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January 15, 2009

Symantec to launch Google apps rival?

GoEverywhere is likely to offer free instant messaging, word processing and spreadsheets

By Jason Stamper

Symantec is about to come out of stealth mode with what it no doubt hopes will be a Google Docs killer, in the shape of an online workspace service called goEverywhere.

The service centres on a goEverywhere desktop, similar in function to a Windows desktop but hosted via the internet in the goEverywhere data centre, rather than locally on a PC. Symantec refers to it as a “webtop”.

The product has come out of the startup-style Incubator division Symantec opened last year and championed by CTO Mark Bregman. Seemingly any employee can hook onto the company’s intranet and submit a business plan, much as they would to a venture capital firm.

The goEverywhere service keeps a copy of each hosted desktop in a central location Symantec calls the “backend”.

After a user logs in goEverywhere runs his desktop in a browser rather than on a local computer. Therefore they only need a running browser to use their desktop from any type of computer from anywhere.

They will also have access to lots of free applications and services on the internet that can be configured into OpenPlace or SafePlace workspaces. The service reportedly is being underpinned by more than 100 popular web-based email applications and will offer free instant messaging, word processing and spreadsheets.

As with other managed services, there will be no need for administrators to backup, install, update or reboot machines, or install and update software applications and operating systems. Use of secure single sign-on password controls access to each user’s online workspace, applications and storage.

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GoEverywhere, which no doubt is being designed with the potential of a commercial subscription-based hosted service in mind, will be launched into beta in the next few weeks, Symantec has confirmed.

Don Kleinschnitz, Symantec general manager and vice president of GoEverywere is quoted as saying that the product essentially marries Web 2.0 concepts to cloud computing services, secured using existing identity management and anti-phishing technologies.

GoEverywhere will work on any computer that can run IE6,7 or Firefox 2-3.  Still under development, the company has not yet addressed how to address the issue of GoEverywere users wanting to work off-line.

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