Google is making it easier for business customers and schools using Google Apps to also take advantage of our innovations and ideas that aren’t quite ready for prime time. We encourage your organization to experiment with the Google Labs features listed below to improve how you communicate and collaborate.
Customers using Google Apps now have an app store. “Store” meaning place where stuff is, not place to buy/sell stuff, since there does not appear to be any cost to installing the add-ons.
Currently, the only available apps are from Google Labs, hosted on Google App Engine, but the plan is to open the store to third parties at some point. Details about how this will work aren’t discussed.
Even thought Google calls this “Labs for Google Apps”, it was quickly shortened to “Apps Labs”, which fouls up some of the tracking mechanisms. For example, I track the common mispellings of our name using Summize and Google Alerts, and now, those have blown up with Google Apps Labs references.
We may be fine for now, since a Google search for “apps labs” still brings us up third, above the Labs for Google Apps results. I guess time will tell.
In all fairness, we did borrow the Labs idea from Google (and others), but since we had such a tiny team, we figured one Lab was more accurate.
Anyway, aside from the inevitable mistaken identity, this is another example of a marketplace for apps. This ties nicely into the “data as the next Intel inside” point I made earlier. In this case, leverage your ecosystem to build features you don’t have time to build, extend your product and make friends among developers.
My guess is this has been in the works for a long time, but the timing was interesting, given Microsoft’s announcement at PDC that Office will be coming soon to your browser. That writing has been on the wall for a long time, but now, it’s real.
Now, time for your thoughts, on the name, the coincidence, the announcement.