Google is so committed to selling its suite of cloud-based apps to businesses that it's taking a page from the playbooks of companies like Apple and Salesforce to do so. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google is getting ready to launch an online store for business software that integrates with its Web services.
Like Apple's App store and Salesforce's App Exchange, the Google store would feature apps built by outside developers to integrate with Google's services. Eventually, the company would allow customers to but these apps through the online store. The WSJ report said the company is expected to announce its new store as soon as March.
The company didn't confirm a store to the WSJ - but it does make sense. Like salesforce and others, Google also hosts a conference for developers, called I/O. During last year's conference in May, the company offered a rare preview of Google Wave, an online collaboration tool that admittedly wasn't ready but needed the help from third-party developers to enhance it. Eventually, Wave will integrate with other Google services for seamless interactions between the different apps. For now, Wave remains in its early stages.
Google has made progress with the advancement of Apps for businesses, signing companies such as Motorola, as well as municipalities, such as the cities of Los Angeles and Orlando. But the company continues to play catch-up with Microsoft, which still dominates with its Exchange and Microsoft Office software. Among the biggest criticisms of Google's Apps is the clunkiness of some of the software tools, which Google has been addressing with updates, largely unannounced and usually just added as they're made available. In addition, concerns over reliability of the cloud and security of the data have taken center-stage in many of the debates.
Still, business applications are migrating toward the cloud and Microsoft has launched its own cloud-based suite, as well, to counter Google's moves. To highlight the growing pains, though, Microsoft experienced its own outages, prompting a credit to customers to compensate for it.
The cloud still presents some concerns - but the companies behind will continue to invest in it, confident that the cloud computing will still have a place in the future of business.