No Mere 'Partnership on Paper,' Google and Salesforce Offer Integration Capabilities


Back in June, I blogged about an SMB-oriented joint product from Google and Salesforce.com that incorporated Google AdWords with Salesforce Team Edition. At the time, ZDNet blogger Joshua Greenbaum opined that it was a shame the two companies hadn't created an interface in which a Google Docs spreadsheet or Gmail could connect users to Salesforce and its App Exchange partners.


Salesforce users must have expressed a similar desire. It certainly didn't take the companies long to offer this kind of functionality. Indeed, according to a CRM Buyer story, "it's clear that Google and Salesforce.com are moving quickly in the direction of integration at the XML (extensible markup language) level."


This contention is based on the inclusion of a Salesforce icon in the Google Apps Cascading Style Sheet, which will make it possible for Salesforce developers to include links to Google Docs and Gmail into their applications. Already relatively easy to produce and alter, the CSSs will become even more attractive to users with the added upfront integration capability, according to the article.


While this will no doubt add fuel to the fire of the rumors of a Google acquisition of Salesforce (which I couldn't resist mentioning in this December blog), the story's author hopes not, as he thinks Salesforce will remain a more effective "industry disrupter" as a standalone company. He writes:

The development of a Salesforce.com set of apps optimized for Google's APIs for messaging, scheduling, search, unstructured content analysis and taxonomy creation would be a major disrupter to the CRM SaaS sector. There are so many directions the partnership could take, yet this approach to tighter integration at the app level seems inevitable at this point.
Eventually, he predicts, we'll see a full shared suite of Google/Salesforce applications. Also on users' wish lists:
  • Role-based taxonomy creation from Google Content
  • Improved AdWords leads
  • A hosted call center application through shared APIs
Google and Salesforce aren't the only vendors trying to improve on-demand CRM with added flexibility and enhanced usability. As IT Business Edge blogger Susan Hall noted yesterday, Oracle just added collaboration and social networking tools to its latest CRM On Demand release.