During the second day to we ran 30 or so developer-to-developer training sessions where we had Google engineers instruct on implementing Google App Engine, and GData and Google Maps APIs with the hope that they'd use our services when building their cloud-based apps.
And on the evening of the third day, we didn't boil the oceans, but coding teams did create some pretty sweet apps using only cloud services. One of the cooler ones was an socially-aware job search app for the iPhone which used Google App Engine, and Facebook and Google Apps APIs. Check out developer Claes Nygren's demo:
Cloud Connect did a great job of testing the ease of interoperability and data portability between cloud computing providers. We want companies to be able to use the best services for their needs across multiple providers, and ensure that we are more flexible than traditional on-premise software platforms.
There are two new ways that you too can play with robot action figures – I mean Google code. Test your app ideas in real-time at the new AJAX APIs Playground. Or register for Google I/O, Google's largest developer gathering, coming to San Francisco, CA from May 28 - 29, 2009.
InterContinental Hotels Group is the world’s largest hotel company, with more than four thousand hotels across seven brands. As you can imagine, helping our customers find our hotels is key to our success, and we recognize the need to have top of the line mapping and searching technology. We introduced Google Maps to our brand websites in 2008 with the Google Maps API Premier, and we are continuing to evolve to utilize the full power of the platform.
Google helps us reach our customers in a variety of ways. We've found that a growing number of people prefer to interact with maps versus filling in a form and retrieving search results. However, the Google Maps API also helps us reach people who still prefer to search by using a text field. In late 2008 we launched an open search field on intercontinental.com that simplifies searching – instead of requiring country, state, and, city fields to be populated, we rely on Google to parse the field for us and return the appropriate coordinates. We are continuing to roll out even more improved open search to our additional branded sites.
As we enter into 2009, our agenda is to continue adding more functionality and information to the maps, such as allowing users to enter dates of their stay directly into the Google Maps information window. I'm very excited about the "search by map" technique, which essentially searches for hotels in the background as a user drags the map around. For example, if a person is searching for hotels in Atlanta and then drags to Chattanooga, we will already have those markers available for quick display.
The only problem with Google Maps? Keeping up! Every time that I check the Google Maps website, three or four new features are waiting for me. I’m particularly looking forward to integrating with Street View, which will be a very powerful tool for customers to evaluate the area around the hotel. With Google, the sky is the limit on what will be next! They have proven that they can innovate faster than any of their competitors, and I’m happy to have them in my corner.
– Steve Sullivan, Manager, Web Development, InterContinental Hotels Group
Posted by Colleen Horan, Google Maps API Premier Team
While Google Apps is easy to use and many businesses will continue to come to us directly online or through our Enterprise team, many appreciate the services provided by local firms who are intimately familiar with their particular needs. We're looking forward to working with a broad range of partners, from VARs and IT consultants to professional services firms and global systems integrators, to ISPs and other SaaS providers.
With over 1 million businesses and 10+ million active users in more than 100 countries, Google Apps adoption is set to accelerate even further in 2009. This provides partners with a great opportunity to expand their expertise into cloud computing while building profitable new businesses.
Over the past few quarters we worked closely with a group of 50+ pilot resellers from more than 25 countries to develop and refine the program. We've also built our channel program around the SaaS model from the ground up. Even the tools for reselling are built directly into our cloud-based service, so that even the smallest providers serving the smallest companies can easily set up and manage many customers efficiently.
Google provides resellers with a full set of marketing and sales materials, available in 25 languages, along with technical training, a reseller discount, and the suite of tools for ordering, provisioning, and managing customers. Resellers have the ability to market and sell Google Apps, bundle in complementary offerings, and get customers up and running. They also set commercial terms with their customers, manage all customer billing, and can thereby grow their client relationships. Partners receive recurring revenue streams both from reselling Google Apps and from their complementary services, for the lifetime of the customer.
Google is committed to the success of our Apps users, and so we are committed to work very closely with our resellers to help them develop industry-leading SaaS expertise while we continue to focus on building powerful, easy-to-use cloud computing products that will provide partners with additional reselling and services opportunities.
We look forward to delivering even greater value to our business users in 2009 by working with highly skilled, locally deployed resellers who share our commitment to customer success with Google Apps.