Google is currently adding some 5,000 businesses daily as users of its Google Apps platform. But it wants to have more, and to help do that, today it is launching an updated Apps Marketplace — the first really big update to the service that offers enhanced services on top of Google Apps since it was first launched in 2010. Called “2.0″ internally (or so we’ve heard), it will help Google up its game compared to rival offerings from the likes of Salesforce‘s AppExchange and Amazon‘s AWS Marketplace, which also offer cloud-based apps for enterprises — and a way to attract more paying users to their own platforms.
Google’s new Apps Marketplace storefront — currently covering “thousands” of extensions and apps that build out more functionality on Google Apps (examples: workflow applications like KissFlow, email marketing services like MailChimp, accounting software like Expensify) — will have a number of new and upgraded features:
– New security settings using OAuth 2.0 (previous settings were for OAuth 1.0 and OpenID);
– A more narrowed down ability to select apps that are OAuth 2.0, use SSO, and are integrated with at least one Google service;
– Significantly more controls for network administrators. Using the Admin Console, admins can now provision apps at the domain level. This means that if a particular domain has 100 users, previously each user would need security privileges on apps. Now, if that admin authorises at the domain level, this indicates that an app is trusted app and you do not need to bother. Admins will also be able to deploy internal and custom-built apps on the same platform;
– User reviews that will come only from verified accounts;
– A generally easier process to install apps with single sign-on features;
– Deeper integration with Google Drive, Google+ and Hangouts
Google says that over twenty third-party applications will be available in the Admin console to start with. I wonder if it will increase the number over time as a value-added service.
One Google partner says that while the updates will serve as a way to lure more users to Google Apps, it’s also serving a second purpose: making sure that third parties continue to develop for the Google platform. In that sense, it’s not unlike the same strategy that Google has taken with its Play app store for Android apps or its Chrome web store.
“The bigger implication is that the new Apps Marketplace will give B2B apps the same visibility as those on the web store,” he said. “Google wants to show that B2B is as important to it as B2C. If they can show value and it will mean more users and more partners.”