Google Unveils Enterprise Partner Program
Today Google launched Google
, a new partner program designed to help customers
maximize the search behemoth's enterprise offerings.
"As we've expanded the capabilities of the enterprise products, it has
become clear that many of our customers can use expert guidance to get maximum
value from their Google search deployment," the company said of the new
program. "Google Enterprise Professional partners can provide that assistance
by offering customers a variety of professional services including enterprise
integration, installation, customization and training."
According to Google, the company currently has 2,000 customers for its enterprise
To become a Google partner, companies are required to choose a specialty (customization,
integration or development), become certified via online training and testing,
and pay a $10,000 fee. As part of the application process, potential partners
are also required to submit at least one customer success story.
Benefits include Developers Edition Google Search Appliance, access to Google
developer consultation and logo use.
Already, 13 companies are featured in a referral
database for the program. One partner is Chicago-based Michael Cizmar and
Associates, which joined the program a month ago. Cizmar is also a Microsoft
Registered Partner and is currently working on projects that integrate SharePoint,
PlumTree and Google search technologies.
Michael Cizmar said that while he's been disappointed by other partner programs
in the past, including Microsoft's -- "We never really got what we wanted
out of it" -- he's been told that Google's program will be selective in
who is allowed to join, using criteria such as location and specialty to reduce
competition between partners. He also likes that he's already had more direct
contact with Google representatives than he has with any other partner program,
saying: "It’s structured to be a little bit more successful ...We're
A Google spokesperson would not directly say how selective the partner program
would be, but did comment: "Anyone can apply to be a part of Google Enterprise
Professional program. Google is looking for organizations that will add value
to Google enterprise customers. In some areas, there may be a greater need for
a partner based on the location of the customers."
Stephen Graham, group vice president of software business strategies at IDC,
commented that the $10,000 fee "suggests to me that Google is either working
with or targeting companies that they already have a relationship with,"
he explained. "It would be difficult to sell that to someone who's fresh
in the business."
Otherwise, he said the program appears to be fairly straightforward and a "nice
platform [for Google] to be able to go in many directions."
While he doesn't think Google's partner program will have any impact on Microsoft
ISVs or other partners, he does think Microsoft itself will take notice: "I
would suspect that this program ... might get Microsoft to think more about
how it's positioning its own products and capabilities to its partners."
"I wouldn't expect an immediate reaction ... this is something that would
happen over time."
Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital projects at the company, including launching and running the group's popular virtual summit and Coffee talk series . She an experienced tech journalist (20 years), and before her current position, was the editorial director of the group's sites. A few years ago she gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web browser technology would impact online advertising for publishers. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.