Salesforce links Force.com to Google App Engine

Salesforce.com is connecting its Force.com development platform with Google's App Engine, according to an announcement due today.

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Salesforce.com is connecting its Force.com development platform with Google's App Engine, according to an announcement due today.

The news, which Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff is expected to discuss during a company event in New York, follows the company’s recent announcement of a similar arrangement with Amazon Web Services' Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3).

Google's App Engine, which is still in preview mode, is aimed at developers who want to quickly and easily build scalable Web applications, while AWS is positioned as a more general, flexible infrastructure platform for serving all types of programs.

Meanwhile, Force.com provides a database, Java-like programming language, integration and workflow capabilities, and user-interface design tools for creating business applications that run on Salesforce's cloud infrastructure.

The results from this hook up remain to be seen, said Adam Gross, VP developer marketing at Salesforce.

"Obviously, it's up to the imagination of developers what they create," Gross said.

In a statement, Google said the integration "will foster the creation of new web applications and further demonstrate the power of the web as a platform."

One industry observer is expecting big things to happen over time as cloud platforms merge in this manner.

"We're really talking about the invention of apps that don't exist right now, that will exist at the intersection of CRM [customer relationship management] or more broadly, business applications and front-office applications," said Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research. "Or front-office applications and social-networking applications. This opens up a door, or maybe a couple of doors, to really new innovation."

Monday's announcement is the latest stage in Salesforce and Google's relationship -- which has also resulted in an integration between Salesforce and Google Apps -- and could prompt another round of speculation that the search engine giant will eventually buy Salesforce.

But Pombriant hopes such a deal does not materialise.

"I think it's highly important that the two companies remain separate, and that they continue pursuing their own unique paths toward platform integration," he said. "I don't think you can have a cloud computing era happen if all the clouds are owned by the same company."

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