Blogger: Larry Cannell
Last night Google announced the launch of their marketplace for Google Apps. Actually, this should probably be considered a re-launch. Google has long featured partners building on their enterprise products (Google Apps and the Google Search Appliance) and as recently as 2008 launched a “Solutions Marketplace” site (checkout this page from the Wayback Machine). However, this re-launch seems to be a more concerted effort aiming to make it easier to find partners and providing new capabilities for integrating these products within the Google Apps environment (for example, using OpenID to provide cross-app single sign-on).
From a collaboration and content management perspective a renewed marketplace effort which brings in new partners could bear some fruit and be an interesting development to watch. For example, by partnering with companies like Box.net, which announced a number of integrations with Google Apps, Google is able to connect users with companies that have experience supporting the diverse needs of team (or activity-based) collaboration that go beyond document sharing.
Box’s ability to create, edit, and view Google documents and spreadsheets facilitates an interesting layered approach to processes involving different levels of worker engagement. A lightweight layer where someone can simply edit a Google document or spreadsheet (which could be used to submit information) and a slightly beefier layer that enables more comprehensive collaboration (which could be used by a team that needs to make decisions or execute processes based on this input). Similar approaches have been taken in the past to enable lightweight process participation, but it is refreshing to see it emerge within a cloud-based environment as recognizable as Google Apps.