Los Angeles votes for Google email in cloud computing milestone

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt Google's (GOOG) email system. This is a major victory for the advertising giant's model of "cloud computing," in which data is stored on remote servers and accessed via the Web. After a year-long process, L.A. becomes the largest municipality to sign on to Google's burgeoning enterprise business.

Both L.A. and Google beat back intense lobbying efforts by Microsoft (MSFT) to prevent the city from switching its email system, used by over 30,000 workers. If the experiment works well, other major cities may follow L.A.'s lead. Alternatively, if there is a major breakdown or security breach, as cloud computing critics have warned, the experiment could end quickly.