Amid all the talk about what Google + means for twitterbook, Bloggers have been relatively quiet about its implications for use in the enterprise. So here goes.
Google + is clearly not designed for the enterprise; that is, its primary audience is the half billion people on Facebook. Pretty ambitious. What the folks at Google have done, however, is clever from several angles.
With the relatively recent “upgrade” of all google app accounts to work more like personal google accounts (and therefore giving people access to things like RSS, blogs, groups, profiles and more), Google sets itself up nicely in the Enterprise 2.0 world as a major cloud contender. Opening up a marketplace and its API so that applications from companies like box.net, Zoho, SalesForce.com, and more could create a solution for every problem – all united under the all-encompassing google account – was smart too. Really smart. A few others, like Jive and Moxie have also picked up on the marketplace concept, while others have embraced the open source world of drupal and more.
Google profiles, and by extension Google+, is the final piece of the puzzle for the enterprise – at least as it’s currently defined. Wikis, email, groups, profiles, microblogging all under one roof. For $5/month per person or less (think one frappachino), Google provides perhaps the most cost efficient, feature rich tool out there. But it’s less than perfect, and not ideal for many organizations.
Too good to be true?
“Going Google” would be great if you didn’t need a very expensive Google Search Appliance to have the powerful internal search functions that folks like socialtext, moxie, and others offer out of the box. Furthermore, those other tools are built around the profile as the centerpiece. That means it’s easier for the users to quickly access their relevant networks and content from one place. People like that.
It’s not time to switch if you’ve already bought in elsewhere (many platforms integrate with google apps), but it’s worth adding to the line-up if you are in the market.
As a lightweight, agile, ever-improving suite of tools that is free for small-mid sized non-profits, it’s hard to say no to the search giant. It doesn’t hurt that Google has spent a lot of time and energy (not to mention money), making it easy for organizations to move from legacy outlook systems to the cloud – better for the whole staff. The added competition in the market can only be a good thing.
For now, Google isn’t one of the big players in the Enterprise 2.0 scene, but don’t expect that to last very long. I, for one, am happy to see Google+ on the scene, even if it’s not quite ready for the enterprise.