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An Introduction to the Google Apps Marketplace

David Politis

March 1, 2012

5 minute read

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So you have moved your company over to Google Apps, and now that you are comfortable in a 100% web environment, you want to move more of your processes and applications into the cloud, but where is the best place to start? The Google Apps Marketplace is the first place many people turn, and it’s definitely the most complete collection of third-party applications that integrate with Google Apps.

The Google Apps Marketplace is an application directory run by Google, which focuses on productivity and enterprise management. The third-party applications found within the Marketplace extend the functionality of Google Apps for both IT administrators and end-users. Think of the Google Apps Marketplace as a web-based “app store” for businesses currently operating on or planning to switch to Google Apps.

You can access the Marketplace from inside your inbox. Just go to the “Find more services” link under the “More” tab at the top of your screen.

Add More Menu

What Are You Looking For?

As with most Google services, navigation in the Marketplace is done by search. To start, you can search for the action item you are looking for, such as “contact sharing.” If you don’t find what you are looking for, try searching for a slightly different keyword or set of words or consider narrowing your search to something more specific, like “multi-domain contact sharing.”

If you’re just getting started with Google Apps and not sure what you may need, you can look at the left hand categories on the Marketplace homepage or check out the top installs situated on the right hand side.

Google Apps Marketplace homepage

Identifying the Right App

Checking out the reviews section of an app is a great way to see if you are going to get what is advertised by the provider. Not all apps are created equal, and the third-party nature of these offerings means you’ll be working to evaluate software that is not supported by Google. If you encounter problems or have questions about a product in the Marketplace, you will be getting support from the company that produces the software, and not Google itself.

This is important to point out, as the reviews for an app can give you insight into how robust a product is and how that particular software company provides support. Just recently, providers have been given greater ability to respond to user reviews and comments in the Marketplace.

Reviews and Comments in the Google Apps Marketplace

App Evaluation

Most of the apps in the Google Apps Marketplace offer a trial, usually based on an amount of time (i.e. a 30-day trial) or a set number of users on a domain (a 2-user trial for example). These limits can sometimes hamper the user’s ability to test the full functionality of a product, but providers will often negotiate trial terms. Reach out to app providers to see if trial adjustments can be made.

Add it Now

You should also talk to an app provider’s support department to get a feel for how the support team can help you if you encounter a problem within the application. This process helps to ensure you are choosing the right long-term solution for your organization.

Installation

Setting up an app from the Marketplace is easy. Log into your Google Apps domain account, then find the app you want to install. Then click the “Add it now” button found on the right hand side of the application’s Marketplace page.

Add it Now 2

As with any software product (cloud or otherwise), you will need to accept the terms of the installation.

Terms of Service

The second step lets you know what data the application has access to after installing. In this particular case, the app receives read-only access to the user provisioning API.

API Access

This application also requires configuration before it can be used. To configure the app, you will be prompted to go to the application’s site to set up the software.

Additional Configuration required

After configuring, you should be good to go. You’ll be able to access the installed application from the “More” tab in your Google Apps domain.

Data Security

There have always been concerns that cloud security is not as robust as a local data center solution controlled by an IT organization, but Google has done their best to allay these fears with a number of standards and certifications related to data privacy and security. It’s important to understand that add-on services from the Google Apps Marketplace also have access to certain data.

Data security

When you add an app from the Marketplace, you’ll often be asked to grant the software access to certain Google Apps APIs in order to integrate the application into your domain. It’s important to keep in mind that third-parties have access to your data as a result of the integration.

TRUSTe

As a trademark for data protection and trust, TRUSTe certification for the Google Apps Marketplace is one way to help better navigate applications providing additional data security. Providers that have apps TRUSTe certified pay no fee for the first year of the program. This means that apps that can verify they are using secure practices should be able to obtain a TRUSTe certificate with relative ease.

TrustE

The above badge lets users know that industry standard best practices are used to transmit data to and from Google Apps. The certification also gives those concerned about cloud security and third-party applications peace of mind.

Though the Google Apps Marketplace does not get the same exposure enjoyed by other app stores, the simple fact is applications in the Marketplace vastly extend the capability of Google Apps. Replacing native-installed Google software with a nimble Software-as-a-Service product is ultimately good for employee productivity and satisfaction and therefore the bottom line.

What is your favorite Google Apps Marketplace app? What are ways the Marketplace can be improved?

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