Google Drive made a small announcement this week that should make the folks at Dropbox and Box pause for a moment.
The announcement came from the Google Enterprise blog regarding filing sharing between Google Drive and Google+. From what the announcement says, it appears that it will be quite easy for users to share files from Google Drive into Google+. This is a big step towards making Google+ a really collaborative environment, and even more popular than it is now.
Of course, collaboration is only an attractive option when it is simple to do. This new addition with Google+ is precisely that. As of the announcement, users will be able to share everything they have in Google Drive with certain recipients. This includes photos, documents, and videos that can be played in Google+.
You might not think that this is a big change; there always was the ability to share between the two environments. However, it is not merely sharing this time around. Users are going to be able to access the content in Google+ itself.
Let’s pause and think what this could mean. Google, which has made other significant announcements lately on other products, is offering collaboration and sharing of all content in a social app to everybody who signed up for these Google applications. In many cases, this is going to make them think that they may not need to pay for Box or Dropbox anymore.
This new feature is simple to use. All users need to do is click on the Google+ icon when they are doing a share from Drive. Or, you can copy and paste a link to a file from Drive into a Google+ post. Contacts in Google+ can click on a thumbnail inside the Google+ interface and may open the file in another browser window.
Anyone who is using Google Apps for Business, Education or Government can restrict posts to make sure that the conversation only shows up where you desire it to.
It is not quite there yet, but Google+ is coming close to a fully functioning enterprise social networking (ESN) application. Google is likely to continue to add more functionality until it becomes a true ESN.