Desktop applications beware: Salesforce integrates Google Apps

Desktop business applications just took another hit with the launch of Salesforce for Google Apps, which integrates Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Docs into Salesforce‘s customer relationship management service.

The concept is pretty simple: Companies who use Salesforce’s online service to manage sales, marketing and customer relations can now access Google Apps within the Salesforce interface. While using Salesforce, businesses can now collaborate with customers on Google Docs, send them messages via Gmail and schedule meetings on Google Calendar (see video below). You won’t be able to accomplish much that you couldn’t do before, if you were using Salesforce and Google Apps separately, but integrating the products should make things a lot easier.

The benefits of Google’s web-based productivity applications are obvious — without Google Docs, I suspect life at VentureBeat would quickly become an impossible tangle of email attachments. But the new integration gives companies another reason to ditch Microsoft Office and move their word processing, spreadsheets, etc. onto the web.

Google and Salesforce have already partnered to make Google AdWords available in Salesforce.

I’ll be attending Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff’s discussion at noon Pacific today (Monday), and I’ll post details shortly afterwards. Expect lots of questions about whether Google and Salesforce will be doing more to team up against Microsoft. I’m sure someone will ask Benioff if Google will buy Salesforce, and I’m equally sure his response will amount to, “No comment.”