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In the latest move to make itself one of the players in the cloud, Rackspace (news, site) has just launched the equivalent of an app dating site where its new service AppMatcher will match businesses with whatever applications they need from a list of more than 1000 SaaS apps.

It’s a small move, but one that will probably be popular with enterprises that feel there is a better app than the one they currently use for specific enterprise tasks, but just don’t know where to look to find it.

Matching Apps and Businesses

AppMatcher, which features all the apps currently available on Rackspace, is an app matchmaking engine into which enterprises feed what the company does, the size of the company, the department the app is to be used in and the title of the person inputting the information.

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AppMatcher app search
 

And in much the same way you might input the vital statistics of an ideal date into a match making site, AppsMatcher comes back with a list of ideal candidate apps.

AppMatcher as Collaboration?

So how does it work? According to Rackspace the technology behind it is a mixture of predictive analytics, matching algorithms and an intelligent understanding of what it is customers are looking for.

Using stated preferences and client profiles, AppMatcher then puts companies and apps together in what it deems to be the most suitable pairing. Users looking for an app find them by answering four questions about the company, after which AppMatcher provides apps to meet the user’s needs, as well as similar apps that carry out similar functions that the users might not have known about.

It also provides a Locker where all of a user's SaaS applications can be reviewed and open to co-workers resulting in a collaborative environment. As different user’s profiles changes, apps that correspond to their current profile will appear in that user’s Locker.

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AppMatcher 'My Locker'
 

On the app provider’s side, developers will also have access to information regarding interest in apps and what apps are used. This information will be available on a dashboard and will give them precise information on what apps are being picked and an indication of what might be picked up.

Rackspace and the Cloud

While this is only a small step for Rackspace, apart from the money it will make from making the apps available, it should also act as a considerable marketing tool for the Rackspace cloud that it has been relentlessly pushing for a long time.

During the summer, it launched a new open source cloud platform called OpenStack, which it expects to do well. It’s a bit early to know how this is going as it only launched in July.

But that was not the only initiative announced this summer. In May they also announced that they intend to bring public cloud services to the UK by the end of this year.

At the time, Rackspace said that in 2009 alone its public cloud business grew by 125%. With Gartner predicting that by 2012, 20% of SMBs will no longer own IT assets, Rackspace says it is going to make the jump before others do.

The result is that Rackspace will be offering public cloud services by the end of the year from data centers across the UK that will also be servicing the European mainland.

And now AppMatcher. Could the thinking here be that if they provide an effective app matching service and meet enterprise business needs, that businesses might start looking at Rackspace as their principal cloud provider?

Of course the whole match making thing is a bit hit-and-miss anyway. How many personal matches have been made by dating agencies that ended up as just another telephone number in your cell phone you don’t answer when it rings?

Could it be that AppMatcher ends up providing a whole pile of apps that you don’t really want or use? Only time will tell.