This week we saw a lot of big names venture into new territories. Google went Government with a new version of Apps, and Facebook took a turn toward better customer satisfaction (after being labeled worse than airline services)  with Salesforce.com. Meanwhile, everyone's mad at Apple, but the iPhone4 is sold out anyway. 

Google Releases Google Apps for Government

Google Apps for Government is exactly what is sounds like: a version of Google Apps tailored to the needs of local, state and federal agencies. The highlight of the release is the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, and support for government-mandated policy and security measures .Google claims that this release is the first cloud computing app suite to receive the certification.

Also, it's cheap. As in, US $50 per year. So far, the list of users includes the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, an organization that is thrilled with the switch. Berkeley Lab CIO Rosio Alvarez says they expect to save anywhere between US$ 1.5 million to US$ 2 million dollars in software, hardware, and labor costs over the next five years, thanks to Google Apps for Government.

She also commented on the importance of sharing: "Smaller research projects with a few dozen collaborators often struggle with building the infrastructure to effectively share information," she said. "Google Apps makes it easy for them to deploy the services they need with no help from IT folks."

Facebook Puts Trust in Salesforce.com

Does a large audience really matter if the majority of it is unhappy with your product? Ask Facebook. It turns out the platform, which recently hit 500 million users, ranked lower in customer satisfaction than both the airline industry and the cable television business. 

Further, survey results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which asked people what they liked and didn't like about over 200 companies from across a range of industries, revealed that Facebook came in second to last. MySpace was the only company to rank lower. 

Good thing Facebook is hooking up with Salesforce.com, then. The social network became a customer of Marc Benioff's late last week, giving them access to Sales Cloud 2 and Chatter. This is more than a perfect fit, considering the fact that Benioff modeled his solutions after Facebook: 

chatter_profile.jpg

Chatter Profile

Though Salesforce.com isn't designed to improve customer satisfaction across the board, Facebook could use whatever they can get at this point. 

Our Love/Hate Relationship with Apple

So, you've probably heard about the iPhone 4 antenna issues. You hold the phone a certain way and AT&T stops raising the bar-- or something like that. Signal failure is a pretty big deal, but the iPhone4 is selling like hot cakes anyway. Jason Munson of Siteworx Inc. says this is because of our emotional connection to the brand. 

"...so far Apple has sold more than 3 million iPhone4 units and has only seen a 1.7% return rate," he wrote. "These numbers show strength and solid product sales trajectories — but why? It doesn’t make sense. If these 3 million consumers thought about it from a logical point of view, they would not have made the purchase. I mean, reception is probably the single most important feature for a mobile phone? Right?"

Wrong. At least, kinda wrong. Brand loyalty is arguably Apple's strongest selling point, and, if not for usability, brand loyalty is born from an emotional connection to a product. 

"These are clearly emotion driven purchases, not logic driven purchases," continued Munson. "The iPhone4 is a status symbol of sorts. You might not be able to afford the Porsche — but no one knows what you drive while you’re in a meeting or at the restaurant or sitting and having coffee at your high-end coffee shop. The mobile phone is the most personal piece of technology you own and we all want to feel good about ourselves." 

If you didn't catch this video from tinywatchproductions when the iPhon 4 was initially released, please have a look. On top of being hilarious, it supports Munson's point quite well: 

 

 

Meanwhile, the Android  phones are seeing an increase in sales. Apple's not normally one to take noticeable hits, but it will be interesting to see what happens now that Google is stepping up the competition. 

Other Bits and Pieces

In other news, Google made life a little easier for developers by releasing Google Font Previewer, which enables users to see a visual of a typeface as they tinker with it. A block of code for copying and pasting into CSS is then provided. 

MindTouch wants you to know who's who in the blogosphere. The company kicked out a list of the most influential bloggers in technical communications.

Want to know what's so important about the Open Cloud? Microsoft gave their two cents at O'Reilly's OSCON last week. 

Open Text rolled out Web Site Management 10.1, the platform formerly known as Open Text Web Solutions and Red Dot.