On Tuesday night, Google took the wraps off the Google Apps Marketplace, a platform the tech giant says will make it easier for businesses to buy and manage online applications. Google Apps, which went public in 2007, is essentially a professional office software suite: services such as Gmail, Calendar, and Google Docs are synced company wide, usually under a custom domain name. (This app store is not the same as the Android Marketplace for cellphones.)
The city of Los Angeles, for instance, moved 30,000 employees onto Google Apps late last year, in an effort to increase storage and collaboration. The Google Apps Marketplace takes the service one step further: Now businesses that subscribe to Google Apps can choose from a range of 50 applications, including Intuit Online Payroll and TripIt, an organizational tool for business travel.
"We've found that when businesses begin to experience the benefits of cloud computing, they want more," Google Product Manager Chris Vander Mey explained on the company blog. "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."
The applications are managed on the Google Apps control panel, just like a "native" Google app, Vander Mey writes. Prices vary. Some applications are free. Others go for 30 bucks a month. And expect the number of Google apps to increase: Yesterday, Google put out a call on its Code Blog, asking developers to "integrate, publish, and sell" on the Google Apps Marketplace.