Browser-based office suite maker Zoho has released some new integration tools for Google Apps, allowing you to use Google Apps within Zoho Projects, the company’s project management webapp.
Zoho Projects for Google Apps integrates Google services like its various document editors, Google Calendar and Google Gadgets with Zoho’s project management software. The result is a painless round-trip way to use Zoho Projects without abandoning Google Apps. We’re fans of both Zoho and Google’s office products, and we’re even bigger fans of broad interoperability between web applications, so it’s pleasing to see Zoho improving its toolset in this way.
To get started, just sign into Zoho Projects, link your Zoho account to your Google Apps credentials and from then on you’ll be able to sign into both services using the same username and password. Once the accounts are linked, you can send documents directly from Google Docs to Zoho Projects.
The integration works the other way as well, feeding project milestones, tasks and meetings back to your Google Calendar. You can also embed the new Zoho Projects gadgets within Gmail, iGoogle or any OpenSocial-compatible site for quick and easy access to your Zoho projects.
While Zoho offers services that compete directly with Google Apps, it also recognizes that not every wants to use those services. As Zoho CEO Raju Vegesna says in an e-mail to Webmonkey, “sure we compete with Google… but we compete in only a subset of apps we offer.” Vegesna goes on to add that the new apps don’t compete directly with Google, rather, they complement what Google Apps already offers.
Indeed, Zoho Writer, Spreadsheets and other apps align closely with Google Apps equivalents, but when it comes to project management tools, Google has yet to offer anything on the level of Zoho projects.
In fact, what Zoho Projects does compete with are the likes of Basecamp, or even Microsoft Project. The new integration with Google Apps gives Zoho Projects a distinct advantage for those already using Google services.
Of course, like Basecamp and Microsoft Project (and unlike Google Apps), Zoho Projects is not completely free. There is free option for Zoho Projects, but it’s limited to just one project. For something more robust you’ll need to sign up for one of Zoho’s monthly options which range from $12-$80 per month depending on the number of projects and amount of storage space you need.
For more information in how the Google Docs-Zoho Projects integration works, check out Zoho’s intro video, embedded below.