That said, it's clear that Google is a significant UC player, whether the definition is broad and generic or the narrow one used by the folks in the business
Investopedia and No Jitter offer, between them, three articles that together form a good backgrounder that provides context for Google and its UC initiatives. Investopedia's James Brumley starts with a nice summation of some of the relevant moves made by the firm during the past couple of years. These include pushing the development and use of the Android open source mobile operating system, the launch of Google Voice, and the acquisition of Gizmo5.
Brumley concludes that Google's goal is to give away telecommunications services in order to sell advertising. However, a lot of the steps taken to do this also put in place the infrastructure for an expansive UC offering. Dave Michels focuses specifically on UC in a two-part series at No Jitter. Part one is here and part two is here.
Michels profiles myriad Google services, including Docs, Wave, Talk, Blogger, Picasa, Gmail, Gears, HTML5, Latitude, Maps, App Engine, GO and Chrome. He says the company's search capabilities are the glue. The list is not exhaustive and doesn't mention the Nexus One, the phone that HTC is creating for Google. Michels then offers an important critique:
Google is in the UC business today, though because of service gaps, integration holes, and a limited channel, [its] solutions are not comprehensive for business. But the technology is there and getting better.
Google, the most powerful force in contemporary communications, is a player in unified communications – using either a broad or narrow definition. It is difficult to understand how everything links together, however. Indeed, it is easy to get the idea that Google doesn't quite get it either. To begin making a name as a player in the UC business, Google has to do a better job of explaining itself.