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Google Apps Has a Marketplace and Instant Failover

The Google Apps Marketplace (GAM) allows providers to create applications that integrate with Google Apps applications like Google GMail, Docs, Sites, Calendar, Talk and Video. The idea is to allow companies to integrate their own applications with Google’s applications serving some 2 million organizations - businesses and universities – totaling over 25 million accounts/individuals. All three Google Apps edition users - Premier, Standard and Education - can benefit from this. Google also promises zero data loss and instant failover for Google Apps customers.

If a provider wants to become a seller on GAM, it needs to create an application for the cloud, any cloud, and to deploy it on the platform of its choice. The application does not need to be deployed on Google App Engine. The application needs to use OpenID for single sign-on authentication to make it possible for the user to log into it from his Google Apps account without having to separately sign in into it. The provider then needs to create a manifest file that is published on GAM. This file should contain the details of the application, how the Google Apps user connects to it and description information.

To be helpful to Google Apps users, such an application should integrate with one or more of Google Apps applications. Upon receiving permission from the user, the provider’s application will be able to access user’s email, calendar or other data using Google’s GData protocol through Google Apps API.

Vendors can sell products or services on GAM. The products are organized into several categories like “Accounting & Finance”, “Productivity” or “Project Management”. Services include adjacent offerings like support for setting up a Google Apps account, advice for using Google Analytics or archiving options. GAM started with 50 vendors, Google mentioning as example the following applications:

  • Intuit Online Payroll: A small business application that offers business owners a new way to efficiently run payroll, pay taxes and let employees check paystubs all within one integrated online office environment.
  • Manymoon: The company's free work and project management application for Google Apps makes it simple for businesses and teams to organize and share information including tasks, projects, documents, status updates and links with co-workers, customers and partners.
  • Professional Services Connect (PS Connect): This new cloud-based offering coming soon from Appirio, pulls contextually relevant information on people, projects, customers and transactions from a user's domain and surfaces it directly inside a Gmail message so services professionals can make more informed, real-time decisions.
  • JIRA Studio: A hosted software development suite from Atlassian enables software developers to flow naturally between Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and other design and development tools in order to better track and manage project issues and workflow.

There is a one time fee of $100 to sell an application on GAM and an additional 20% of the revenue resulting from getting a new customer, that is 20% of “the total amount your customer ends up paying you for your application and related add-ons”.

Besides having access to a marketplace, Google Apps users have zero RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and instant failover for RTO (Recovery Time Objective). RPO is the “acceptable amount of data loss measured in time” while RTO is “the duration of time and a service level within which a business process must be restored after a disaster (or disruption) in order to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in business continuity.”

Google manages to attain such high levels of disaster recovery through synchronous replication on at least two other datacenters beside the one holding the data the user is accessing at any moment. In other words, when a Google Apps user saves a document, the file is saved on at least 3 datacenters. It is very unlikely a disaster to strike 3 widely distributed datacenters at once, making Google’s data protection very effective. This is possible since Google owns several datacenters around the globe linked together with high speed communication channels. Customers get this data protection for free as part of the standard $50/year/user fee for having a Google Apps account. Users having a free GMail account do not benefit from this feature.

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