Things just got interesting: Google launches App Marketplace
Well now, things just got interesting. Google just released App Marketplace, a centralized app store for cloud-based applications leveraging the Google Apps platform and framework. It also allows developers to very tightly integrate with existing Google apps (i.e. calendar, email, and document editing) and to utilize the Google apps authentication and login scheme, streamlining the user experience and creating a common framework for cloud-based applications.
Google plans to charge developers 20% of revenues, a decrease from the 30% agency revenue market that has become standard (e.g. iTunes, iPad books, Amazon).
This has the potential to be a game changer in the cloud-based/SaaS market. It’s no secret that Google is a big fan of applications in the cloud, and has been one of the largest supporters of technologies like HTML5 that will allow them to move even more functionality to the cloud. This latest move could centralize the market and make Google the arbiter and central party for a huge subset of the SaaS market.
The most obvious advantage for Google here is that if widely adopted, which isn’t a stretch, it makes them the de-facto standard platform for cloud-based development. It’s much like what Apple did with the App Store on the iPhone. While the revenue isn’t likely to supplant Google’s traditional advertising business, it grants them tremendous mindshare in the marketplace and allows an additional platform for Google to leverage.
Another, and perhaps just as key of an advantage is the tight integration with Google’s existing cloud applications. By creating a stable of third party applications that tightly integrate with Google’s calendaring, email, and document offerings by default and out of the box, it further cements Google’s lead in this space. Microsoft, already lagging behind in the online-office space, has even more to worry about now.
Finally, this creates another platform Google to leverage to increase it’s lead in Big Data and online advertising. The more data Google has, the better the targeted ads they can create, and the more they can charge for them. No one is better at crunching this data to come up with usable information than Google, and this is playing to their strengths.
Of course, it remains to be seen if this will stick. Personally, I’m optimistic–consolidation is a good thing in this space, and allows developers a broader audience. If it works out, it could be a very good thing for Google.
It’s also interesting to watch Google get it’s fingers into so many pies. Just yesterday, there was an article in the New York Times about how Google has used its computing power and Big Data expertise to create one of the best computer translation services. It’s well worth Google’s effort to expand into as many spaces as possible. The more data, the more platforms, the more ads Google can sell. It keeps them at the forefront of technological advancement–and frankly, there’s no one else that can do much of what they’re doing. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch.
Edit: More reading about the Apps Marketplace: