I walked out of the Google Apps Marketplace launch last night in Mountain View convinced of a couple of things. One, Google consistently gives out cool schwag, caters well, and runs some of the best lit PR events in the tech space. Perhaps as important, with the new Marketplace, Google has extended the same degree of hospitality on the Apps front and in doing so, they have established a new standard for how business users should expect to use applications. The Google Apps Marketplace is a retail storefront and a set of APIs that enables a bundling of tightly integrated SaaS applications. The apps demoed last night represented a range of business processes from Intuit's payroll to Atlassian's product management to a force.com CRM app from Appirio - all showed seamless integration with Google Apps such as GMail, Calendar, Chat and all kept the user completely in the browser for all tasks.
From an Identity standpoint, Google has positioned Single Sign On as a default integration point.
The Apps Marketplace model lets users move into and out of all manner of secured business applications without logging in over and over. Removing logins from the flow is a huge step forward in usability. By putting SSO front and center, Google has established seamless SSO integration across multiple apps as an expected part of the user experience - other competing Cloud platforms will likely follow suit. More tightly integrated apps and less logins is all good news for end users.
On a personal note, it's great to see the vision for seamless access to Cloud applications that we have been working on at Ping Identity get mainstreamed by Google. We've collaborated closely with the team at Google to develop secure solutions that make it simple for SaaS vendors to plug into the Google Apps Marketplace. Look us up if you'd like more detail on how it all works.