Two’s not a crowd according to Salesforce.com. The company today unveiled Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs, a set of tools it says enable developers to link applications built for its Web-based customer relationship management platform with data yielded by Google services, including Google Spreadsheet and other and Google Apps.
As Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff puts it, the alliance will “enable the creation of powerful new applications delivered completely in the cloud.” The deal builds on a relationship forged about a year ago when Google paired its AdWords program with the popular CRM SaaS provider.
In a news release announcing the product, Salesforce described a prototype financial application developed by a European VAR that extracts and processes data from Google Spreadsheets. “Users can apportion the values by editing the cells used by formulas in the spreadsheet; the results are then posted in the form of a journal” back into the application from the spreadsheet UI via a Visualforce Google Gadget.
The new APIs work with Google’s own, permitting read and write access to Google data and content, and gaining direct access to Force.com’s database, Apex programming language, integration logic and Visualforce user interface capabilities, the company said. Applications created in this way can be published in the AppExchange marketplace as well as Google’s own Solutions Marketplace.
Right off the bat, I can think of a number of avenues of collaboration paved by the new APIs. For example, pricing and inventory data stored in cloud-based spreadsheets could be accessed by a salesforce app for instant availability checks and price quotes. Marketing departments could tap into customer databases for e-mail blasts and customer surveys.