Google folds consumer services into Apps suite

Your work and play Google identities can now be combined

By Elsa Wenzel, PC World |  On-demand Software, cloud services, Google

If you've been using Google Apps for work and other Google services for play, then you know the annoyance of juggling two accounts within one browser. That hassle ended Thursday as Mountain View brought more than 60 services into the Google Apps fold.

The vastly expanded Google Apps suite will include such services as Picasa, Blogger, Maps, and YouTube alongside work-friendly tools including Gmail, Calendar, Voice, and AdWords.

For those integrating Google accounts, the company enables migrating data, so you can export, say, all the RSS feeds from a personal Reader account to your professional Google Apps account.

The company says it's responding to high user demand for unifying sign-in and contacts across the applications. Nearly half of user requests lately have mentioned Google Apps access to the consumer services, said Dennis Troper, director of product management for Google's enterprise apps, in a briefing by phone.

Until now, the Google Apps suite has felt oddly small, with the core of Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Groups, and Video. However, the line between online services used for work and play is increasingly blurred. People using Picasa photo editing for office tasks and Calendar for a social life, so why not place those services under one roof? Big infrastructure changes were apparently needed to make single sign-in possible for so many tools.

"We want to keep innovating and adding more to the suite," Troper said. "Behind the scenes there's been quite a bit of work to get here."

Internet giants are increasingly knocking down walls between personal and professional tools and data. Another crumbling brick came this week, with Facebook Messaging integrating with Office Web Apps. People checking into one hub--whether from Google, Facebook, or Microsoft--for social and work-related tasks will certainly discover new TMI moments.

The expanded Google Apps also encompasses Talk, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, Voice, Blogger, AdWords, Analytics, Website Optimizer, AdSense, Checkout, Translate, Places, Maps, Finance, News, Alerts, Reader, App Engine, Feedburner, YouTube, and Picasa.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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