To hear a lot of bloggers tell it, the much-anticipated tie-up announced Tuesday between Google (GOOG) and Salesforce.com (CRM) was a big disappointment. Some expected that the two companies would completely blend their online operations – or that Google might even buy Salesforce. The announcement the two companies did make, though, is significant for other reasons. (See video of the Salesforce presentation below.)
Both companies are at the cutting edge of offering online services that challenge the desktop-centric mindset that has defined computing for a long time – Google with its Docs & Spreadsheets and other apps, and Salesforce with its customer relationship management software.
Both companies also view Microsoft (MSFT) as a major enemy on various fronts. Now the two companies are working together to promote the idea that small and medium-sized business can acquire, track and manage customers easily online, without paying big up-front fees for software packages.
The first fruit of the Google/Salesforce union is Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, a Salesforce product that makes it simpler to place Google ads to acquire customers and then track and follow up with those customers to address their needs. The benefit to Google: Small and medium-sized businesses now have a more straightforward way to use AdWords. The benefit to Salesforce: It gets the benefit of Google’s brand halo, which should make businesses feel better about letting Salesforce store their data.
For a walk-through of the new service, see the video below: