Improved administrative controls and privacy settings to push collaboration platform into the enterprise
The slow and steady integration of Google+ into every one of the search giant’s products continues with the announcement of new social and collaboration features for its Apps for Business productivity suite.
In a blog post Clay Bavor, product management director, Google Apps, outlined a set of Google+ features that are specifically designed for businesses.
The new capabilities will initially be available on a preview basis free of charge until the end of 2013. Although Google provided no further details about what happens after that date it is safe to assume that if these features are deemed successful, further rollout of new enterprise-focused features will begin.
The new service will launch will three main features.
The first of these is private sharing of posts. This means that a user can state that only employees at his or her organisation can see the post. Google claimed this means people outside the organisation will not be able to see any information they are not supposed to. If the post is subsequently shared externally a user will be warned of the potential security risks, Google said.
The second feature being shown off is the integration of Hangouts and Google Calendar, Docs and Gmail. Users can now launch and join Hangouts – Google+’s video meeting platform – from Gmail and Calendar, directly from the invite. Users can also open and share Google Docs when in a Hangout.
Finally Google says it has set up administrative controls that give admins much more control over what workers can and cannot do on Google+. Essentially this means extensive controls over what content is allowed to be posted, while Hangouts can also be restricted to certain people.
Bavor confirmed that Google will be introducing a mobile app for Google+ business customers soon as well as making improvements on the administrative capabilities.
"We’re witnessing how web-based collaboration and social tools have dramatically changed the way people connect," said Bavor. "Whether you’re across the street or across the world, you can hold face-to-face meetings, share updates with colleagues and friends and work on a presentation together in real time. 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."