If you’re like many businesses, you’re already using several Google products, like GMail, Google Docs, or Google+. Google knows that more and more businesses are operating “in the cloud” and has stated that they want to make that process smoother for businesses. Today, in a blog post, Google has announced a number of new features for businesses and Google+.
Clay Bavor, Product Management Director for Google Apps, writes, “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. During this preview period, organizations that have gone Google will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013 while we continue to add more features and administrative controls designed for organizations.”
These features include:
Private Post Sharing
When posting to Google+, businesses will be able to specify whether or not to keep that post private and only allow other company members to see it.
Hangout Integration with GMail, Google Calendar and Docs
Using Hangouts, businesses can conduct video meetings online and can do so from these other areas within the Google-universe, not just Google+. This is particularly useful for scheduled or invitation meetings where members can join the hangout directly from the calendar event or email invitation.
Account adminsitrators can set company-wide defaults for posts in terms of privacy, forcing users to deliberately choose to make a post public if they want to.
While these represent some interesting developments, with more features promised on the horizon, the point about how these are “free until the end of 2013” means that after that point, there will be a cost. How much and how deeply integrated some of these features will be into our daily business remains to be seen. Would you recommend that your business begin using some of these features, knowing that at some point in the future you’re going to have to pay an unknown amount for something you’ve been using for free for over a year?