IBM has been trying to bring nice features from the consumer Internet to the Intranets as is evident from its announcements regarding tools for Social Networking and a free search engine along with Yahoo. Recently, it announced Google Gadgets will available as part of WebSphere Portal Server 6.0. This brings thousands of Internet applications to users inside the firewalls.
I think the two worlds are converging and this is a move in that direction. Infact, many of our clients have at least started thinking of Blogs and Wikis which became popular primarily because of the open nature of public Internet.
However, as I have written before, what works in public domain need not necessarily work behind the firewall. Apart from the fact that the two worlds are quite different, isn’t it is too much work for people managing the Intranet if they were to take advantage of Google Gadgets? One needs to go through thousands of applications on a regular basis and identify which ones go in the Intranet. I know there are quite a few good applications – for example, it would be a good idea to show Google maps gadget along with employee information within the portal but I don’t think there are too many applications “yet” that are useful within an Employee Portal. An Intranet is a business application. If you are an Investment Bank, would you want your bankers to be reading the “daily horoscope” or playing “PaCMan”? Okay its an extreme example but the point is that an Intranet should have what business needs and not necessarily what is available out there. One will also need to make sure the quality, usability, navigation and functionality etc of these external gadgets is acceptable before deciding on letting it be a part of the portal.
Also, if people can access a gadget thru the Intranet, won’t they be able to access it directly? If yes, I think people would not like to go thru their Intranet and let their employers know what they are up to.