Apps suite gains access to more than 60 Google tools

Google Apps administrators will now be able to give theirusers managed access to about 60 Google applications, tools and services thataren’t part of the core components of the hosted communications and collaborationsuite.

The newly available applications include consumer-marketfavorites like Blogger, Picasa, Voice, Maps and Reader; webmaster tools likeAnalytics; advertiser programs like AdWords; online payment service Checkoutand application development platform App Engine.

It’s smart of Google to leverage its consumer applicationsportfolio for business benefits, said Gartner analyst Matthew Cain.

“It highlights the convergence of business and consumerservices, and creates a competitive advantage over enterprise-onlyvendors,” he said via e-mail.

In addition, the move highlights the ability of cloud-onlyvendors to innovate quickly. “The key to the announcement, however, is theability of company administrators to control access to these newservices,” Cain said.

Apps administrators will have control over whichapplications they activate for their users, including the ability to turn onsome applications for certain users and a different group for other users,depending on the type of work they do.

As with core Apps components, applications added to a domainwill be accessible to users once they log into the suite, so that they don’thave to call them up individually. Likewise, the added applications will usetheir domain’s common list of user contacts.

However, these extra applications aren’t covered by the 99.9percent uptime service level agreement that covers the core Apps in the suiteand Google will not provide phone support for them.

The ability to add these applications will exist in theStandard, Education and Premier editions of Apps.

With this move, Google, which announced in May its intentionto do this, further extends the functionality of Apps, which for a time wascriticized for being relatively narrow in scope.

A major first step in remedying that situation was Google’slaunch in March of the Apps Marketplace, where third-party vendors can sellcomplementary applications that are also pre-integrated at a technology levelwith Apps, including single sign-on and other links.

Google is also announcing a re-branding of the suite’seditions. The Standard edition will now be called simply Apps, while thePremier and Education editions will be called, respectively, Apps for Businessand Apps for Education.

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