The wait is over and Google+ is finally available for Google App users. The announcement marks a strategic milestone as well as an acid test for Google’s latest social media experiment as the enterprise segment may have a deciding say in deciding the eventual fortunes of Google+.
From a broader perspective, it will be interesting to see if Google+ lives up to the hype and expectations of being the ‘Facebook for the Enterprise’. Google says it plans to add several other, more consumer-focused features, include What’s Hot, which lets users keep tabs on the most popular posts of the moment. A visualization tool, called Ripples is also in the works, and will allow Google+ users to see how conversations unfold.
Though its early days yet, here’s my take on how Google App users can leverage Google+ for business.
Google+ for Google Apps Users
The first obvious question to ask – how is Google+ for Google Apps users different from Google+ for everyone else? At its core, Google+ for Google Apps is no different with a few exceptions – there’s a predefined circle that can be used to share with people in your organization. Therefore, users have the option to share with everyone in their organization, even if they haven’t added all of those people to a circle. In essence, there’s no need to rebuild your circles, and people who’ve already added you to their circles will automatically be connected to your new profile.
Google plans to release a migration tool to carry over Circles and to connect and redirect users for users that have already started using Google+ with a personal account.
How to turn it on?
Google has setup a dedicated page which guides Google App users on how they can rollout Google+ to their users. It’s a simple 5-step process and likely to take less than 10 minutes. However, make sure you carefully review all requirements and considerations before you enable Google+ for your business.
Google Apps is all about collaboration and improving productivity for a business. With Google+ integration, businesses can now leverage services such as Google Docs to collaborate on the same document in a Hangouts video conference. So, on one hand, employees can be talking face to face using Hangout, they can leverage Google Docs to make changes and offers comments on documents as the changes are being made.
What’s Hot and Ripples
Google has announced 2 new features for Google+ – What’s Hot and Ripples. As the name itself suggests, What’s Hot keeps users informed of the most popular topics. Going by the description, I would expect What’s Hot to be Google’s version of Twitter Trends.
In my opinion, Ripples is the more interesting offering of the new Google+ features. It’s a visualization tool which shows how information spreads across your network. I’d expect it to be heavily used by marketers as it shows several key statistics such as the rate of interest in a post, and who the key influencers have been since its creation. IMO, it provides an ideal test bed to try out new ideas and harvest data.
The best is yet to come
I’ve used Google Apps heavily in the past and I know that the current integration is only the tip of the iceberg. It would be huge if and when Google brings Google+ functionality to all of its services including Gmail, GTalk, Google Voice and others.
Google+ already has 40 million users, many of whom also have Google Apps accounts. Though several critics have written off Google+, I strongly believe that its future to a large extent depends on how well it does in the business segment. What do you think? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.