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3/16/2010
10:11 AM
Rajan Chandras
Rajan Chandras
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Google App Store is Boon for Businesses

The newly opened Google App Store isn't going to shake any foundations (yet) -- and Apple's iPhone Store it's not -- but it looks like great news for small and midsize businesses, and a step forward for cloud computing.

The newly opened Google App Store isn't going to shake any foundations (yet) -- and Apple's iPhone Store it's not -- but it looks like great news for small and midsize businesses, and a step forward for cloud computing.

Clearly there is a great deal of difference between the Google App Store and Apple's iPhone Store... but that's really because the comparison would be apples to oranges. For example, Apple has, what, around 160,000 applications? Google has maybe 350 applications. This might seem like a drop in the ocean, but remember that Google apps are intended for businesses, so there are more per-capita users for each Google app. Also, of course, the applications are geared for very different purposes -- personal productivity and entertainment vs. business productivity and facilitation.The primary drive behind Google Apps Store is, purportedly, that these third-party apps work with Google Apps, so there's a symbiotic functional and selling relationship. For example, one of the asset management applications on Google Store promises these benefits of integrating with Google Apps:

  • View and Search all assets-enterprise-wide or by business unit
  • Manage Asset Maintenance with Google Calendar.
  • Share & Gather asset data with Google Documents.

But I think that's, at best, part of the good news. Enhanced benefits through Google Apps integration aside, there are really several plus points to the Google Store.

  • As happened with the Apple iPhone Store, the Google Web site creates a forum for small business app vendors to showcase and sell their wares, and for businesses to go looking for such wares. This, in my view, is perhaps the greatest single accomplishment of Google Apps Store.
  • Typically, every one of these applications is affordably priced and usage-based (again, primary drivers of the Web site), so business can pay as they go along. For example, an online billing solution (that I could potentially use to invoice Intelligent Enterprise for my writing, when IE starts paying me something that's less laughable) charges $30 per month for 100 clients, i.e. 30 cents per client per month -- something that any small business can afford.
  • The Google App Store -- more than, perhaps, Apple's store -- is likely to spur a positive-feedback loop in cloud computing, where vendors can (at relatively low cost) create innovative Web-based solutions by using cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Google, SalesForce and others, and sell these solutions (at relatively low cost) to a larger clientele.

All this is very good news. In this fierce and fearful economy, small businesses -- and that includes you and me in our moonlighting activities, and small developers looking for a profitable outlet to their creativity -- need all the help they can get. By tapping into this mushrooming cloud of computing and by thinking outside the box (the one underneath their desktop, that is) they should be able to eke out some nice savings without sacrificing effectiveness, and/or earnings without standing to lose their shirt.

Now, if only Google made it easier to find the Web store...The newly opened Google App Store isn't going to shake any foundations (yet) -- and Apple's iPhone Store it's not -- but it looks like great news for small and midsize businesses, and a step forward for cloud computing.

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