Online workspace from Symantec in the pipeline

At Symantec’s ManageFusion event in Las Vegas, the company showcased some innovative technologies in the pipeline that, while very much at the research mode, appear quite interesting. (Symantec uses the word “innovative” to describe not just the product features, but the manner in which the products themselves are built.)

One of them, called GoEverywhere, was borne out of Symantec’s Business Incubator program that encourages employees to pitch new ideas to leadership, and if successful, get funding to develop it. Basically, it’s an online desktop hosted in the cloud “to make any PC your PC” (I don’t think that’s an official catch phrase, but it sure is catchy) so that a user can access their data and any Web application from any machine connected to the Web and feel like it is their very own machine.

GoEverywhere has a single sign on login, SSL encryption, doesn’t leave a footprint on the machine being used, and can associate credentials with Web sites the user frequently visits.

There is no code to install to use the service. It is currently in beta and free for whoever wants to try it, the goal being to keep improving the service so users get more comfortable working in the cloud.

GoEverywhere capitalizes on the hot Web 2.0 trend that sees users working remotely and accessing data in a seamless and agile manner, and joins the likes of Microsoft Office Live and Google Docs. While the idea of decoupling information from the underlying hardware is certainly where things are headed, Symantec is right to keep wanting to improve the service to make working in the cloud more palatable. Having your applications and data accessible from any random non-personal hardware can be a little discomfiting. Before mass adoption can be counted on, there is no doubt a cultural shift required to get users to really trust the cloud.

But once Symantec does deem the service ready, there will be a yet-to-be-decided business model attached. It won’t be free and likely will be by subscription based on storage capacity.

Read coverage of ManageFusion 2009:
Symantec adds intelligent software management to Altiris
Next Symantec CEO to focus on security
Process automation, endpoint virtualization reap fast ROI

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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