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Google Aims at Small Business Software Market, With Cloud-Connected Apps Store

google apps

Google's up to its old tricks again, extending software tentacles in new directions to capture or subvert entire markets: This time it's aiming at business software by launching Google Apps Marketplace, which does clever cloud-connecting stuff.

Digging through Google's slightly obfuscating explanation in its blog post on the news, it seems that the App Marketplace has been conceived to make it super-easy for "Google Apps administrators" to find, enable, and distribute to their users all of the apps sitting in Google's cloud storefront. The word "efficiency" is used in there too, since Google's trying to point out that by having all of this stuff in one place, user's "daily workflows" in Gmail, Calendar, Contacts are streamlined, and the system lets everybody share data between the apps and each other for collaborative working.

There's the usual Google emphasis on open standards, meaning it's easy for app developers to quickly build hooks for your data into and out of other apps. And there's mention of the Google Apps userbase of some 25 million people, to tantalize and tempt developers to write more apps.

But what, when you get right down to it, is this all really about? It's actually quite subtle: Google's positioning itself as the conduit between Apps and small businesses, as well as being a workflow facilitator. In other words, a business may conduct its calendar planning or document creation using Google's standard tools—and if the business then needs a project management tool, it can access one via Google's market place and then hook it up to Google's core productivity software offerings, in one neat integrated swoop.

By doing this Google makes itself invaluable to a business, since it can basically offer almost any business management/creation tool that a company may need (assuming developers write an app for the task,) as well as placing it in the cloud for easy back-up and go-anywhere access. And we know that that's where Google likes to be—nestling right at the core of an operation, monitoring all the to-ings and fro-ings its users get up to, so it can then sell them highly targeted ads or new services.

[Via Googleblog]

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  • Chris Reich

    But with my data in my possession, I can at least continue to work. With my plans, quotes, etc all on a server "on a cloud", what can I do if the system fails? I suppose we can back up everything locally, right?

    Chris Reich

  • Kit Eaton

    @Dennis. I, for one, welcome our Robot overlords before Google's ones. ;)
    @Chris. Yes, it does. But nearly all our systems are digital nowadays, and there's no going back.
    @Nate. Indeed.

  • Nate Mueller

    My view to Chris's issue with security is with the amount of things we already to online its always going to be a threat. Unless you do all your work on paper and then hide it in a giant safe under a mountain at night you are at risk.
    I dont think google is putting you more at risk though. All they are doing is taking apps that already exist and tying them into your google account. They are really just saying, now you are one step closer to some app than you were without us. If you are concerned with the internet "going down" I think the world would have more problems than your google apps. the more likely scenario would be that a server would go down that houses your information. Do to the fact that it uses cloud storage though your info lives on a bunch of different servers and one server outage wouldn't really effect anything.

  • Chris Reich

    What about security? Wouldn't putting all your data online present a security issue? And if the internet goes down? Then you not only can't get your data, but you can't work on your apps because they're up in the clouds...

    In a perfect world, this would be wonderful. But in an age of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism, I question the wisdom of becoming too dependent on cloud computing.

    There can't ever be enough security because there will always be people inside the server companies with access to your data who you do not know.

    Yes, things are moving in this direction. Yes, it would be great to reduce the necessary computing power I need because everything is served to me on demand. Still, the security aspect concerns me.

    Does it you?

    Chris Reich