This ensures that your clients are happy and continue to use your services.

As you can see, the benefits associated with predictive maintenance are so good because they are all intertwined and work together. It is proven to help any company lower their bottom line and increase their profits. These are the only two ways to make more money. Most importantly, they make the workplace safer.

Combining the Latest Technology with Bookkeeping Practices

The tried and true old ways of doing bookkeeping continue to fall by the wayside in favor of the newest technology.  While in the past you may have written out your ledgers and figured out your computations by hand, you can now use computer programs that speed up the process and give you more accurate records.

If you worry that these programs are difficult to use or that the records you create will not be accessible to you whenever you need them, you may find their cloud storage capabilities to be a comfort.  You can begin to implement the newest technology into your record keeping by learning more about these integrative programs, cloud based financial reporting, and other virtual bookkeeping methods online.

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Integration with the Most Popular Computer Programs

Even if your record keeping has progressed beyond writing entries down by hand, you still may benefit by using this new technology.  It can combine itself with the most popular of computer programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access so that you feel comfortable using it and also so that you recognize its layout and use to a certain degree upon first implementing it in your business.

As it organizes and figures out your reports, it creates graphs, columns, charts, and other graphics by combining with these programs.  You get reports that you can easily read, print off, and use at your disposal to keep track of your cash flow, expenditures, profits, and other key operational details.

It also easily integrates the records that you may have already created on your computer.  For example, if you have most of your ledgers typed out in Word, the program can process and transfer those records into its own operations.  You do not have to create new ones with the program itself to get organized records.  This function saves you time and energy that you could otherwise devote to running your business.

 

Cloud Storage

You may have held off trying such programs because you feared not being able to access them when needed.  After all, some computer bookkeeping programs crash and wipe themselves out if your computer malfunctions.  When you turn the computer back on, all of your program’s records are erased.

This technology uses cloud storage so that you can access your company’s books whenever you like.  You do not need the program on your computer to get access to your records.  You can log in and get them from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

 

The newest technology makes bookkeeping even easier.  You can get accurate records and instant access to them through cloud storage.  The program is designed to be easy to use and affordable.

5G Wireless Technology Specifications Announced; 20Gbps Download Speeds, 1ms Latency

Earlier this month, it was confirmed the 5G will be the official successor to 4G wireless communications as the fifth generation mobile wireless communications technology. The name as well as the new official logo were announced by 3GPP cellular standards group. Apart from announcing that 5G will be IoT-focused, 3GPP did not go into the finer details. Now, some specifications have been provided by the International Telcommunication Union (ITU) that need to be met in order for networks to be deemed 5G-capable.

5G Wireless Technology Specifications Announced; 20Gbps Download Speeds, 1ms Latency

Downlink peak data rate is 20Gbps
Uplink peak data rate is 10Gbps
Downlink peak spectral efficiency is 30 bits per second per Hz
Uplink peak spectral efficiency is 15 bits per second per Hz
Downlink user experienced data rate is 100Mbps
Uplink user experienced data rate is 50Mbps
20Gbps download capacity is pretty significant when compared to current 4G LTE Cat. 16 modems that are around 1Gbps. Furthermore, ITU’s report states that IMT-2020, or 5G, must support at least 1 million connected devices per square kilometre, which points mainly to IoT. 5G will require carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, and up to 1GHz where available. The 5G specs also require base stations that can support access from 0kmph up to 500kmph vehicular speed.

5G networks are expected to offer users a maximum latency of just 4ms. Current gen 4G LTE networks give around 20ms latency. 5G also calls for a latency of just 1ms for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC).

ITU’s report is still in its initial stage and will need to be finalised (likely in November) before work on bulding 5G tech begins. Some companies like Verizon, AT&T, Intel, and Qualcomm have already begun testing 5G technology. The next-gen wireless network will also be in focus during the upcoming MWC 2017.

Google tweaks Clock app design in new 5.0 update

Even if you shirk Google’s messaging, maps, and email apps on your phone, there’s one stock Android app that we almost all use on a regular basis: Clock. And with a new update to version 5.0 rolling out, Google has made a few interface tweaks that will make it even easier to use when your eyes are tired at the end of a long day.clock world

First spotted by Android Police, the new update only brings incremental changes, despite being a whole-number release. Aside from a bolder font and deeper purple background, the most obvious difference is that the four top-row menu items for Alarm, Clock, Timer, and Stopwatch now have text labels below their icons (seen in the image above). Most new users likely could figure out what they meant (or quickly learned after an initial mis-tap), but labeling them doesn’t distract from the minimal interface and takes all of the guesswork out of the navigation. Additionally, there are new labels for the buttons that appear alongside a paused timer and stopwatch, indicating that you can delete the existing one or add another, or reset and share, respectively.

clock stopwatch
Your stopwatch will be a little easier to use thanks to new text buttons in Clock 5.0.

