Google Launches Apps Marketplace
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Recent bad weather moved Google's "Campfire One" developer event indoors, but it was still quite a coming out party here at the Googleplex Tuesday night. The search giant unveiled Google Apps Marketplace, an online store for acquiring applications designed to work with Google's core Apps suite.
Fifty developers, including Google Apps competitors, have already signed on and are live on the Apps Marketplace including Intuit (Online Payroll for Google Apps), Zoho, which is known for online collaboration apps (Projects, Meeting and CRM) and SlideRocket (an advanced presentations program) all integrated with Google's own Apps suite.
In several demos, third-party developers showed how their applications integrate with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) software so, for example, you can access sales data and analytics from within Gmail when responding to an e-mail from a customer.
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The integration with Google Apps also means that users can access the various programs through a single sign-on (SSO) using a single password enabled by OpenID. "We're delighted if an application is developed using Google App Engine, but it's now easy to integrate existing applications to Google Apps, however they were created, and take advantage of the single sign-on, share data and sell in the marketplace," said Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google.
Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho, whose Zoho Suite competes with Google Apps, agreed. "What Google is doing is really showing the power of what you can do with the cloud," Vembu told InternetNews.com. "It doesn't matter if you develop in PHP, Java or C++, you can still play."
For developers, Google is borrowing a page from Apple's iPhone App store, charging a one-time registration fee and taking a cut of revenue. For a $100 listing fee, developers can register an unlimited number of applications on the Apps Marketplace, and Google receives a 20 percent cut of the revenue for featuring the app in the store and handling the sales transaction. The developer keeps the remaining 80 percent. Google said that more than 2 million businesses and 25 million individuals use Google Apps.
"I think this is going to be very different than the iPhone App Store with all the 99 cent apps. We're talking about real business applications," Gundotra told InternetNews.com.
But he did concede there will likely be plenty of free and hybrid "freemium" apps, just as the iPhone App Store has. In the freemium business model, a basic app is sold for free, but the developer charges for additional features and functionality.
Google provides the code needed to integrate applications with Google Apps, and will review all the applications submitted, Gundotra explained. He said it's impossible to say how long the process will take as it will vary depending on the number of apps submitted, but he said the aim was to make it a quick turnaround, typically a few days.
Gundotra noted that the integration with Gmail is "a big deal" because that's where many information workers start their day and they can now more easily pull in what they need from other programs in the Apps Marketplace.
Jen Grant, vice president of marketing at Box.net, agreed.
"The integration with Box.net really makes Google Apps more viable in the enterprise because they didn't have a content management solution and you'd have to go to Box.net as a separate application," Grant told InternetNews.com. "Just as Google is going after Exchange with Google Apps, Box.net is a great replacement to Microsoft SharePoint."