Google has added new business-focused features to its Google+ social network including restricted posts, video Hangout integration with Google Calendar, and better administrative controls.
Google+ has mostly had a consumer-facing focus since its launch more than a year ago. But now it’s beginning to show that it’s committed to businesses using the service now as part of the Google Apps suite. Google seems to think if a business is already using Google Docs and Gmail, then that business might as well start using Google+ for video chat and social networking.
“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,” a Google spokesperson said. “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.”
The first major feature is restricted posts, which are private to your organization and can’t be shared outside of your business network. You also add sharing your post with people outside the organization as well.
Next is Google+ Hangouts integration with Google Calendar. Hangouts was already integrated with Gmail and Docs, so it was easier to launch Hangouts from those apps. Now Google Apps users will be able to add Hangouts to events in their calendars, making it possible for attendees to join a Hangout from the invite or Cal entry.
Finally, Google is adding better administrative controls to Google+. Admins will be able set defaults and restrictions on what employees can do with Google+ posts. They can also set up restrictions on Google+ Hangouts to make video meetings private.
Google also has more business-focused features planned for the future, including “a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users and more administrative controls.”
Photo illustration: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat
Original briefcase photo: Kitch Bain/Shutterstock