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Google App Engine Gets Power of the Force.com

By Erika Morphy
Dec 8, 2008 4:00 AM PT

Salesforce.com has announced its latest platform-to-platform integration -- this time with Google. Force.com for Google App Engine is a new set of tools and services that allows developers to build Web applications on App Engine that leverage the enterprise data that resides in Salesforce.com.

Google App Engine Gets Power of the Force.com

At Dreamforce last month, Salesforce.com announced it had developed technology that would integrate its Force.com platform with Facebook's platform. More was on the way, CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff hinted to conference attendees. Monday's announcement follows through on that implied promise.

Building Blocks

"We believe developers should be able to choose the best services from a variety of applications and build applications that span multiple platforms," Ariel Kelman, senior director of platform product marketing for Salesforce.com, told CRM Buyer.

"Because of this, we think it is incumbent to make cloud computing interoperable -- that is, to make sure our developers can build applications that can span all of these platforms," he said.

Salesforce.com has built a similar integration with the Amazon platform, noted Kelman.

It is too early to make definitive conclusions about how the Facebook and Amazon integrations are working, he continued, other than to say there is tremendous interest from customers.

With the Google integration now formally unveiled, Salesforce.com will forge ahead building linkages to other platforms, Kelman said. "We are working on this with a number of different vendors. I think within a short period of time you will see a number of very different use cases result from all this."

For instance, Harrods is using the App Engine integration to build a slot machine game for its microsite where customers can browse events and plan trips. The game leverages a customer loyalty application and Salesforce.com, so when customers play the slot machine online they can earn loyalty points.

A Look Inside the Box

The rush to market with these various Salesforce.com integrations is understandable, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer. "Salesforce.com is trying to accelerate the path for partners to build on Force.com as well as increase the number of partners that are adopting the platform."

This is a critical time for Salesforce.com and its competition, she added. "It wants to be far ahead of the game as more and more of these platforms start to come out."

Force.com for Google App Engine includes the following functionality:

  • a means to leverage Python in a scalable cloud environment and interact with database, workflow and logic capabilities in Force.com;
  • the creation on Google App Engine of Python libraries that allow App Engine apps to read and write to Force.com using the Force.com API (application programming interface); and
  • access for App Engine developers to Force.com services and capabilities including mobile, analytics, security and sharing models, user authentication, and multilanguage and currency support.

Buddy System

The release of Force.com for Google App Engine is another indicator of the ever-growing coziness between the two Silicon Valley giants. In April, Salesforce for Google Apps debuted -- a product that combines Salesforce.com's on-demand customer relationship management application with Google's suite of productivity apps.

In June, Salesforce.com introduced the Force.com toolkit for Google Data APIs. Monday's release builds upon its functionality.

Designed to help developers integrate Google Apps data and content with Force.com's database, logic and workflow capabilities, the open source tools and services were modeled after the Java Client library for Google Data.

The toolkit exposes Google APIs for Spreadsheets, Documents and Calendar directly within Apex, making it easier to access them natively from Force.com apps.

In 2007, Google and Salesforce.com launched their partnership with the release of Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google Adwords.

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