Look out Microsoft. Google pushed further into the enterprise business today by announcing some new features of its social network, Google +, that are designed for companies and other organizations. These include new controls for sharing posts within a group, and video “hangouts” that are integrated with Google’s other productivity apps, including Gmail, Calendar and Docs.
Plenty of tech companies are pushing social media tools for businesses these days, including established enterprise IT giants like IBM, Salesforce.com, even VMware, Oracle and Cisco. Then there are the upstarts like Yammer. But analysts at the Altimeter Group say Google’s new move is a “bigger deal than just another Google feature announcement.”
For one thing, they note, Google already offers services to more than 5 million enterprises. “Adding Google+ with tight integration just sweetens the pot,” concluded Altimeter’s Charlene Li and Chris Silva in a blog post today.
Still, they warned that things could get complicated for employees who already have a personal Google account. “A more pressing problem is that someone could have TWO activity streams on Google+, which would be confusing at best, downright creepy at worst.”
Google, meanwhile, is promising more business features are coming, including a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users.