Google is trying to make it easier for Apps customers to find and deploy third-party applications from the Marketplace store it launched a few years ago.
The company has started to surface some of those third-party applications on the Google Apps administration console, from where customers can, for the first time, browse the catalog, and install the products.
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"These applications all offer the latest OAuth 2.0 security, single sign-on (SSO) and integration with Google services. Admins can now see reviews from verified users of the applications to help select the best app to meet their needs," wrote Apoorv Saxena, product manager, Google Apps for Business, in a blog post.
Until now, suite customers have had to go to the separate Google Apps Marketplace site to sift through the store's inventory of third-party apps.
Currently, about 20 out of the thousands of applications in the Marketplace can be accessed via the Apps admin console, but the goal is to increase that number.
"We will be adding more third-party apps from the Apps Marketplace to the admin console over time," a Google spokesman said via email.
Support for Oauth 2.0, which is a requirement for Marketplace apps to be surfaced on the console, will give Apps administrators more granular control over how they deploy and manage these apps, according to the spokesman. For example, they will be able to make apps available only to certain users or units within their company, instead of to everybody.
The more control Google can give customers over their Apps deployments, the more appealing the suite becomes to enterprise IT leaders, said TJ Keitt, a Forrester Research analyst.
"Will this particular update in controls move the needle for a security-minded, cloud-weary IT leader? Probably not," Keitt said. But it will make them feel more comfortable with the idea of giving their users access to third party apps for the suite, he added.
Google launched the Apps Marketplace for the suite in March 2010 and from the start it was meant to be more than an e-commerce storefront. The Apps Marketplace has a set of APIs for third-party developers to integrate their cloud applications with Google Apps in a variety of ways, including single sign-on and fused user interface navigation.
Via the Marketplace, Google intends to foster and provide an ecosystem of complementary third-party applications for Apps, a cloud suite for companies of all sizes that offers email, calendaring, productivity software, storage and other capabilities.
Google this week also announced that Apps users who use their Google+ identities on YouTube can now limit access to videos they upload to people on their Apps domain.
That means a company could create a YouTube channel for work-related videos that should be visible only to employees who use the company's Apps account.
These "domain-restricted" videos can only be viewed through the Web interface for now. Users will find a field under 'Privacy Settings' where they'll be able to add their Apps domain to the list of people who can watch the clip.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.