Originally published as Google+ Goes to Work, Launches New Features Designed for Business Use on Technorati Social Media
After a few months of private beta testing with select pilot companies, Google announced yesterday the launch of new Google+ business features and tools designed to capitalize on a trend the company is calling, “going Google”. What is “going Google” and what does this have to do with the new Google+ features? Well according to Google, the trend describes businesses who are increasingly relying on the cloud, and adopting the same applications thier employees use at home – things like Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Google Calendar.
“Like Google Apps, we think Google+ can help colleagues collaborate more easily and get things done — and get to know each other along the way,” said Clay Bavor, Google Apps Product Management Director in the announcement on Google’s Offical Enterprise Blog. Allowing people to hold face-to-face meetings, share updates, collaborate on presentations are just some of the things that can be done for colleagues who are either across the street or across the world using the new Google+ business tools.
So what exactly are these new tools and features?
According to Google, this is just the beginning, and the initial set of Google+ features for business will be available for Apps customers as a full preview through the end of 2013 for free. During this time, Google will continue to add more features and administrative controls, but for now the new features include:
Private Sharing: The bottom line here is control. Control over the content you share, and knowing that it can’t be reshared outside your organization. In what Google is calling ‘restricted posts’, users can share messages and ensure that they can’t be re-shared with anyone outside the organization.
Integrated Video Meetings: Possibly the most under-utilized tools currently on Google+ is the ‘Hangouts’ feature. The ability to host face-to-face meetings with colleagues or clients without expensive video conferencing technology is something that gets more attention and integration with other Google tools such as Gmail, Calendar and Docs in the recent updates. The Gmail integration isn’t new, neither is the ability to use Docs in Hangouts, but now users can add Hangouts to calendar events which allows them to join a meeting directly from the calendar view. Administrators can also choose to enable ‘restricted hangouts’, and like restricted posts, are intended for private meetings within the company. This makes setting up meetings with up to 10 people in a Hangout, for those who also use Google Calendar, seamless and particularly useful for those who have staff dispersed across time zones and geography.
Administrative Controls: Further controls for administrators were also added to ensure posts are shared only with their intended audience. Changes allow admins to choose a default setting for company-wide posts. Admins can also, as mentioned above, restrict access to hangouts to include only employees. All the changes should be up and operational as of today, as yesterday was spent rolling out these changes across Apps customers.