After several months of waiting, Google Apps users now have access to Google+. It might be worth the wait, too, as Google has set aside a few new features specifically for them. Here's what you need to know.
Social Media Matters
By Kristin Burnham, CIO
After several months of anticipation, Google finally made its new social network, Google+, available to Google Apps users today.
When Google+ launched back in June, Google Apps users were specifically omitted from the beta, to many users’ disappointment. In today’s announcement, Google acknowledged the lag in time, saying, “It took more technical work than we expected to bring Google+ to Google Apps, and we thank you for your patience.”
Google says that Apps users will have access to the same set of features that are available to every Google+ user—Circles, Hangouts, Photos and Games—plus a few more.
Features available only to Google Apps users include the option to share with everyone in their organization or school, even if they haven’t added all those people to a circle. Google Apps users will also have access to a feature called “Hangouts with extras.”
“Hangouts with extras” lets users connect with multiple people via video chats and Web conferences, in which they are able to share a screen for everyone in the meeting to see. “Hangouts with extras” also has collaboration features that let you share notes and work on documents at the same time.
If you’re already using Google+ with a personal Google account and would prefer to use your Google Apps account, Google says there will be a migration tool to help you make the switch. If you use it, you won’t have to rebuild your circles, and the people who have already added you to theirs will automatically be connected to your new profile. Google says this feature should be ready in a few weeks.
Google has a guide set up for administrators rolling out Google+ to Apps users, which you can read here. Some of the information includes a list of considerations for enabling Google+, system requirements and firewall settings for Hangouts, and how to enable the service for either a select group of users or the whole organization.