Google+ Could Change the Social Web Forever


It’s no secret that Google+ is having a bit of a rocky journey, but as the platform continues to grow, the potential for Google+ to offer much more is being revealed. You see, people don’t just want to share with each other, they want to work with each other – Google+ can make that happen.

Google+ isn’t giving up with a fight, responding to early criticism and adding new features. Three of these updates reveal the potential which has, up to now, been underplayed.

Take a moment to remember email

In all the social media hype, email gets forgotten, but its history and how it’s been used gives us insights into what’s next for Google+ and social networking in general.

Email changed the way we communicated with each other. We began sharing things at a faster rate than ever before. As network technology grew, our emails became richer in content, and we began sharing images, videos, music and more.

But the real power of email was seen in corporate environments. Internal communications were faster and we began to collaborate with each other. Geographical barriers were broken, communication costs were reduced and we began to realise that email wasn’t just for sharing with each other, it was just as much about working with each other.

3 game changing features of Google+

Using social media concepts in an enterprise environment isn’t new. Applications such as Yammer, SocialText and SalesForce are all applying social principles to internal communication and collaboration. For these enterprise platforms, Facebook and Twitter don’t really pose a threat,  but if they haven’t taken notice of Google+ yet, they should – and here’s why.

1. Google Apps integration

Cloud computing is a hot topic right now – and Google Apps is often the flagship example. With the likes of GM committing to using Google Apps for its 100,000 employees, Google Apps is becoming a significant contender for enterprise and business computing.

Now that Google Apps users can create Google+ accounts, the combination of the two can become quite a force – especially when it comes to collaboration.

Google Docs, a key part to Google Apps (and also available for free for individuals) is an amazing collaboration experience. I was blown away at a NetSquared Adelaide event where we used a single document to bring ideas from a number of different groups together – at the same time and displayed in real-time.

Google+ has taken that and put given it a huge boost, adding video chat, text chat, screen sharing and a live sketchpad via Hangouts with Extras.

2. Google+ Hangouts with Extras

Google+ Hangouts offer free group video and text chats, and also has the ability for everyone to watch the same YouTube video together. Its early promotion marketed it as a casual way to chat with friends, but more recently, it has become a collaboration hub with new optional “extras.” Google+ now offers a free collaboration platform which includes:

  • Text chat
  • Video chat
  • Voice chat
  • Document sharing
  • Screen sharing
  • Notes, Sketchpad
  • Hangout naming

We now have the ability to work together like never before through Google+. Think webinars, document editing, brainstorming, workshops… the list goes on. The kicker now is to make sure that the people we want to work with are on Google+.  The latest update may just make sure this happens.

3. Google+ Pages for businesses

With the release of Google+ Pages , social-savvy organisations are going to be spending more time building their brand, understanding what it is, and ultimately spending more time using Google+ in turn increasing traffic and the importance of Google+.

With these three features, Google+ stands to change not how we share with each other (leave that to Facebook and Twitter) but how we work with each other.

How the Google+ and the social web will change how we work.

Web 2.0 has seen us sharing more content with more networks at faster than ever before. With information flowing so easily and inexpensively, we are naturally going to see a change in how we do our jobs. In the coming years, our work will become more collaborative, more specialised and more global – and Google+ stands the chance of being a key player in how that will happen. The desire to see social collaboration iss evident, with new platforms coming out to serve this purpose.

Facebook and Twitter have taught us how to share information. We’re more open online than ever before. The likes of Yammer and SocialText are showing us the positive effect of internal social collaboration withing an enterprise. Now, Google+ has the capacity to build on both of these lessons.

The strength that Google+ has is that it’s free, and it’s accessible. Internal communication platforms lock us into working with people in a set organisation, whereas Google+ has the potential to break these boundaries. Google+ also has the backing of its other popular products which will continue to be enhanced by Google+.

It’s time Google+ steps out of the Facebook/Twitter game and focuses on collaboration and enterprise productivity. This will be the real significant step as the social web grows. They have the tools, the capacity and the scale to see this happen. If they do, it could be an exciting step forward for all of us.

Google+ could change the social web from a being a way to share with each other to way of working with each other.