Google launched on Tuesday evening Google Apps Marketplace, providing a venue for third-party, cloud-based applications to supplement Google's own online applications.
The program enables integrations with such applications as Google Gmail, Documents, Sites and Calendar. All told, the effort begins with 50 vendors participating, including Atlassian, NetSuite, Skytap and Zoho.
[ InfoWorld's Paul Krill reported earlier today that developers received a boost in native development capabilities for the Google-backed Android mobile phone platform. ]
"Tonight, what we're doing is we're announcing a business-to-business marketplace for Google Apps users, where the idea is that we want to help users get more applications for Google Apps from third-party developers," said Chris Vander Mey, Google senior product manager, in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. Among the applications is a small business payroll system from Intuit, called Intuit Online Payroll, and Box.net's self-named content management system.
Users can link to an application via the UI in Google applications, offering benefits like single sign-on and sharing of data between Google Apps and third-party applications. Centralized administration also is featured.
"As you purchase applications, they're automatically integrated into your domain," Vander Mey said. Applications can be installed within a domain via a four-click process. Google Apps Marketplace could be compared to the Apple App Store for iPhone applications or the Salesforce.com Force.com cloud application platform, said Vander Mey.
At Box.net, an official cited integration benefits of Google Apps marketplace.
"Basically, we're now pretty deeply integrated with Google Apps," said Jennifer Grant, vice president of marketing at Box.net. Users can access Box.net directly from applications such as Gmail, she said.
"Before, they would have to go to Box.net as a separate application," Grant said. Users can add Google Docs documents to a Box.net workflow and send out email alerts.
Participation in Google Apps Marketplace is open to customers of the Premier, Standard and Education editions of Google Apps. Applications are linked to the marketplace via REST Web services and APIs including OpenID and OAuth.
"We expect [the marketplace is] going to significantly help Google Apps adoption and also help adoption of our partner apps," Vander Mey said. "We're going to bring 25 million users to these partner companies."
Google began offering online applications five years ago, having reached the 25 million-user mark last weekend, said Vender Mey. More than 2 million businesses use the applications, he said.
Google will pass on 80 percent of revenues from Google Apps Market sales to participating partners and keep the remaining 20 percent.
Some of the other application partners include Aviary, Batchbook, Bookfresh, Expensify, OfficeSync, Shoeboxed.com, and SuccessFactors.