Google+ Unveils New Enterprise Features

Google Apps customers can expect a few new features designed to help their business use Google+. Leading the list are private sharing, integrated video meetings and administrative controls, with more features to come, Google says.

Wed, August 29, 2012

CIO — Nearly a year after rolling out Google+ to business customers, Google is launching a new set of Google+ features just for businesses.

"We're witnessing how Web-based collaboration and social tools have dramatically changed the way people connect," Clay Bavor, project management director for Google Apps, writes in the Official Google Enterprise Blog. "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.

Google Apps enterprise customers can access the Google+ business features for free through the end of 2013. Google says that it has "a lot more planned for the coming months," including a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users and more administrative controls.

Beginning today, business customers can share privately, access integrated video meetings and set specific administrative controls. Here's a deeper look into these three new features and tips for using them.

1. Private Sharing in Google+

Much like how you restrict your posts to certain circles or people in your personal Google+ account, you can do the same in Google Apps. Restricted posts are private to your organization and can't be reshared with anyone outside it, protecting information that may be confidential. Similarly, you can share a post with specific partners or colleagues outside the organization if you choose.

To set the sharing restrictions for your post, click the drop-down arrow in status update box. Here, you can choose to either restrict the post to your organization (denoted by a building icon) or allow external sharing. If your business restricts sharing by default, you'll see a warning.

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2. Integrated Google Hangout Video Meetings

Last month, Google announced that people can join a multi-way video chat powered by Hangouts directly from Gmail and start a Hangout from a Google doc.

Starting today, you can also add a Hangout to a Calendar event, which lets attendees join the meeting directly from the invite or Calendar entry.

Adding a video call to a Calendar invite is easy: Click "Create" to open a new invite form, enter in your details such as the description of the meeting, location and guests, then click "Add a Google+ hangout" next to "Video Call." Meeting recipients will be sent the invite with a link to the hangout.

3. Google+ Administrative Controls

To ensure that users share only with those they intend, Google+ admins can now set companywide defaults for post restrictions and restrict access to Hangouts.

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