Google Inc. announced plans to sell special email, word-processing and other services to government agencies, keeping data generated by those applications in a system in the U.S. that is segregated from customers outside the government. The move won’t necessarily make the data more secure than it is for other users, Google executives said, but it accommodates the preferences of some federal agencies that are migrating to so-called “cloud computing” offerings and away from applications run on government servers. The Obama administration is pushing the shift to cut some of the federal government’s USD 76bn annual computing and software budget. Google is marketing its suite of Google Apps for Government as a way for the public sector to save money by not paying upfront licensing fees or operational maintenance expenses, since Google can make fixes to the software anytime. The announcement came shortly after Google received certification that its online services met certain security requirements for use by the federal government, as generally required by a federal law. Microsoft, whose software dominates the government information-technology market, says it is close to receiving the same certification for online software that is based on its popular Microsoft Exchange email system.