Here’s a list of some of the coverage of Friday’s event… I’ll keep it updated with everything I come across:
Despite all the slickness and the fabulous hospitality, the day was kind of a near miss. Google knows there’s money in the public sector (maybe less than there has been, but still a lot), they know we’d make good customers, they know they have products that we can use to achieve what we need to, but they didn’t quite know how to make the sale.
I have no doubt that the migration to the cloud won’t be driven so much by business strategy so much as by social needs and expectations. As time goes by our experiences of computing in our personal lives will be drastically mis-matched with our computing experiences at work.
We asked for Google to keep speaking to us and get to know the specific issues and challenges we’re facing in local gov and for a space where we can store the developments we’re working on. It was suggested that the /localgov website was expanded to include this sand box and perhaps forums too where we can pitch questions and ideas and Google can get a feel for us.
The local gov day at Google’s London HQ this week (#googlelocalgov) definitely gave me some food for thought. No, they didn’t have all the answers, but as a group we do tend to have a LOT of questions.
Overall, I was a little disappointed that the day wasn’t more of a constructive, two-way session, but nonetheless it was a useful overview of their products. The key is in what happens next. I love Google, and I’m sure there’s potential for them to help us achieve our aims of communicating better with residents while bringing down costs. But this was only a first date; we’ve got a lot of flirting to go before local government will even consider going to bed with Google. Local Government just isn’t that kind of girl, you see.
So that’s what happened. We came. We listened to a (slightly off-topic) sales pitch. We went home.
But it’s a start as I say. Google got plenty of feedback from the day and hopefully there are a few things people can take away and build into what they’re doing.
It was a pretty intense day of presentations by various Googlers about their products, much of which was interesting and applicable to local government, though there wasn’t much talk about local government until the end of the session.
As the day progressed it was very clear that they were new to this local government lark (they only opened shop in January). Given that the sponsors and the people they have been talking to thus far are Whitehall ones, and local government’s needs and issues are very different, it’s hardly surprising that many of the pitches needed refining.