When Google+ was first established and released to the public it disallowed businesses using Google Apps (such as Docs and Gmail) from signing up to the social network. In November 2011 however, Google made the wise decision of introducing Google+ Pages which gave companies an initial step into the world of G+. While not providing businesses with a full service it gave brands, products and services the opportunity to gain additional social exposure and awareness while also being a nice alternative to Facebook. During this period Google+ also introduced additional options to it’s Hangout feature in an attempt to have more businesses use the social service; allowing multiple people to have a video conference while editing Google docs was one excellent idea of many for example. A year has almost passed since these updates however so what have Google+ been working on from a business perspective?
This week Google launched it’s initial set of new business tools for it’s social network as the Official Google Enterprise Blog stated:
“So today we’re launching an initial set of Google+ features designed specifically for businesses, and we’re excited to move into a full preview mode for Apps customers. During this preview period, organizations that have gone Google will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013 while we continue to add more features and administrative controls designed for organizations.”
Private Sharing for your Organisation
Sharing private information over a social network might not sound like the greatest idea but precautions have been put in place on Google+ in case you wish to do so. “Restricted Posts” give you more control over the content you share on Google+ allowing you to keep information within your organisation without the concern of posts being re-shared to exterior parties. I have to admit it took me a while to think of instances of where this could be useful but I suppose open announcements and questions can be displayed within company connections allowing discussions to take place without the risk of information leaking to connections who shouldn’t be aware of it.
In addition to the privacy controls admins can now set default settings for the entire organisation to ensure that all information is retained securely.
Further Hangout Integration
Google have gradually integrated their products with Google+ since the release of the social network. Over this period Hangouts have seen the introduction of being able to access Google Docs mid-meeting with up to 10 people on a variety of different devices at the same time, while this can all be initiated straight from Gmail rather than having to access Google+ first. This week users will have the ability to add Hangouts to their Google Calendar meaning they will be able to enter the meeting directly from their entry on that day and hour.
So it seems that Google+ might be more approachable from a business perspective if they keep progressing in this way. Will you guys be using any of these features or do you already?