Google Apps integration boost spells trouble for software vendors

Google integrates dozens of additional services with Apps for free, increasing its utility to users and threat level to competitors

Google announced today that it has made Google Apps far more enticing to organizations by integrating dozens of existing apps, including 60 "productivity-boosting" offerings, with the service.

The newly announced integration, which includes such services as Google Voice, Reader, and AdWords, not only unlocks a whole new level of powerful potential for Google Apps subscribers, it increases the threat Google poses to desktop software and platform vendors as the company nudges users away from desktop-bound world of computing and toward the browser.

Google App subscribers have always been able to freely access these services, but they tended to exist in stand-alone silos. That meant valuable data residing in one application wasn't easily transferable to another. Google Apps' admin features, which include policy management features, also extend to the newly folded-in services.

As an example of what's possible with the integration, Google offers this scenario: "You could equip your marketing team with Picasa Web Albums so they can collect and share photos from customer appreciation events and let that team publish your company's blog with Blogger."

OK, so that might not be an overly dazzling scenario for a midsize or enterprise-type organization, but the list of newly integrated services offers plenty more potential. For example, there's ad-management services from the DART portfolio; tools for developing targeted, rich-media Web ads via DoubleClick; Analytics for monitoring Web traffic; and more.

Notably, Google has also been integrating third-party offerings from the Google Apps Marketplace with Google Apps, geared toward an array of business functions, including CRM, project management, finance, time tracking, and more. Add those to the integrated mix, and Google App's stock rises even more.

Google also announced that it has simplified the names of its various Google Apps packages. They are now Google Apps, the free service for groups of up to 50 users; Google Apps for Business; Google Apps for Government; and Google Apps for Education. The latter are all $50 per user per year.

This article, "Google Apps integration boost spells trouble for software vendors," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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