Last Thursday, Google announced that Google+ will be available for Google Apps users. This means that the millions of people using Google Apps for their businesses will now have access to the Google+ social collaboration platform.
With Google+’s unique features for search, selective sharing and rich communication, it offers consumers a very different user experience than the established social networks. For individuals, Google+ has quickly become a great place to build your interest graph — that is, find the latest content and people related to topics you’re interested in.
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With its seamless integration with Google Apps, Google+ promises a very different type of social enterprise experience. In fact, Google+ has five unique advantages over other social business platforms.
1. Smart Integration With Existing Google Apps
Google+ is fully integrated with Google Apps. As a user, you don’t need a new login — it’s just another tab like mail, calendar, docs or video. Most business users spend their day in mail or calendar, so a tool that’s easily accessible from the daily workflow has advantages over third-party software.
Thinking a bit ahead of where the product is, the possibilities that are opened up by the integration with Google Apps are pretty exciting. You can imagine “+1” buttons and rich collaboration across sites, docs, spreadsheets, presentations, blogs, videos, photos and more. Or imagine working within a doc and starting a hangout with collaborators while sharing your screen. For companies using Google Apps, taking advantage of these features would require no additional software, logins or changes in behavior.
2. Google+ Already Knows a Lot About You
Because of its tight integration with Google Apps, Google+ could take advantage of what it already knows about each business user, including whom they email, how often and how recently, as well as the topics they write about and search for. Google+ is in a position to help an enterprise user not only quickly build out his internal circles, but also discover those outside the company who are talking about the same topics or industry. If Google chooses to pursue this, it would make a great tool to help each user build out broad interest-based professional networks.
3. Google+ Is Uniquely Positioned to Help You Find and Share Interesting Content
Nobody has a better index of what’s on the web than Google. So nobody is better positioned to help you find interesting content and people from both inside and outside your company. Google+ Sparks let you follow the latest from the web on topics you’re interested in, and one can imagine something similar within your domain. Internal Sparks could let you quickly find content and experts within your company on work-related topics you’re most interested in.
4. Google+ Integrates Public and Private Sharing
Unlike other social enterprise platforms, which keep most shared content behind company walls, Google+ integrates public and private sharing. When I’m using Google+, I can decide for each post whether I want to share it with my colleagues, my clients, or certain subsets of either category. Also, because a number of websites have already embedded +1 buttons, it’s easy to “like” content from across the web and share it with targeted groups.
5. Android Phones Sync Easily With the Entire Apps Suite
Finally, an Android mobile phone brings this complete integration to users on the go. Activating Android handsets with your company’s Google Apps account brings all this productive and social functionality to the palm of your employees’ hands. And the wide variety of devices and carriers means greater flexibility.