Up until now, it looked like Google was chucking services out there in the hope that it would stick; Google Apps for Your Domain was mostly about getting businesses into the Google hivemind space by appealing to users who wanted to have their home experience of GMail at work too. Almost by accident they managed to pick up a bunch of micro-businesses whose only presence on the web had been a website built for them years ago but who didn’t want to bother setting up and maintaining a mail server to respond to the three emails a week they were likely to get.
Apropos of this, Apple came along with the App Store on the iPhone, and showed the world there was a whole new way to distribute programs on a platform, instead of relying on people to go to individual developer sites. And now we’re some 3-billion-apps-sold later, with a whole host of pretenders to the throne in the form of the Android Marketplace, Ovi store (Nokia), and others for Blackberries, WinMos and Samsungs. There’s suddenly a profusion of app stores, even to the point where someone saw a market opportunity for a Mac OSX App Store (Bodega) – though not Apple, at least not yet =)
If you haven’t grasped the wow yet, think of this way: you could previous start up a small business, have the e-mail, calendaring, online doc sharing, and all those lovely Google services hosted for you; now you can also have CRM, or bug tracking, or project management, or invoicing, all available for your business, with a single login, in the “cloud” for access anywhere, hosted by Google. All those IT costs of running and managing servers for businesses whose primary business is not technology-based is now effectively optional. Wow.
As long as you trust Google.