Speaking of labels, you’ll also see a plain text explainer of how many hours ahead or behind a specific time zone is when adding world clocks. Additionally, when you put the app in screen saver mode—which displays a dimmed clock against a completely black screen—the navigation buttons will disappear until you fully wake your phone.

The Clock update is rolling out in the Play Store, but you don’t have the time to wait you can side load the Google-signed APK from APK Mirror.

While there’s nothing in the Clock update that will be all that noticeable to anyone but the most meticulous of users, the improvements here are a promising move away from the ultra-minimal style that some apps have adopted. A clean, sparse interface is nice, but not if it comes at the expense of usability. Sure, most users could figure out the difference between the stopwatch and alarm icons, but the simple change of adding text below them makes Clock that much easier to navigate, and the small change is sure to be appreciated by most users.

This story, “Google tweaks Clock app design in new 5.0 update” was originally published by Greenbot.

Google Cloud Division Announced; Google Apps for Work Rebranded to G Suite

Google Cloud Division Announced; Google Apps for Work Rebranded to G SuiteGoogle repackaged its cloud services and corporate software and hardware offerings into a new unit called Google Cloud on Thursday, the Internet search provider’s latest attempt to catch leaders in the sector Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

The new group, run by Google executive Diane Greene, includes web-based work software such as Docs and Sheets, machine-learning and digital-mapping tools that other companies can rent over the Internet, and Android phones, tablets and Chromebook laptops designed for office users, Google said in a statement.

“It’s uniquely Google – a broad set of technologies and products from all parts of the cloud,” Greene said at a company event in San Francisco.

Google’s work software, renamed G Suite, has been around for years and is popular with individuals, startups and other smaller companies. While these programs have always been offered over the web, they weren’t delivered as part of a broader cloud computing service. Greene is combining them to offer a fuller range of services to companies looking to move applications and other work functions to cheaper, more flexible rented data centers.

Google also said Thursday its cloud service now has more than one billion end-users, through the products and services that other companies run on its servers. And Urs Holzle, Google’s longtime infrastructure boss, said Google had invested $11.2 billion (roughly Rs. 74,669 crores) on its cloud division over the past twelve months. He didn’t share revenue numbers.

Greene’s new division has considerable ground to make up. Amazon’s cloud business generated close to $8 billion (roughly Rs. 53,340 crores) in sales in 2015 and posted a 58 percent revenue increase in the most-recent quarter. Microsoft’s Azure cloud revenue doubled in the second quarter. Google is fourth in cloud services behind Amazon, Microsoft and International Business Machines Corp., according to Synergy Research Group. Microsoft also leads in work software still, and it’s Office 365 web-based software suite is popular.

On Thursday, Google unveiled new locations for its rentable servers in Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Northern Virginia, Sao Paulo, London, Finland and Frankfurt. More regions will be announced next year, it said.
Google also said it had picked up two new cloud customers, retailer The Home Depot Inc. and Pokemon Go, the viral mobile game. Over the last year, Google has pushed aggressively to woo larger cloud clients, which have in the past mostly gone to Amazon, Microsoft or used their own computer servers and data centers.

Google also introduced a new customer support unit within its cloud division, called Customer Reliability Engineering. Google engineers will work closely with other companies’ operations teams to make sure important cloud applications run reliably, Google said. It’s a necessary upgrade. Despite its technical prowess, Google has faced criticism for not managing customer relations as carefully as competitors like Amazon.

Greene, a Silicon Valley veteran and Google board member, joined the search provider full time in November to revamp its cloud and corporate software efforts. Since then, she has hired more sales and marketing staff and presided over several acquisitions, including the recent $625 million purchase of software developer Apigee.

Greene’s early work has started to show up in Google’s bottom line. Parent company Alphabet Inc. reported in July that “Other” revenue rose 33 percent to a record $2.17 billion in the second quarter, driven by cloud and corporate software businesses.