In an effort to boost adoption of its Google+ social network, Google this week announced a slew of new features aimed at enticing business customers to use the service and "go Google."
Citing the success other Web-based Google Apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Drive have found amongst employers and their workers, Google Apps Product Management Director Clay Bavor detailed a slew of new Google+ features for businesses in an official Google Enterprise blog post.
"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," wrote Bavor.
These new features include Gmail-integrated videoconferencing involving Google Docs and Google Calendar (turning Google "hangouts" into business meetings) as well as enabling private, intra-office Google+ posts. (Think Google’s version of Yammer, aka the Facebook for the workplace.) The clever thing here is that these "restricted posts" can't be reshared outside the organization. There are also new administrative controls to ensure that only the right people have access to.
Google has already been testing these new features with a couple of businesses, including Kaplan Test Prep and Banshee Wines. The new features are available for free until 2014, but the company has not announced what the eventual pricing will be. Businesses already have to be signed up for the Google Apps business suite in order to use the new features.
Google says it plans to roll out more business features for Google+, "including a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users and more administrative controls." The idea, apparently, is to encourage companies to "Go Google" and run their businesses in the cloud. Google+ hasn't been able to significantly challenge Facebook in the consumer social networking space, but the enterprise market is much more wide open.