2015

Google Marketplaces for Dummies

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Part 1: A guide to the Chrome Web Store, Add-ons Marketplace and Google Apps Marketplace

You’re working on Google Drive and Gmail, and want to do more. You need an app that will let you, say, track emails, do mail merges, or, if you have a Google Apps for Work or Education account, connect to a third-party app that you’re already using, like Smartsheet, Lucidchart or Zoho.

The good news is that, to find this external app, you have three marketplaces to choose from. There are the Google Apps Marketplace, the Chrome Web Store, and the Add-ons Marketplace.

The bad news is… you have three marketplaces to choose from!

Let’s stay with mail merge as an example. So you need a faster way of sending personalized emails to a group of contacts. Go to each marketplace, tap “mail merge” in the search bar, and each one will give you a list of different possibilities. You haven’t even started choosing an app yet, and already confusion sets in. Which marketplace should you use to find the tool that is right for you? We’re here to help you make sense of the mix.

But First: Why are Marketplaces Necessary?

Having a marketplace is great for users – that means you – because it makes looking for apps easier. Without a marketplace, you’d have to go on the Web to look for it on your own. Imagine the hassle!

Tap “mail merge” on a search browser, and you mostly get definitions of the process. Tap “mail merge app” and you get better results, but maybe just 2 to 3 solutions on the first page, not the 5 to 10 you get on the marketplaces. And the solutions you do manage to find while doing a Web search come to you without the invaluable insight provided by written customer reviews and marketplace rating systems.

And Then: Who is the User?

You’ve figured out why marketplaces are necessary, but before you can go apps shopping, you still have to define who you are as a Google user. This will have a big impact on the marketplace you will choose to look for your mail merge product.

You can be one of the 900 million people in the world who has a free @gmail.com email address. You may be using it for personal purposes, for collaboration with a team (maybe a non-profit or a sports organization), and even to operate a small business. In some cases, you may be working for a company using a Microsoft solution, but you have opened an @gmail.com account to do work-related tasks that you cannot do with your office-issued tools, like working simultaneously with your customers on the same spreadsheet, or sharing a calendar of events publicly.

Another possibility is that you are working for one of the millions of companies that has subscribed to Google Apps for Work. You are using Gmail with your company email address, for example, sales@wizy.io or rick@wizy.io.

A third option is that you are working or studying in one of the millions of learning institutions using Gmail for education. Your school or university has subscribed to Google Apps, and you have an email address like carol@stanford.edu or michonne@harvard.edu.

Why is this important? Mainly because the type of Google account you have determines which marketplaces you can get into. If you have a free email address with an @gmail.com, then you can look for your mail merge tool only inside the Add-ons Marketplace and the Chrome Web Store. The choice to find your solutions inside the Google Apps Marketplace is reserved for users with an account with Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education.

Market place at a Glance long and short

Third Point: Where will you Work?

Now you have to ask yourself where you will be using your mail merge tool before you can go ahead and dive into one of the marketplaces

The Chrome Web Store: It’s a marketplace originally created to offer products that work with the Google Chrome browser. In the Chrome Web Store, or CWS, you will find Chrome extensions, Chrome themes, and Web apps. Once upon a time, you’d only find apps that worked specifically with Chrome, but recently apps that are listed in the Google Apps Marketplace have also started appearing in the CWS. One thing remains constant: Everything that you find here will work with your Chrome browser.

The search menu on the left of the marketplace will help you find what you are looking for. There is a search bar and a list of filters – do you want a Chrome app, one that is free, and one that has a five-star rating? Choosing the three aforementioned filters, plus typing “mail merge” on the search bar, will lead you to the wizy.io extension Mail Merge for Gmail.

Clicking on the listing will open a page explaining what the product is and how it works. You install the product by clicking the blue “Add to Chrome” button.

Before we move on to the next marketplace, you may be wondering what a Chrome extension is, and how it is different from a Web application that works with Chrome.  A developer would have his way of explaining the technology behind it all, but for a user’s purpose, it’s enough to understand that a Web app is a lot like a standalone website. It works on a page all to itself. You can open this page on a Chrome or another browser.

An extension, on the other hand, will not open on its own page, or have very much by way of dedicated interface. It will extend the functionality of your Chrome browser or your native Google App within the interface of that app itself. Mail Merge for Gmail, for example, appears as buttons and a sidebar inside your Gmail. Using it will not lead you to a separate page; you stay inside Gmail. If you were to open Gmail with another browser, Mozilla for example, Mail Merge for Gmail will not function.

The Add-Ons Marketplace: This is the newest of the three marketplaces, having been launched just March of 2014. In general, what you will find here are products with a narrower range of functionalities than those that you will find in the other two marketplaces. This is where you look if you want something that will allow you to do more things with your Google Docs, Forms and Sheets.

