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Google and Salesforce announced a massive strategic partnership today that’s aimed at driving value across their mutual customers.

As part of the deal, Salesforce plans to use Google Cloud Platform infrastructure as a preferred partner to power the tech titan’s international expansion. Google, for its part, will use Salesforce as its preferred CRM provider for selling its cloud services.

In addition, Salesforce is working to integrate its data with Google’s G Suite productivity service, so joint customers will be able to more easily access Salesforce information within Gmail, Google Sheets and other products. Joint customers will also be able to connect Salesforce’s sales and marketing software with Google Analytics 360, the paid version of the popular analytics service.

It’s a move by both companies to better compete with other businesses, especially Microsoft, which also offers customers a set of sales, marketing and productivity applications that compete with offerings from Salesforce and Google. It’s another sign of the further breakdown of relations between Microsoft and Salesforce, which were far warmer a few years ago when the companies were reportedly considering an acquisition.


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Ryan Aytay, Salesforce’s executive vice president of business development and strategic accounts, said that the company’s integrations with Google’s productivity software are deeper than those with Microsoft’s Office 365. That depth of integration is one of the things that drove the partnership, which required significant co-engineering.

(To be clear, Salesforce’s Office integrations continue to work, and the company seems unlikely to eliminate them.)

The deal may also help drive Salesforce customers to G Suite — eligible businesses will be able to use Google’s productivity software for free for one year as part of the partnership.

It’s unclear exactly how using Google Cloud Platform fits into Salesforce’s overall infrastructure and global expansion plan. Salesforce is already using Amazon Web Services’ infrastructure to power a couple of its international cloud regions, and doesn’t have plans to move away from that investment. AWS will remain a “preferred” cloud provider for Salesforce, as it was when the two companies announced their partnership almost a year and a half ago.

For example, Heroku, the company’s cloud platform as a service offering, will continue to use AWS for the foreseeable future, according to Aytay.

What’s more, some customers may balk at having their data stored in either Google or Amazon’s cloud datacenters. It’s unclear if Salesforce has any plans to allow customers to dictate which cloud environment their information is stored in, however.

The two companies are no stranger to partnering with one another. In 2008, the two companies announced a partnership bringing Salesforce into Google Apps, though that didn’t materialize into as significant a deal as this one. However, the driving force behind each — an alliance that could help joint customers better harness the power of cloud computing across a variety of sectors — remains the same.

There’s still a lot of work to be done before customers will feel the effects of this deal. Many of the features announced today are still being worked on, and aren’t generally available to the public.

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