Google will soon be turning off its popular spam filtering and e-mail archiving product, Postini. It will shift Postini users to Google Apps, which also includes Postini’s features.At last count, Google had over 26 million Postini users, many of them at enterprises. They use this cloud service to filter e-mail for viruses and spam. Postini currently works with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes, so Gmail isn’t required.
Starting this fall, Google will be telling customers that they have to switch.
Apps is Google’s cloud office suite that includes email, calendars and documents. Google has integrated Postini’s security features into Apps. Google promises that Postini customers who sign on for Apps will still be able to use it with Exchange and Lotus Notes. Naturally, they’ll also get Gmail thrown into the mix.
If customers don’t want to switch to Apps, “your Postini service will terminate at your contract end date,” Google says.
UPDATED: We heard from Google PR who told us, “We aren’t requiring anyone to use Apps or Gmail. So even after the transition, customers are welcome to continue using the email security features (for the same price) with their on-premise email systems such as Exchange or Lotus Notes. We’re helping customers make a successful transition first, and then we’re dealing with winding down support for Postini as a standalone product.”
The first set of customers that will be asked to switch are those renewal dates of November 1, 2012. Customers with renewal dates between mid-August and October 31, 2012 will get a chance to keep the service a little while longer, until Google makes the full transition sometime in 2013.
Google hasn’t announced exactly when that will happen but did clarify that it will be over the course of the next year and a half.
UPDATED: Google PR also told us that it doesn’t consider this transistion to be the same as killing the service. “Now that there is essentially feature parity, we will be transitioning existing Postini customers over to the Apps infrastructure over the course of the next year and a half or so. Our goal is to make sure each customer makes a smooth transition from Postini to the Apps infrastructure, which offers similar functionality on a more scalable, reliable, and user-friendly platform. So, saying we’re killing a service isn’t quite accurate. It’s more that we are consolidating the service onto the Apps infrastructure, where we’ll continue offering similar features for the same price.”
Even so, this is a pretty good way to grab enterprise customers for Google Apps, instead of letting them move to Microsoft’s competing Office 365. While companies don’t have to use Apps — they can just use the e-mail filtering part and ignore Apps — they’ll essentially have them to use if they want. Microsoft has vowed to really push Office 365 in the coming months to compete with Google Apps.