To understand how and why the Google Apps Marketplace works, first you need to understand the nature of large scale enterprise program purchasing. For years the standard method of enterprise implementation has been a token system. An enterprise copy of a program is downloaded or shipped via CD to a company, then someone would need to come around to each computer and install the program as well and register it. During the registration your company would then pay for the license, or redeem a license with a previously purchased "token". This method has two major draw backs: time and money. With each copy being installed meant time spent by someone doing the process. As well, because of the nature of the medium, CDs and digital downloads cost more for the company producing the software and then the cost is passed on to you.
The Google Apps Marketplace opened in March 2010 to positive reviews, and has grown steadily since its inception. The medium that Google employs for the apps is a "cloud" system. This means that all applications work online in a web browser, and with the exception of some tools, requires no downloads on each machine. Each app is tested and goes through a series of steps to be listed on the Marketplace.
- The app is developed and integrated with Google Apps via Google Apps API
- Integration with "Single Sign-On" allowing just one sign-on for all of the apps
- Creation of import configuration for each app
- Creation of the listing on the marketplace which includes installation options, and pricing
- The application is installed and tested in the Google Apps domain
- The application is then submitted to be approved
Often, an app will open as free of charge during the testing period. This allows companies to use the application and find any bugs or issues before the developer requires a payment.
All of the apps on the Google Apps Marketplace are aimed at companies and businesses. They are designed to be used by businesses people to take of the place of other ways of performing tasks. For instance, Workflow apps, Accounting apps, and Calendar/Scheduling apps are all categories in the marketplace. The most popular apps on the marketplace are Box.net that works as a common folder for projects and documents. Everyone that is given permission can access the documents and communicate about changes. Also, SurveyMonkey is popular as it creates an easy method for collecting data on employees desires, perceptions, and opinions on various topics.
Google Apps Marketplace is in competition with the Apple App Store and the Android Market. For the pricing structure for the Apps Marketplace is better for developers than the other two options. Google takes only 20% of the fee of an app and leaves the other 80% in the developers hands. The Android Market, by comparison, takes a 30% fee leaving only 70% for the developers. There is also a one time fee of $100, while the Apple App Store charges a yearly $100 fee to developers. These prices have been organized to entice developers that want to keep more of their hard-earned money while still taking enough to keep the cloud highly functioning.
Overall, Google Apps Marketplace is a revolution in business enterprise computing solutions. The availability and vastness of apps and categories for all sized businesses is one of a kind. As the Marketplace continues to grow, so will the desire of companies to employ this cloud system. Developers looking for an open platform with a competitive, developer friendly, pricing structure are hard pressed to find a better option.