What do you get when leaders of software and Web kingdoms battle to serve small businesses? Unexpected bedfellows can be the result, as with today's Google-Intuit alliance. The search king is partnering with the maker of QuickBooks, the most popular small-business finance software, to allow small companies to manage their funds and product publicity in one place. You'll see the logos for Google and QuickBooks cozy up to serve online marketing for modest-sized businesses of up to a few hundred employees--a base of customers that has been slow to embrace a Web presence.
The announcement pits the Google-Intuit duo against Microsoft, which revealed last week that its Office Accounting 2007 app will integrate with eBay, so you'll be able to manage auctions without opening a Web browser.
Users of QuickBooks 2007 will be able to sign up for Google AdWords with a $50 starter credit and a basic Web page to show off a company logo, à la Google Apps for Your Domain (without the free domain as offered by Microsoft Office Live) . QuickBooks will also guide companies to add listings, locations, and coupons to Google Maps. Another potential source of sales leads will be the ability for merchants to list their wares on Google Base via the beta QuickBooks Product Listing Service. At this point, there's no explicit integration with the Google Checkout payment method. Nor do the Google features apply to the Quicken 2007 personal finance software.
Embedded Google search within QuickBooks will look up customer and vendor information while obeying user permissions settings to hide private data. However, we haven't much love for the intrusive and system-hogging.
If you're a PC-using eBay addict, Microsoft's new software would be the obvious choice. But Mac users who seek online sales leads for their wares will be more likely to consider a jump-start through QuickBooks' Google integration than they would be likely to sign up independently for digital marketing.
Neither Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 nor Intuit QuickBooks 2007 have even hit store shelves yet; Microsoft's software is due before the end of this year, while Intuit's will likely roll out earlier, this fall.