Google is starting to suggest apps from third-party developers in its business-oriented Google Apps Marketplace.

Google is starting off the new initiative, under the label Recommended for Google Apps for Work, with eight apps in five categories, according to a blog post on the news today:

  • ProsperWorks (customer relationship management)
  • Smartsheet (project management)
  • RingCentral and Switch (cloud-based communications telephony)
  • AODocs and Powertools (document management)
  • Ping Identity and Okta (identity and access management)

Google is “working with partners very closely to promote them,” Rahul Sood, managing director of Google Apps for Work, told VentureBeat in an email. Besides the new prominent placement in the Apps Marketplace, Google will push these apps inside the Admin Console, with its resellers, and with its own direct sales force, Sood said.

More deeply connecting best-in-class apps, even if they don’t come from Google itself, could help the Google Apps ecosystem grow further and more successfully compete with the likes of Microsoft, which fields Office.

Not that Google Apps business adoption is tiny. Google Apps for Work now has more than 2 million customers, Sood told VentureBeat.

In addition to the new recommended apps, Google is also adding to the Apps Marketplace with a new dashboard that third-party developers can use to see metrics on customers and end-user app installs, Sood said.