Google started giving Google Apps users access to Google+ in October, and the company added to its initiative today by publicly launching Google+ for enterprise uses with a set of new business-focused social features.
According to a post by Google Apps Product Management Director Clay Bavor on the Google Enterprise Blog, the features include restricted sharing options, Hangouts integrated into Gmail, Calendar, Docs and other Google services, and administrative controls:
So 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. 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.
For the past few months, pilot customers like Kaplan and Banshee Wines have been using Google+ to help employees engage and connect with each other. We’ve worked hard to incorporate early feedback from pilot customers into our plans, and we’re thrilled to begin offering Google+ features tailored to organizations.
Google is apparently now ready to move the features into a “full preview mode,” which means they are open to any Google Apps organization, until the complimentary period ends in 2013. With that said, it appears Google will eventually set a price tag on the Google+ tools.
Googler Matt Cutts took to his Google+ profile to elaborate on today’s news:
Google just released two new features that might look small, but are actually pretty huge. First, with Google Apps you can now restrict posts so that it only goes to people within a company. This lets you set up a corporate social network like Yammer, Chatter, etc. We use this feature all the time and we have a vibrant Google+ community inside of Google too.
The second feature lets you add a video hangout as a direct link in Google Calendar. Google has offices all over the world, so we use this feature a tonas well. If you have a distributed company, you’ll want to try this new feature. Google as-a-company has some great tech, and these are a couple features we use every day that now any Google Apps company can use.
More rollouts will hit in “the coming months,” Bavor added, including a feature-packed mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users.
Check out the Google+ For Your Business page for more details.