February 28, 2007 11:00 AM PST
IBM teams up with Google over gadgets
The two tech giants on Wednesday are expected to announce a partnership that will allow business users to access Google gadgets from IBM's WebSphere Portal software.
In April, IBM plans to release a version of WebSphere Portal that will allow users to search on an Internet directory of Google gadgets and configure them to run on IBM's software. A salesperson, for example, could use a gadget to plot customer information from a sales application on Google's Web-based mapping service.
IBM built in the integration with Google gadgets because the company has seen growing business interest in consumer Web tools, said Larry Bowden, IBM's vice president or portals and Web interaction services.
Like other business software companies, IBM has developed Web-based collaboration software that incorporates common Web programs such as blogs and wikis. Google, meanwhile, already sells a search appliance to businesses and is expanding into hosted applications.
"Google has APIs (application programming interfaces) that they made available to us to do this project and invested some people, so it's a very seamless experience," Bowden said.
By having the gadgets run within a browser controlled by IBM's portal software, customers can take advantage of IBM's network access security as well other features important to corporations such as backed-up data, Bowden said. In addition, employees can store information, such as names and addresses, on the company's network while using Google gadgets, he added.
IBM hasn't integrated gadgets from other providers yet, but Bowden expects the company will in the future.