You get to this marketplace by clicking “Add-ons” in the menu bar of one of the three Google Apps we just mentioned, and then choosing “Get Add-ons.” A pop-up window will appear on your screen showing you the marketplace containing all its different products developed by third-party developers.

Searching is easy enough. A drop-down menu on the upper left corner of the marketplace gives you the categories Business Tools, Education, Productivity, Social & Communication and Utilities. Under Productivity, you would find Data Merge, one of wizy.io’s most popular tools. It’s an add-on divided into two parts, one for generating documents, another for performing mail merges. You can also find Data Merge, or indeed any other product, by tapping its name in the search bar.

Once installed, you can start using an add-on by clicking on “Add-ons” and choosing the product from the drop-down menu.

The Google Apps Marketplace: GAM is where you go if you have a Google Apps for Work or a Google Apps for Education account, and you want a third-party app that will extend the functionality of your  native Google Apps. While you will find in here some of the same products that you will see in the Add-ons Marketplace and the Chrome Web Store, the focus is on heavier applications that can be used across an organization – be it a business or an educational institution.

The categories are Business Tools, Productivity, Education, Communication and Utilities. A quick peek at the subcategories under Business Tools show us that they include Accounting & Finance, ERP & Logistics, Marketing & Analytics, and Sales & CRM. Heavy stuff, we told you.

Tap “mail merge” in the search bar here, and one of the solutions that the Google Apps Marketplace will pull up for you is wizy.io, which is a suite of applications that will increase the efficiency of enterprise processes, with tools not only for mail merge, but also for workflows, email productivity, and sheet consolidation.

The Marketplace is organized so that you can see the most popular products. Those include KiSSFLOW, which automates approvals; and Wrike, a project management tool. The first has more than one million users, the second has more than two million. These very high numbers are possible because, although recent changes have made it so that individual users can use the marketplace, applications listed in GAM are traditionally downloaded by the administrator of a domain, who then deploys them to the entire organization, which can number from less than ten to thousands of employees.

Watch for Part 2 next week! We’re still working on Part 2. Watch for it in early January! Now that you have a better idea about the marketplaces, read our Guide to Choosing Your Third-Party Applications. We’ll cover the ratings systems and the reviews, talk about pricing, and delve into security concerns.

Jérémy RochotGoogle Marketplaces for Dummies
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How wizy.io makes issuing receipts faster and easier with Google Sheets – Robert Ransley, The Anglo House Academy

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Robert Ransley is the founder of The Anglo House Academy, in Extremadura, Spain. An English-language learning center that employs modern education methods such as Project Based Learning and Flip It, the academy has a broad client base, ranging from schoolchildren interested in a second language to professionals relocating to the UK and needing to improve their English.

Business is thriving. “I’ve lived in this area for almost 20 years so I’m well-known,” says Robert. “Once word got out that I was opening an academy, word of mouth took over.”

Organizational efficiency is important for any entrepreneur, and Robert knew that one area that needed improvement was how The Anglo House issued receipts. In the beginning, they would do it the old-fashioned way. “I’d write them out by hand,” he says.

He started keeping their clients’ data in Google Sheets and, looking for a productivity tool, he went into the Add-ons marketplace, where he discovered Data Merge from wizy.io. The add-on has two parts, Document Merge and Mail Merge.

screen for nov 24

Document Merge takes data entered into a spreadsheet, enters it into a document or spreadsheet template, and from these it automatically creates a document or a PDF file. This is how The Anglo House issues their receipts now. Robert uses the add-on regularly. “Especially at the beginning of the month,” he adds.

He says that he has not seen the need to try other solutions since discovering Data Merge. “This one is quite user-friendly and does everything I need it to do.”

“I keep my clients by delivering quality,” says the language coach. With Data Merge making sure that administrative tasks are handled better, Robert can now devote more of his energies to delivering the academy’s core service of providing English education to non-native speakers. “I go a lot faster with Data Merge,” he says. “It helps me save a lot of time.”

You can try Data Merge by clicking here.

Apol MassebieauHow wizy.io makes issuing receipts faster and easier with Google Sheets – Robert Ransley, The Anglo House Academy
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“8 things I learned from being a Google Apps reseller”

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From 2006 to 2012, wizy.io CEO Laurent Gasser headed Revevol, a consultancy based in Paris that he co-founded and built to become one of the most important Google Apps resellers in the world. In March 2007, when Google Apps was officially launched, 70 percent of the early adopters cited were French companies that Laurent and his team brought to Google.  Here, in his own words, Laurent talks about the lessons he learned during those years.

