Google has officially announced Google Apps Marketplace – hoping to build an ecosystem that allows businesses that use its paid-for Google Apps services to find and purchase a wide range of cloud software tools developed by specialists.
One of the key reasons behind Microsoft's success over the years has been its flourishing ecosystem, and with Apple's App Store revolutionising both the mobile phone market third-party software market places, it makes sense for Google to attempt to bring the two concepts closer.
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"We've found that when businesses begin to experience the benefits of cloud computing, they want more," explains Google.
"We're often asked when we'll offer a wider variety of business applications — from accounting and project management to travel planning and human resources management. But we certainly can't and won't do it all, and there are hundreds of business applications for which we have no particular expertise.
"In recent years, many talented software providers have embraced the cloud and delivered a diverse set of features capable of powering almost any business.
"But too often, customers who adopt applications from multiple vendors end up with a fractured experience, where each particular application exists in its own silo. Users are often forced to create and remember multiple passwords, cut and paste data between applications, and jump between multiple interfaces just to complete a simple task.
"Today, we're making it easier for these users and software providers to do business in the cloud with a new online store for integrated business applications.
50 for starters
The marketplace has launched with 50 companies' wares, ranging from Intuit Online Payroll to project management software JIRA Studio.
"Once installed to a company's domain, these third-party applications work like native Google applications," adds Google.
"The Google Apps Marketplace eliminates the worry about software updates, keeping track of different passwords and manual syncing and sharing of data, thereby increasing business productivity and lessening frustrations for users and IT administrators alike. That's the power of the cloud."