When Google and Salesforce.com announced Salesforce for Google Apps, the deal was widely covered by press and analysts, with many in the latter group treating the news to little more than a yawn.
In that leg of the SAAS (software as a service) providers' relationship, current Salesforce.com customers were allowed to directly work with Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and the Google Docs spreadsheet, presentations and word processing applications from within the Salesforce.com platform.
Yesterday, June 23, the companies extended that collaboration theme to Salesforce.com developers with a tie between Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs, which lets programmers leverage the Google Data APIs within their applications and projects on Force.com.
Now Force.com programmers can directly call the Google Data APIs to plug any of the Google Apps functionality directly into the Force.com applications and share data and content between Salesforce.com's and Google's cloud computing platforms.
Ariel Kelman, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce.com, provided the following example for me. Let's say a salesperson wants to share a candidate list with an outside recruiter but not give the recruiter full access to the application. The salesperson can e-mail the recruiter a Google spreadsheet from Google Docs.
As the salesperson makes changes in Force.com through the Google Data APIs, it will update the candidate list on the spreadsheet. So, the recruiter can see those changes and interact with those changes.
"We can read and write information between our database and Google Docs," Kelman confirmed, and continued:
"What we're trying to do is make it easier for developers to build applications that run in the cloud and as all of these cloud computing platforms proliferate, the more that vendors can do to allow developers to have access to the different computing platforms, the easier it becomes.In effect, it's no different than what Microsoft did when it partnered with SAP and Business Objects in business intelligence ... back in the day to bolster its on-premises software functionality."
How many deals and integrations have we seen between Microsoft and Vendor X that improve Microsoft functionality while giving the other vendor greater visibility? We're seeing it still today; at Enterprise 2.0, nearly 10 vendors added some sort of social integration with Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration software.
The Google-Salesforce.com integrations propose the same value, albeit in the cloud. Salesforce.com gets to add collaboration functionality to its apps, while Google gets its apps into more, well, apps. You can't get more symbiotic than this.
By standing together, Google and Salesforce.com are planting a big ol' stake in the ground for cloud computing, which, let's face it, could use all of the ecosystem revving and marketing support it can get. This is a new paradigm, folks.
Just like Microsoft's seminal desktop software, SAAS needs sunlight and rain to grow and blossom. What better vendors to do that than Google and Salesforce.com, which have the technology and marketing clout to lead the SAAS ecosystem?
You choose who you want to be sunlight and who you want to be rain. I'm not going there.