Sharing A Single Log In
It appears there are a number of people out there that like to use both Google Apps and Zoho's online productivity services. So many that Zoho is going to great lengths to have the two services integrate at all levels.
The first step Zoho took was to integrate the two services at the security level. In May of 2008, they integrated Google and Yahoo account ids, so users could sign into Zoho using an existing Google account and not have to have a special log in for Zoho.
Then in August of this year, they extended that single sign on capability to Google Apps. Now, users can sign into Zoho using their Google Apps credentials (which utilizes the OpenID standard).
So where does one go from here? It seems one takes application integration to new levels.
Sharing Across Productivity Apps
Thanks to Zoho, you can work in a Zoho application like Zoho CRM, Mail, Docs or Projects and upload a file you have created in Google Apps (document, spreadsheet or presentation).
Zoho/Google Docs Integration
In an earlier integration, Zoho enabled users of Zoho CRM to view Google Gmail. Now they go even further, allowing users to upload or attach documents created in Google Apps into Zoho applications.
Here's a look at all the new integrations:
Integration through the attachment or uploading of Google Docs is only the latest step for Zoho. We've also seen integration through Zoho Projects that allows us to view project project milestones in Google Calendar and Project Streams (activity) in Google Gmail, iGoogle or Google Sites.
There is overlap in application services, so competition between Zoho and Google still exists. But Zoho says they are doing what their customers are asking for. If it makes your customer happy, it's okay isn't it?
One assumes that at some point, customers will see the advantage of working with only one online productivity solution and not working across two. For Zoho's sake, they are probably assuming it will be their services that are the winner.