In the latest cloud computing marriage, Zoho begins letting users access Zoho SAAS applications via their Google Apps domain credentials. With this move, Zoho hopes Google Apps users will adopt Zoho CRM, invoice and application development applications over comparable programs from Salesforce.com.
Zoho continues to hew closely to sometime ally, sometime rival Google. More
than a year after Zoho began letting users log in
to Zoho with their Google and Yahoo accounts, Zoho
has made it possible for Google Apps users to log in to Zoho using their Google
Apps domain credentials.
Users attempting to log in to Zoho's collaboration and enterprise
application suites will see a new "Google Apps" option in the sign-in
box. If the user is a Google Apps user, he or she may click on that option and
enter their Google Apps domain name to access Zoho.
Users will then be redirected to Google to sign in using their Google Apps
credentials. Once users authorize accounts.zoho.com, they'll be logged in to
Zoho. However, those accessing Zoho for the first time through their Google
Apps account must choose a Zoho username. See pictures of the process here on Google Watch
The integration is possible because Google last month extended
its Google OpenID Federated Login API
to Google Apps accounts, allowing users to securely sign in to third-party Websites
using their Google Apps account.
Zoho and Google compete in the collaboration software space, with both
offering word processing, presentation, spreadsheet and other applications as
SAAS (software as a service) that they host on their own data centers. Why,
then, would Zoho let users access their apps via their Google account
Zoho also sells SAAS business applications for customer relationship
management, billing creation, project management, application development and
several other enterprise functions. Zoho believes that Google Apps users may
want to use their collaboration apps to extend into these complementary
enterprise applications. Thus, Zoho is trying to create a bridge between Google
Apps users and its Zoho business applications.
Zoho evangelist Raju Vegnesa made no secret of this in a blog post
: "We believe this sign-in level integration will allow
businesses to use Google Apps and Zoho Business Apps seamlessly. ... With over
1 million businesses using Google Apps, the ability to sign in to Zoho using
their existing Google Apps credentials gives seamless single sign-on access to
all Zoho applications which complement Google Apps."
Google Apps is actually catering to almost 2 million businesses, but the
point is that by allowing Google Apps users to walk right through the Zoho door
to use Zoho applications, Zoho is gunning for Salesforce.com, the market leader
in hosted enterprise applications.
Zoho has been dismissive about Google's many integrations with
Salesforce.com, which lets its customers access
Google Apps right from the Salesforce.com CRM
app. Salesforce.com and Google have also enabled
integration with Force.com and Google App Engine.
By letting users access Zoho apps via Google Apps credentials, Zoho is
clearly looking to cut in on Salesforce.com's action from Google. The question
then becomes whether or not Zoho's business applications will be preferable to
comparable apps from Salesforce.com. Zoho beats Salesforce.com on price, but
will it beat Salesforce.com on functionality and service level?