Google Plus Brings Social Networking To Work
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Google rolled out several new business-centric features for its Google Plus social network on Wednesday, seeking to broaden its appeal to corporate customers.
Among the new features are support for restricted sharing options, integration of video meetings with other Google products such as Google Apps online document and calendar service, and new administrative controls.
“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,” wrote Clay Bavor, Product Management Director for Google Apps, in a blog posting.
One of the more compelling new perks of Google Plus may be the integration of the video chat service Hangouts with email, calendar and documents, which could be an attractive feature for companies that want to hold virtual meetings, collaborate and embed follow up commitments in a calendar.
Business users of Google Plus will also be able to place restricted posts that go only to others inside their organization, Google said.
The company said the new Google Plus features would be available for free through 2013, and that it would announce even more new features in the coming months, including mobile services and additional administrative controls
Although corporate adoption of social networks like Google Plus has lagged behind that of consumers, the need for businesses to communicate and collaborate may make social networking a more lucrative market. Indeed, businesses are willing to pay for these services, while few consumers actually click on the revenue-generating ads displayed on social networks.
Google said it had been working with pilot customers to help better customize its service to meet the needs of the enterprise market.
“For the past few months, pilot customers like Kaplan and Banshee Wines have been using Google+ to help employees engage and connect with each other. We’ve worked hard to incorporate early feedback from pilot customers into our plans, and we’re thrilled to begin offering Google+ features tailored to organizations,” Bavor wrote.
A free trial version of Google Apps for Business can be downloaded here.