Salesforce.com today extended its relationship with Google, offering tools that allow developers to access Force.com data from Google's App Engine.
With Force.com for Google App Engine, developers can create new business applications that run on the Google and Salesforce.com platforms.
The move today is just the latest step in Salesforce.com's evolution beyond a Software as a Service (SaaS)-based CRM vendor and into a platform as a service. Last month, at its Dreamforce conference, the company released Force.com Sites, a website-building tool that allows users to publish Force.com data to any website. It also released Force.com for Facebook, allowing developers to use Facebook application programming interfaces (APIs) within their Force.com applications.
Salesforce.com has moved beyond being simply an on-demand CRM vendor into a platform -- and it's not stopping there, CEO Marc Benioff said Monday at an event in New York.
"We see another vision we call connecting the clouds," he said. "When we're working on cloud computing, we're not just an island. There are other clouds emerging."
Benioff identified four major cloud computing entities: Amazon Web Services (which Salesforce.com partnered with last month to allow developers to leverage Amazon's computing and storage with Salesforce.com), Facebook, Google and Salesforce.com itself.
"We have our platform for building enterprise quality applications," he said. "But what if you could start combining these four platforms to create quality applications? We're deeply integrating our cloud with their cloud."
Force.com for Google App Engine includes a Python library, examples showing Python code accessing Force.com, a testing harness for the library and a wiki FAQ page on developer.force.com with best practices, tips and tricks.
There are currently 150,000 developers working on the Google App Engine and more than 100,000 developers using Force.com
"This demonstrates something a lot of us have known for a long time -- the Web has won," Tom Stocky, director of product management for Google App Engine, said at Monday's event. "The Web has become the de facto platform of our era. Instead of writing for Windows or Macs or Linux, you can write for the Web and target the client you know your audience has, and that's the Web browser."
Narinder Singh, chief marketing officer of Appirio, demonstrated one possible use for the new development tools. An online game from the consumer Web, like a virtual slot machine, could be combined with microsites for Harrah's casinos that are targeted at VIPs. VIPs visiting those sites could play the virtual slots and earn real rewards, such as show tickets, at the casinos. The slot machine could even be added to their iGoogle page. Meanwhile, Harrah's employees can follow their VIP's activity in their Salesforce.com SFA system, building loyal customers.
This is not the first collaboration between Google and Salesforce.com. The two companies first joined forces on Salesforce.com for Google AdWords, an application that lets users track their Google AdWords programs in Salesforce.com. In April, the two companies integrated Salesforce.com's CRM application and Google's productivity applications.
George Hu, executive vice president of CRM at Salesforce.com, also discussed some of the features of the company's forthcoming Spring '09 release.
Salesforce.com is combining a search tool with the content management technology it acquired with Koral. The results will allow users to select documents, like slides from sales presentations across the company, to assemble their own, personalized presentations. Salesforce.com is also developing a de-duplication engine to eliminate ideas that are created more than once in its Ideas product, Hu said. Moving forward, that will serve as the basis of how Salesforce.com manages data quality in all its applications.