Last week the city of Boston started migrating 76,000 employees over to Google Apps. From teachers (and their students) to police offers, all municipal workers will now have a Google Apps account. 

Boston will join other cities such as Orlando and Des Moines in making the switch to Google. Orlando, which made the switch to Google in 2010, realized 60% savings as a result of using Google Apps. The switch seemed to come at a crucial time as the city had just made reductions to its IT department.

Government may be another key industry where we watch Google and Microsoft duke it out this year. Let’s remember, Microsoft Office 365 has had some big government wins. Earlier in 2013, it was announced that the state of Texas with 100,000 seats would be moving to Office 365. While the government sector has been slower to adopt SaaS technologies, could this be the year that we see Google Apps and Office 365 make some serious traction?

Unlike the education market, there doesn’t appear to be a clear winner between the two at the moment. And education will once again be interesting to watch this year. We know Google has been extremely successful at capturing this market - after all entire countries such as Malaysia have standardized on Google. To fight back on Google’s momentum, Microsoft announced a deal with free Office 365 for students. But you have to wonder if it’s too late.

In a blog post for Google, Boston’s CIO Bill Oates discussed a rigorous RFP that the city put forward in searching for the right technology. The city attracted an array of bids that included multiple cloud offerings. In the end, Boston felt that Google Apps could meet the needs of the city and offer a secure cloud environment. (Agree, but protecting against user error and malicious deletions should also be a priority….hint, Backupify).

In the end it’s exciting to see government embracing the cloud and we hope to see it continue into 2014. What city will be next?