Lesson no.1: Believe in a vision, and the rest will follow. “I met IT visionary Louis Naugès in Paris during the Web 2.0 hype in 2005. Louis told me that major changes were coming in the enterprise world. Louis described what would be later called the cloud – apps running in a browser, on multi-tenants hosting platforms, with the same software version for hundreds of customers, no more separate versions for different customers. I was very interested in the concept and quickly believed that it would be the major change in the IT world in the next 10 years.”

Lesson no. 2: Being daring will take you places. “I believed that Louis and I should work together. With his vision and my ability to execute business, I sensed that there was good business potential for both of us. A short while later, Louis was contacted by two large French multinational companies, Valeo and Essilor, to study new solutions that could replace or compete with the duopoly of Microsoft and IBM Lotus Notes for communication and collaboration.

So we called Google France and told them, ‘We believe that you have in the works a Gmail for business. We have two large French corporations interested in trial-testing your future solution.’ Google asked us to sign non-disclosure agreements and in two weeks, at the end of October 2006, we – Louis, myself, and people from Valeo and Essilor – found ourselves in Google’s Paris office, in a video conference with Rajen Sheth, the product manager of the future Google Apps. Then another two weeks later, I was invited to join the first GApps partner training in Mountain View at Google HQ.”

Lesson no. 3: Sharing your ideas can change the world. During the proof of concept with Valeo in February 2007, we contacted Salesforce to see if they could deliver a PaaS to replace the Lotus Notes Domino servers that were installed in 80 Valeo factories around the world. At that time Salesforce was only a SaaS CRM. A global VP of Salesforce was in the room at Valeo when we asked her, ‘Why can’t you make a product without the CRM layer, providing a platform where companies can develop their own applications, and maybe sell them to others customers through a marketplace?’ We did in fact describe precisely to Salesforce top management what was to become the Salesforce PaaS offering and AppExchange.”

Lesson no. 4: You have to keep the message simple. “The perception has changed radically today, but in the beginning our biggest challenge was that nobody believed that hosting your data in Google’s data center was more secure than having your own email servers with your own admins who had access to most of your emails. They were all resistant. We had to find very simple messages like, ‘Is your money more secure under your mattress when everybody knows you have it there, or in a safe inside the central bank of your country?’”

Lesson no. 5: Be perceptive. “I think it is key to any success. Having a correct understanding of your business and the human environment allows you to avoid costly mistakes. I have met many people much more knowledgeable and clever than I am who missed out because they failed at analyzing and adapting to our quickly changing world. I heard that even Google has recently changed their recruitment process. While before it was exclusively centered on Ivy League or equivalent universities, meaning IQ-based, now they focus more on EQ or Emotional Intelligence.”

Lesson no. 6: Work with what you know, specially if it continues to excite you. “After I sold Revevol in 2012, I got involved with Collabspot, a Chrome extension on Gmail – and now wizy.io – working with Google Apps. Continuing with Google technologies seems obvious to me for two reasons. One, I have been in the Google Apps ecosystem since its inception in 2007. It’s much easier to leverage my knowledge here than to start in a new ecosystem.

The second reason is that Google is going to stay a leader in the coming years, developing crazy new services for their billions of users. Just think of the impact of Android and the Chrome browser for the last five years. Now Google has just opened its new artificial intelligence system called ‘Tensor Flow’ to third-party developers. This latest release and the future ones will enable the development of enterprise solutions we could not even have imagined a few years ago. I want to leverage  for the enterprise world all of the incredible innovation Google has built for billions of public users.”

Lesson no. 7: Work with the right people. “Revevol was able to bring to Google 70 percent of Google Apps early adopters because Louis was connected to many CIOs who knew he was a visionary. He had predicted many major innovations changing the way corporations managed their IT, including the rise of the PC, office solutions, and business intelligence. He even invented the  French word for office solution, ‘bureautique.’

Wizy.io was created by bringing together two teams that I had worked with at Revevol and Collabpsot. I had already worked long hours with each of the other three co-founders, Mohamed Bahri, Jérémy Rochot and Gino Tria. We share the same vision and work ethic. Between the four of us we have an incredible cumulative 30 years of experience with Google Apps, its usage by customers, the missing pieces, and the Google technology platform.”

Lesson no. 8: Practice what you preach. “Our global management office at wizy.io is inside Google Apps. I divide my time between San Francisco, Paris, Singapore, Manila and Brisbane, places where our customers and teams are located. I have no physical office, and no unique home. We have daily meetings with managers, and one-to-one interaction using Google Hangout. We work in a virtual world for real.”

Laurent Gasser“8 things I learned from being a Google Apps reseller”
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